MILAN — Andreas Melbostad is going solo.
The Norwegian designer is launching a limited-edition collection comprising unisex and seasonless pieces exclusively available online at Melbostad.com.
Melbostad has years of experience under his belt. Most recently he was creative director of the now-discontinued Diesel Black Gold brand, but he started his career working with Alber Elbaz for Guy Laroche and Yves Saint Laurent. In 2001 he relocated from Paris to New York and started working with Calvin Klein on the women’s collection at the designer’s signature brand, joining Donna Karan two years later.
He also opened a namesake fashion design consultancy, worked on Susan Dell’s start-up runway collection Phi and with designer Roberto Cavalli.
His new line is sourced and produced in Italy and Melbostad is committed to sustainable standards. His products will be released throughout the year and shipped direct-to-consumer from the manufacturer, reducing waste and costs.
The design aesthetic is built around a Scandinavian narrative and the first offer includes a leather field jacket, a utilitarian jeans jacket, overshirts, shirt tunics, skirts, hoodies and T-shirts.
The silhouette is relaxed and oversized, with extra-long sleeves and turn-up cuffs. Military clothing and workwear pieces inform an overall utilitarian edge.
The color palette revolves around black, white, off-white, slate, light gray, pewter, taupe and fawn.
Metal hardware details add industrial accents and there are knitted and webbing details that bring texture to the fabrics, which range from denim and fleece to jerseys made in organic cotton and GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified. Cotton utility shirting is produced according to ZDHC (Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals) wastewater guidelines. Leather is certified under LWG (Leather Working Group) standards.
The collection features black-and-white Scandinavian landscape photos by Swedish award-winning fine art photographer Håkan Strand.
Here, Melbostad explains his motivations and goals, as he now feels like adding his “voice and point of view” to the fashion scene, expressing his Scandinavian heritage.
WWD: You have been silent for a few years and the industry has gone through so many changes; why do you think this is the right moment to launch your line?
Andreas Melbostad: I started the work on Melbostad already in 2019. Then when the pandemic hit it slowed down my momentum. It gave me time to think and study carefully how to best shape a new venture. It became an opportunity to carefully consider all aspects of the business and to find solutions that I believe give me a new foundation to build on. This is why I decided to launch now as a limited-edition collection and only offer it exclusively on my e-commerce platform Melbostad.com. It allows me better control and the opportunity to bring the best value I can offer direct to the consumer. It also allows me to think differently in terms of seasonality.
I don’t want the product to have artificial expiration dates. I want to liberate the product from sales cycles that do not necessarily fit the potential life cycle of the product. I am hoping to build a wardrobe over time, and I want to introduce the product in drops throughout the calendar year. I am hoping to evolve pieces over time and to build a range of recurring items.
With this approach I can start with a very focused and thoughtful offer, and I can restrain from overdeveloping. It is tempting to create a full range from the start and to capture it as a comprehensive look book, but in keeping with my strategy I choose to focus the development on a few initial items, and put them forward as a limited-edition capsule. I have not pursued statement/image pieces, but rather focused on pieces that I believe have a real consumer potential.
This takes me to sustainability and my desire to focus strongly on how to create the most responsible product range possible within the realities of the brand. One part of this mission is to source everything from suppliers with strong eco-friendly commitments, another part is to cut out unnecessary steps and waste throughout the process, as well as looking carefully at the meaning of each piece to make sure I develop styles that I can justify bringing to life.
After years of working on big product lines I wanted to do something much more [focused] and responsible. For the first collection I further worked with existing stock materials rather than producing all the materials new, the idea being to utilize existing materials off the shelves whenever possible. When doing this it brings challenges regarding quantities, minimums and prices, but with willing partners I have been able to execute on this vision.
And finally, I felt a strong desire to express my Scandinavian heritage. I have worked my whole life for different international brands, but with Melbostad I want to tap into a Nordic narrative. I would like to add my voice and point of view to what I see as a Scandinavian moment. I think it is a region that represents good design and good ethics, and this has a strong international appeal today.
WWD: What do you believe will be an additional asset to the line, helping to differentiate it from competitors?
A.M.: I think the brand narrative is unique. It comes down to a well-designed and well-crafted product that is developed responsibly and with integrity. I believe the consumer today is looking for unique products that connect to their values. There is a need for authenticity and transparency. I want to appeal to a quality-over-quantity mindset, and I want to offer products that are thoughtful and desirable.
In the future I do want to interact with retail partners, and I am also looking at new ways to do this. I like the idea of curating exclusive capsules in collaboration with specialized retailers. This would be an extension of the core offer, and would create opportunities for dialog beyond my e-commerce initiative. Cobranding and other forms of collaborations are also under discussion, and again it opens up for a community outreach that feels modern and dynamic.
WWD: What is the average price range?
A.M.: The collection starts with T-shirts at around $175 and it runs up to our leather jackets at $1,995. Our jeans jacket is $695 and our sweatshirts come in at $395 to $975 for the more complex hybrid/combo styles. We are generally entering the market at an average of 30 percent below our [competition] and this is made possible by the direct-to-consumer e-commerce strategy.
WWD: Do you have a financial backer or investor to support you in this project?
A.M.: The project is self-funded. I wanted to have full autonomy at the initial stages. This will allow me to set up the brand without external compromises. For me this is a personal passion project. I am putting all my heart into it, and I am collaborating with people that are equally passionate and invested in the project and its mission.
WWD: Where in Italy are your producers?
A.M.: The products are made in Vicenza. I am working with a manufacturer able to support me on the sourcing, development and production. They will also do the shipments directly to the consumers, so this is a great help in rationalizing and streamlining the process. They are an essential partner in this venture, and I feel very fortunate to tap into the Italian tradition for innovation and expert craftsmanship. It is a true asset to the brand.
WWD: What are your main objectives? What would you like to achieve?
A.M.: I would like to become a trusted source for a great product that people can treasure and wear over time. I am hoping to inspire and engage people, and I am hoping that the pieces become signature staples of self-expression. I am hoping to build a community, and ultimately I am hoping to build a brand that offers value and integrity to its audience. I am also hoping to be part of a movement to find new rational and more sustainable ways to operate in fashion.