In with the Neuw
The quest for the perfect pair of jeans is often a daunting one. Co-founder of Neuw Jeans, Par Lundqvist, spoke to us about why his denims are not your average Levi’s.
You could say you’re sort of high priest of denim. How did you become so obsessed?
It really started from music, when I was growing up listening to iconic bands and realising what they wore. When looking into the history of the bands and knowing what they were singing about, the denim and leather that they wore reflected a kind of rebellion and backlash against society which was really interesting at the time.
How big is your personal denim collection and do you have a favourite piece?
Over time I’ve collected about 3000 pairs of jeans. I have a few favourite pieces, but I especially love this pair from the London chain store J.C Penny from the ‘40s.
Did you work for denim brands before beginning the label?
Yeah, I’ve worked for some big denim brands over the past ten years like Levi’s, Lee and Wrangler and that’s where I met people who taught me about the history of denim and how to use and sew it. When I learnt how to cut the denim in India, I immediately wanted to start my own label and just work with vintage denim, reworking it to create jeans people love to wear.
What makes Neuw different to those brands that you worked for?
The bottom line is that those big companies I worked for cared about cold hard cash. That’s what they were working for and didn’t really care about anything else. I wanted to make it all about the products. Making some sad old man sitting the States a few extra dollars was not how I wanted to work.
When I was in India I learnt how to cut denim, so when I began the brand I wanted to combine the perfect cut and fit of custom made jeans made from vintage denim. This combination produces unique jeans which are comfortable and look like no other.
How does the team work?
We’re really easygoing and free in our approach to working. Being your own boss is great because you can take the brand in whichever direction you want. Obviously, this is our career and we have to make a little bit of money out of it, so that’s probably our only restriction.
How are Australians different to Scandinavians in both lifestyle and dress?
The two cultures are very different and the main reason for that is climate. Because it’s hot here, Australian’s dress very sexy and don’t wear too much clothing!
Is it hard to design for that look, coming from a very climate which forces people to cover up?
I don’t know how to do it! But I do have two girls who have grown up in Australia and know how Aussies want to dress. They give me a lot of help in that area.
The collection is going gangbusters here in Australia, what are your plans for the future?
We don’t have a five year plan or anything, we’re just going to keep designing and making the brand as big as possible. We’re doing well in Australia, New Zealand and Sweden but I’d love to start opening up our own stores and eventually have one in each of my favourite cities; Melbourne, New York and London.