Today, fast-fashion and luxury labels alike are revisiting denim’s genderless roots with unisex collections. But years before the concept hit the mainstream, Swedish brand Adnym embraced genderless fashion as the foundation of its existence.
Led by VF Corporation alum Frippe Persson and former Levi’s and Acne Studios’ product manager Stefan Söderberg, the brand launched in 2016 with the specific mission to offer progressive fits and fabrics and allow individuals to “decide themselves if the product is for them” rather than rely on a size or gender label.
Having launched his own denim label, Hope Denim, in 2001, Söderberg aimed to differentiate Adnym with boundary-pushing elements that placed it years ahead of its time. Jeans are offered in waist sizes 25-34 in “cropped” or “long” lengths and are shown on both male and female models.
Denim silhouettes span loose, wide, straight, narrow and “carrot,” or tapered, fits. Washes are just as creative, with light, medium, dark and black denim variations with creative naming conventions like “trash blue” and “laundry blue.”
Adnym Ateliers, Adnym’s ready-to-wear sister brand, also challenges fashion’s traditional approach to sizing by offering sizes 0-6 and urging customers to determine whether they’d like to wear pieces “under-size, on-size or over-size.”
“Our demographic exists on a mental plane, leaving sex and age behind,” Söderberg said. “We want to attract consumers who prefer to wear a brand that strengthens who they are, rather than becoming what they wear.”
“Since denim is one of the most democratic materials and garments throughout our history, it felt natural to give the denim a lot of space when launching,” he added.
Six years later, the direct-to-consumer brand continues to give denim that same space for experimentation. Its most recent collection combines the world of denim and office attire, resulting in an ideal work from home uniform for the consumer looking for fashion-forward comfort.
Söderberg noted that the new collection, which is its strongest yet in terms of sales, challenges the standard perception of a five-pocket jean. Retail prices span $79-$221 (70 to 195 euros).
“Why does a five-pocket jean need to be in a classic 3 x 1 [construction]?” he said, suggesting it could take on twill or wool fabrications. “Suit fabrics in a classic five-pocket denim could be the way to really penetrate the office world.”
The crossover between the two categories is one trend forecasters have been watching since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. In September, retail analytics firm Edited published a report urging retailers to stock their stores with men’s workwear items that appeal to a range of employees, including hybrid workers, active commuters and those seeking traditional looks. Relaxed and oversized trousers and looser-fitting denim were some of the top trends in bottoms.
Adnym’s minimal branding lends itself well to office attire. The brand’s logo-less black back patch on jeans leaves much to the imagination. A play on “anonymous dystopia,” the Adnym name was intentionally mysterious. Despite achieving a profile in Vogue in 2020 and being named “Denim Brand of the Year” in 2017 by Cafés Stora Modepris, an annual ranking of Sweden’s top fashion labels, the brand has amassed a humble 3,740 followers on Instagram, with a bio that reads “The most famous unknown.”
The brand prioritizes sustainability over branding, keeping a tight knit supply chain. It works with four denim mills in Italy, Japan, Turkey and Spain, and recently began incorporating recycled materials “wherever we can” in everything from rivets to fabrics, Söderberg said. Production is local to Europe, with all denim sewn in Albania and finished and washed in Italy. As a result, freight distances are shorter, and products are delivered by land.
“Since we are a relatively new brand, we were able to choose to work with suppliers who already had a strong sustainable focus and make that a part of our DNA,” Söderberg said.
Adnym co-founder Frippe Persson added that the brand only produces based on what is sold to retailers via preorder, helping it more accurately produce based on what’s in high demand.
“Preorder is an essential part of our business, as we need the commitment and confirmed orders to be able to produce from a financial standpoint,” Persson said. “It also provides a clear indication of what styles will be successful and what will be less so when we build stock for our online business.”