Björn Borg has made sportswear since before it became a thing. As have Mija Nideborn, Björn Borg’s design and product creator. She’s been at the brand for one and a half years and she fell in love with sportswear before she even realized she’d be able to work in fashion as an adult.
– When I was studying I wished that I would be able to work with fashion, I sort of fell into sportswear. But this was when sportswear still meant sports, since then sports- and streetwear has been on a tremendous journey. To me this is the most exciting time that you could possibly be working with sportswear. That’s also why I’m here, because I know the sports, but I also have a solid interest in fashion.
Why do you think that street- and sportswear became so huge?
”I think it’s about the life style to work out a lot and be healthy in general. I think it’s difficult not to get affected by how huge that change in lifestyle actually became. Ten years ago I would have never worn tights out on the streets of the inner city. Ten years ago you wouldn’t have done that unless you were completely dedicated.”
We’re do you see that Björn Borg fits in to this streetwear revolution?
”The idea is that Björn Borg should work with and for everything. You should be able to pick up a workout tank top and wear is with your jeans it you’d like to. We want to have an amazing fit that makes you comfortable and confident, and we also want to reflect today’s fashion. Fashion today is also much more including than it used to be and it’s very important to us to include everyone. We want people to feel like themselves in our clothes.”
It’s interesting that Björn Borg as a brand focuses so much on inclusion when tennis on a sport has always been quite excluding and elitist.
”That’s true. But to us there’s still so much to get from tennis. The fighting spirit, daring to be different and daring to try on new things. There’s so much there that rhymes with who we want to be today and that’s what we want to take with us, not that it used to be an upperclass sport.”
Björn Borg is obviously not only a brand, but also a tennis player and a national treasure and icon here in Sweden. Do you as a designer ever feel a pressure that you have to uphold the Borg-reputation?
”I think that we’re rather than taking the heritage of tennis are trying to focus in the way he approached things. He approached the tennis court in his own way, he held the racket in his own way and he approached clothes in his own way. And that’s what we’re also doing, we’re doing this our own way. We’re not shy.”
You said that sportswear has been on a tremendous journey since you began working in the industry. How would you say that that the revolution of sportswear is affecting how Björn Borg is making clothes?
”I’d say that that we’re different in the sense that we make sportswear without being to focused on the high-tech function. Yes we want to make smart clothing, but we’re not interested in making sportswear that’s only about function. We don’t want to spend all our time developing fabrics that breathes more or less when you run, we want to incorporate our heritage in a smarter sense. And we do that by keeping a thread running through everything we do. That’s why you can see the crisp whites from tennis in our seems and the logos from our underwear reflect on the tops. We want to make smart sportswear that translates into everyday wear.
I think that’s why I find this time so exciting. The fact that you could actually wear a pair of tights out and about in town would never have happened a couple of years ago. That means that the sky is the limit.”
You’re going to show two separate collections this season, Versus and the Signature Björn Borg collection. Why are you showing two separate ones?
”It’s mainly because we’re doing a collaboration with the upcoming movie BORG, where we’ve created a vintage inspired collection. But it’s also because Björn Borg as a label stands on two legs. Firstly it’s underwear were we’re already quite established, secondly it’s to become a well known sportswear brand. So first and foremost we’re going to be showing a visionary sportswear collection, and also this collection that has been made for the movie.
Since Björn Borg has always been a brand that focus on being contemporary, what was it like to create a collection that goes back to your heritage?
”It was a very different way to work. Signature became a collection since we were approached to make the collection after the movie. That collection could have literary become anything, in a dream one could have made a reinterpretation of it all. But this needed to be authentic. They wanted it to look like it used to, so initially we worked very close to the stylist to find references. But we couldn’t apply our own brand since it didn’t exist back then. So we’ve been very inspired by the fit and materials instead. And once again, being true to who Björn Borg was back then and who we are now.”