Johan Lindeberg’s BLK Fantasies

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Published May 17, 2011

Johan Lindeberg is in Paris this week, and he let slip a few more details about the plans for BLK DNM, his online luxe basics brand inspired by downtown New York which launched in February. The BLK DNM film series, by Danish director Martin de Thurah, whom Lindeberg discovered through music videos for Fever Ray and James Blake, launched with a grainy black-and-white short inspired by Lindeberg’s own breakup, featuring a pent-up couple at a diner and a waitress who reads the woman’s very personal letter to her man. The next installment, out in August, continues with Lindeberg’s obsessions with women.

On June 7, BLK DNM will open its first pop-up shop in a space set to become permanent by September on Lafayette Street in Soho. “It’s far enough away from Soho’s shopping mall scene to seem like home,” says Lindeberg, who plans to move his design office there, too. To celebrate and generate creative energy around BLK DNM, he’s also produced Gazette, a bi-annual newsprint broadsheet in black and white, with his friend, stylist and Rebel magazine founder Aleksandra Woroniecka. The first issue, available at the store and other select spots, is a feast featuring images and words from Jerry Schatzberg, Waris Ahluwalia, Nate Lowman, and Peter Lindbergh, among others. And in a classy move beyond the merch, the only thing that’s not in Gazette is BLK DNM!  

We asked Johan Lindberg a few questions about being on his own, making films, New York and his dark denim obsession.

REBECCA VOIGHT: Why did you decide to do BLK DNM?

JOHAN LINDEBERG: I’d done so many things, but when my wife and I separated 15 months ago after 14 years of marriage, I left everything. I decided I wanted to create something from scratch in New York, where I’m from now, and where I want to live for the rest of my life.  

VOIGHT: How do the films fit in?

LINDEBERG: When you create a brand you want certain things to be associated with it. I thought a film was a much more interesting, creative process than doing a fashion show. I spent six hours in Martin’s kitchen talking about relationships, and that’s how my breakup became the inspiration. In a way, this brand is me.VOIGHT: That sounds Swedish.  LINDEBERG: Well, maybe it’s my Ingmar Bergman side. I work best when I can be very personal. We shot both films in New York at the same time in a guerilla way.  VOIGHT: Why is New York important to you?  LINDEBERG: I wanted to create the brand around downtown New York, because I’m very inspired by the energy. Now I live on 9th Street between 5th and 6th, but before that I was in Soho. I’ve lived in Milan, Stockholm, London, and LA, but this is the fourth time I’ve come back to NY to live. I really love it. I always tell my 10-year-old daughter: “Here you can be yourself, you don’t need to play a role, you can find your strengths and express yourself.”   VOIGHT: You have said you see BLK DNM as “the world’s first digitally born brand.” what do you mean?   LINDEBERG: We’re selling online, so we don’t have to depend on stores, even though we will sell to a few—like Colette in Paris, maybe Barneys New York and Liberty in London. I want to communicate directly with consumers.  We will have a pop-up shop in Sweden and London next fall, too. That’s so people can see BLK DNM up close.  Then I hope they will order online. I think it’s modern and independent.