Above: Silas outside the new Soulland Store, Copenhagen
Conceived back in 2002 by a then 17 year old aspiring skater printing homemade tees for likeminded friends, Soulland has fast risen to become one of the most exciting menswear labels on the radar. Recent developments have seen co-founder and creative director Silas Adler take home the prestigious Danish Designer of the Year award as well as a game-changing collaboration with Babar the Elephant winning the brand legions of new fans the world over. In anticipation of the imminent collaborative collection between The Goodhood Store and Soulland, we visit Silas in Copenhagen to talk skateboarding, menswear, postage stamps and London style.
We first met about 5 years ago when you and Kristian (ex-Sales Manager) did a road trip selling your collection out the back of a van. Can you tell us what it was like during that period and the difficulties in establishing your brand?
It was difficult but also very exciting. We just packed the car with the collection and traveled around. It was great! We got so many "no thank you's" on those trips. Like going from Manchester to Munich in one go to get a "no thanks" was quite harsh but it made sense to get the overview and and network that way.
I think I realised you were a pretty good Skateboarder when I saw Kristian post a picture of you to skating on that trip, I think you were olly-ing a crate. Can you tell us how that experience has influenced you now, if at all?
I was not that good but I spent a third of my life not doing or thinking about anything else. I think the way skateboarding works has made the difference for me in terms of believing myself. I was one of those kids that had a hard time in school and a hard time fitting in. But skateboarding showed me that it´s me against me in life and I can do more or less what ever I put my mind to. I was never a fast learner on a skateboard so I also learned to respect the fact that things take time. Skateboarding has changed a lot since I was in the scene but I still follow it online and spend at least 20 minutes a day on skate sites.
Soulland as a brand has design cues that are very high end in their feeling, what do you find inspiring? Is there any person in particular you look to as a design hero as such?
I change my inspiration view quite often. I think it´s important to always look for new ways. I wanna push this menswear thing into new heights and test how things can be done better. Not really a hero, but I'm continually inspired by the mystics freemasons symbol. It's just so visually strong and always interesting to me.
When we visit Copenhagen we're always taken by the support not only from the local community the clothiers seem to get but from the industry and the Fashion Council. Can you tell us what that means to a brand like Soulland?
Oh a lot of course! Without the support we would be in a different place. We are very happy to be supported by the Danish industry but are also very aware that the main thing for Soulland is growing outside of Denmark. The Danish market is very small for a brand like ours.
Above: Silas outside Central Hotel Cafe Copenhagen
London has a legacy of subcultures and radical fashion which on the one hand is amazing historically but I think it can also become a crutch that encourages young designers to be crazy, avant-garde or about the statement rather than the clothes.. can you tell us how you perceive London and it's fashion?
I just think of football casuals, South Bank kids, Grime and Garage, Rave, Savile Row... London is a subculture hub and I think that´s very strong. But I guess the statement can sometime blur the vision.
You designed a stamp for the Danish Postal Office, how did that come about and what was that experience like?
They just called me one day out of the blue and said that they'd never done anything with a Fashion Designer before so did I wanna make a stamp. Did you know I put a 420 code in there? You need a loop to see it.
Above: Soulland designed Danish Postage Stamp
The legacy of design from Denmark is incredible but on a street level it's also a very hip place. Can you tell us how being Danish informs your work?
I'm not actually Danish I just live here. I have no Danish blood in my veins. So I try to mix Danish culture and understanding with the other cultures I have been exposed to from my upbringing.
Video: Silas skateboarding in 2002
Above: Shots from The Souland Store including vintage Bang & Olufsen Stack Soundsystem
Above: Soulland HQ
Above: Goodhood x Soulland collaboration preview
The Goodhood Store x Soulland Collaboration Collection launches November 7th at 6pm
in-store and online. Head down to 41 Coronet Street, London, N1 6HD to be the first to get your hands on it. Click here for more details.