An Interview with Pär Lundqvist of NEUW

Pär Lundqvist, creative director of NEUW denim, takes the time to talk to Coggles about the label’s signatures, inspirations and influences.

Question: Where does the brand name NEUW come from?

When the ideas behind Neuw started to take form, I lived on a street called Nieuwlandstraat in Brussels, Belgium. That was the birthplace of the brand and therefore the natural choice of name. Since its a bit of a mouthful to say though, we cut it down and ended up with NEUW.

Question: NEUW selvedge denim has its own signature hallmarks that inject a sense of personality and history into every pair of jeans, such as The Ring, Repair Stitch and Dart. Can you tell us a little more about these and where they originate from?

The Ring: this comes from a pair of jeans from the 50s I used to wear all the time. When I wore them the most, I was given a fob watch from my grandfather. It had a chain and a ring which I attached to the right front belt loop. Eventually I lost the watch and the chain, but the ring was still there, and that made those jeans very personal to me. So, when we started Neuw I took the ring off, sent it to the metal workshop, engraved it with a Neuw logo. A replica of that ring can be found on the right belt loop of every pair of Neuw Jeans.

The Repair Stitch: Even if we take inspiration from denim history and vintage garments, our ambition is to create modern products, so when we started thinking about our details, we did not want them to reflect the jeans of old farmers and gold diggers, but rather our own – and our friends’ – lives. So we looked at hundreds of jeans we’ve been wearing and how our lives have affected the jeans. One thing that stood out was busted right back pockets that comes from wearing big wallets (usually full of vintage store and pub receipts rather than cash). So, a lot of them have been repaired. We started playing around with this and ended up with the off white stitch on the right side of the right back pocket. To us, this gave the jeans a sense of personal and modern history that is simple enough to not take over the whole look of the jean but also significant enough that you can see a pair of Neuw jeans walking down the street.

The Bottom Hem Dart: In terms of weaving dyeing and making, we take most inspiration from the 20s to the 50s. But with fits we look more at late 60s to mid 70s. This was a period when denim transitioned from being purely utilitarian to becoming something with a lot more attitude and sex appeal. Pictures of people like Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop and Richard Hell from this era was a great inspiration to the original look and feel of Neuw. However, a lot of jeans from this period are flares. So, in order to cut them in to a smarter, skinnier silhouette we added the dart down the bottom hem. Once again, this was one of the things we did to our jeans, so it was a detail we felt like we could add to our jeans with honesty and integrity.

Question: What was the inspiration behind the SS14 Collection?

The range is inspired by S.H.A.R.P skins and their dress code of rugged work wear denim mixed with tailored pieces.

Question: You describe running a denim brand like being in a band. Do you think you love for music influences the products you create?

In the creation of our modern jeans, we take a lot of inspiration from vintage garments and spend a lot of time researching traditional make, dye and weave techniques. It’s in that sense we say that running a denim brand is like being in a band. The best bands are influenced by roots music but then they experiment with the original melodies and rhythms. What comes out is a modern sound that makes us want to dance right now. But, if you listen closely you can hear the tradition and craft of the old days hiding under layers of attitude, aesthetic and modernity.

Question: Any musicians in particular you are a fan of?

My favourite band of all time is Velvet Underground. But I’m a fan of any music that is executed and delivered with heart, soul and a sense of urgency.

Question: How do you envisage the NEUW man and woman?

A style savvy man and woman who appreciates quality, independent brands and music. NEUW is a modern brand inspired by vintage denim.

Question: What can we expect from NEUW in the years to come?

Quality jeans and good times.

Angharad Jones

Angharad Jones

Writer and expert

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