Want to know a little more about one of the coolest streetwear brands around at the moment? Read on for the complete history of Soulland.
Read more Brands features.
Having only formed in 2002, Soulland is a relative newcomer to the fashion game. While, historically, it took years for a brand to establish a foothold, let alone a loyal customer base - Soulland has accomplished this in little over a decade. Becoming a symbol of the fashion industry's newfound progressive nature, Soulland has been able to get off the ground without the backing of a massive conglomerate. Want to know how it all began?
Read on for the complete history of Soulland.
The History of Soulland
2002 - 2006
Soulland's founder, Silas Adler was born in 1985 - right at the turn of a generational gap. Growing up in Denmark, he spent his years skateboarding with the typically independent, rebellious and creative crowd that skate culture is known for. It was this upbringing that ignited the creative spark in Adler which eventually led to the founding of Soulland.
Wanting to create a brand that represented his own personal taste, as well as the culture and generation whom which he was so invested in, Adler set out to create Soulland in 2002. When contemplating a name, Silas took a patriotic approach, turning to his homeland for inspiration. Coming from Denmark, which is part of an island known as sjælland (or sea-land), Silas looked to this when naming the brand.
Danish 'sjæl' translates to 'soul', and land obviously translates directly. While the Danes translate this to 'SeaLand', the actual, literal translation would change to 'soul land'. This is where Adler took the name from. Apparently, not many of his friends, even the Danish ones, have been able to easily make this connection.
When it came to finding the brands aesthetic, Silas wanted to incorporate elements of the rich culture which had shaped his childhood. The effortless fusion of high fashion, classic menswear, skatewear and, indeed, streetwear became the natural direction. Mixing elements of the clean, contemporary design that Scandinavians are world renowned for, alongside quintessentially classic British design elements - the Soulland look became quickly identifiable. This is, no doubt, part of the reason the brand has seen such success in the British Isles, being adopted by everyone from fashion fanatics to streetwear savvy skate kids.
I think if you look at the men of Denmark and Britain they share a lot of similarities. One thing in particular is the way we involve ourselves in subculture during our youth. You find a passion, maybe music or sports. As you grow up, you put that to the side, but it’s always there. Very often it returns in later life and your passions are reignited. I think that’s something that plays a big part, and it’s a great place to develop shared ideas of what menswear is.
- Silas Adler, Soulland Creative Director / Founder speaking to Break Magazine
Over time, Soulland's reach gradually began to expand. While initially they only started with printed t-shirts (much like American counterparts The Hundreds) they began to be stocked in several leading stores across Europe and the US. As their reach expanded, so too did their collection.
The clean, contemporary, traditionally Scandinavian aesthetic was easily adaptable into most men's wardrobes, while the elements of classical menswear running through the pieces added an air of familiarity to the not-so-adventurous wearers. Epitomising this fusion, the Adler Fedora merges a classic fedora hat with the more current baseball cap's brim - the fact that they're all handmade in Copenhagen only adds to the allure.
2006 - 2008
By 2006, the brand was growing at a steady rate, with fans across the globe adopting their unique, progressive take on streetwear. It was around this time that CEO Jacob Kampp Berliner stepped into the fray. Jacob and Silas we're already friends having met at a nightclub a few years back, sharing a few drinks together, meeting some girls and.... you get the idea.
The collaboration happened quite naturally as such, and it was obvious to the two from the outset that they worked well together. Silas, as head designer, was very assured of what he wanted which was no concern to Jacob - seeing as he would be taking care of the business end of the brand.
If Silas wants to do something, he’ll do it. There will be many times when we will consult with each other and discuss the ‘right way’, but if Silas has his vision and wants to get it done, we’re going to do it.
- Jacob Kampp Berliner, Soulland CEO speaking to Break Magazine
By 2008, the duo began to really focus on the direction of the brand and set out a plan for their next step. While they'd consulted with various business strategy advisors, they also understood the importance of instinct and trusting in their own initiative.
2008 - Present
From the progressive, directional approach taken by the two in 2008, Soulland experienced rapid expansion over the years following. They now produce two main seasonal collections, as well as two pre-collections annually - showcasing on the world stage at LCM. By 2013, they had opened their first flagship in their hometown of Copenhagen, followed by a second in Bangkok in 2014.
Alongside their two flagships, Soulland is available in several locations worldwide with their collections stocked in stores in; London, Paris, New York, Berlin and, of course, Copenhagen to name a few. Of course, as with any legitimate brand, their website also serves as a major point of purchase with global shipping available. Soulland also create a plethora of editorial content online to compliment their collections from interviews to points of cultural interest for fans of the brand - bagging them a bronze Creative Circle Award in 2014.
In a mere 15 years, Soulland has grown from strength to strength and is now among the most popular brands for young, style-conscious guys looking for something a little different to the Topman troop. Hitting the sweet spot between high-street and high-end, the brand is both aspirational and accessible and have accumulated an almost cultish-ly loyal band of followers, gaining coverage in various publications from GQ to The Guardian.
As further recognition of their hard work, Silas Adler was awarded Designer of the Year at DANSK Fashion Awards 2012, only perpetuating his success. Here at The Idle Man, we can't wait to see what Soulland's got in store for the next five years!
Get the Look: Soulland
Soulland is an incredibly versatile brand when it comes to styling. With foundations in streetwear culture, the idea of mixing and matching is fundamental to the brand's image. The look below is a simple, monochromatic and easy to replicate ensemble that epitomises Soulland's aesthetic. The best part is, all these pieces are great together but just as flexible when it comes to marrying them with anything else in your wardrobe!
Your Quick Guide to The History of Soulland
- Soulland's founder, Silas Adler was born in 1985 - right at the turn of a generational gap.
- Soulland was officially founded in 2002.
- Mixing elements of the clean, contemporary design that Scandinavians are world renowned for, alongside quintessentially classic British design elements - Soulland has quickly become an instantly identifiable brand.
- By 2006, Soulland was growing at a steady rate, with fans across the globe adopting their unique, progressive take on streetwear.
- CEO Jacob Kampp Berliner joined the company in 2006.
- Recognition to their hard work, Silas Adler was awarded Designer of the Year at DANSK Fashion Awards 2012.
That's your lot! The story of Soulland has become something of an inspiration to aspiring designers, with the age-old walls of the typically inaccessible fashion industry breaking down. It signifies the liberalisation of fashion, showing creatives that wouldn't have been typically able to gain a foothold in the industry that you don't need to come from a financially upper-class family to start your own label. Has this story inspired you to pick up a piece from the brand? head on over to their brand page by following the link below.