We’ve all been taught that we need different clothes for the things we want to do in life — one jacket for running, another for skiing, and yet another for commuting to work. Jesper Danielsson is head of offering at Houdini Sportswear, overseeing the company’s innovation, design, and product development as well as services, like rental and repairs. Too many of the clothes we own, he says, are destined for one task, but not the other.
— Leaving the streets for the trail, you change your chinos for shells. We’ve been taught that garments are fit for either work or life, made for the city or for nature, fashion, or function. What if we thought of clothes very differently? What if garments could be made to blur the lines between life, work and everything in between? What if we could only make the clothes we actually need?
That’s what Houdini aims to do when launching Less; garments that are made for most of life’s activities.
— By offering them exclusively made-to-order, we can ensure premium quality and minimal waste. The silhouettes of the first Less Jacket and Pants reflect the passions of our odd band of adventurers, designers, artists, economists, and friends, drawing direct inspiration from their movements, adventures, and daily activities. We’ve combined their needs for functional performance when they’re in the mountains with the societal norms and needs of life in a city. The strongest feature of the Less design is its minimalism, which is also what allows it to work for all these different scenarios — we believe freedom grows with reduction.
Tell us about the fabrics.
— The pieces are materialized in C9 Ripstop, our most versatile fabric that feels great next to skin in a wide range of temperatures and climates. It blocks both sun and wind, while also wicking moisture extremely well and offering great breathability. Treated with a water-repellency treatment that’s 100% free of toxic PFAS, it also shelters you from light summer rain. This material allows you to push hard, but also to pack very lightly as it packs to the size of an apple, and the pieces are cut for full freedom of movement.
Danielsson has known Rickard Lindqvist, founder of Gothenburg progressive micro factory [a]industri, for almost 15 years. During this period, the two have challenged each other in several projects with this being the latest example since [a]industri is the on-demand producer of Less.
— Our technical craftsmanship and heritage create an interesting dynamic with their expertise in tailoring, digital design, and creating small runs. We naturally push each other outside of our comfort zones and the special thing about this project lies in the concept of ’glocal’, since we wanted to create a template that can be scaled globally, and locally, creating a framework of smaller suppliers around the world that can act on local, on-demand production.
Tell us more. How will you do that?
— We are constantly reimagining challenges that we see in the textiles industry and the conceptual side of this project is to be able to produce exactly what is needed, for who needs it, with minimal impact. Creating less. Developing our supply chain is an ongoing project that we’re doing together with current and new partners, and I hope to be able to tell you more about it soon. It’s important to us to do this gradually so that we meet the geographics of our user base and are able to build something holistic that will prosper over time.
What was the most challenging part of this process? And what did you learn?
— I think the most challenging part is yet to come: changing people’s behaviour. People have to get used to waiting for their product rather than getting it straight into their hands. We see the moment of purchase as the beginning of a relation rather than the end of a transaction. Hopefully, this will create a solid foundation between the garment and its user, and, by extension, the brand. Part of our work here is moving the perception of clothing from simple consumables to life-long companions, and we believe this is a great first emotional step.
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