The bag and accessories brand Jost is going through a revamping process in design as well as in brand positioning since the beginning of 2016. A first step was taken with the appointment of Marco Lachner as creative director to work side by side with chief executive officer Dietmar Jost. Lachner, formerly at Birkenstock’s design team shall be credited for some of the hottest sandal collections that the footwear brand has launched lately such as the Shiny Snake, which has sold one million pairs worldwide according to him. But the slower decision-making processes that come attached to a big company like Birkenstock and a need to implement ideas faster encouraged him to join the ranks at Jost.
The spring/summer’17 collection introduced at the latest edition of the I.L.M trade show in Offenbach (Germany) isn’t an abrupt change to what the brand is known for: leather and suede bags and backpacks for the urbanites. The blockbuster bag model X-Change is offered in a new polyester blend, while functionality nurture subranges such as Billund, where all items feature a reflective band for increased visibility when cycling. Eventually, trendy pastels enrich the Motala line for the ladies.
Lachner hasn’t only put his creativity at the service of the brand, but also his personal network of contacts from the music and art worlds. With his friend Alice Sara Ott, a successful German-Japanese pianist, the talks for a collaboration with Jost bore fruit: a range of five styles that will be available in stores from February 2017. All pieces are addressing constant travelers and feature details like an origami chain in leather created by her, as well as the bags lining’ print.
A second capsule collection will hit selected retailers in November 2016, this time in partnership with Lithuanian artist Kristina Suvorova, who created a bold mint green print with whimsical animal characters presented either in the items’ lining or as a neoprene outer. Twenty-somethings are the age group that the Jost x Kristina Suvorova is aiming to, a younger audience than the average Jost consumer.
Once I share with Lachner our worries about the countless partnerships taking place in fashion and the progressive loss of their distinctive character, he answers: “I also think that collaborations are overdone and there are too many in the main. In our case though, there’s a link with the persons with whom we work with and their art flows into the product. At the same time, we generate an added value for retailers.” This added value takes shape in shop-in-shop concepts, window painting and live performances for selected retailers stocking the Alice Sara Ott or the Kristina Suvorova capsules. Rather than the traditional bag and accessories specialized shops that are at the core of Jost’s business, the label is offering all these engaging stories with musicians and artists accompanied with in-store activities to fashion-orientated concept stores.
New independent bag brand in 2017
In tune with Jost’s desires to unlock new fashion retail outlets, the brand is embarking on a new venture together with Lachner: a new bag brand for the urban- and streetwear scene, with extra functionality rather than genuine leather. The label is Lachner’s personal project and he will have complete creative control, while the participation of Jost enables him to profit from the already-existing structure in terms of sourcing in Hong Kong, customer service and logistics. The first range set to launch for spring/summer’17 will contain five to six styles and the brand team will get in touch directly with those stores where they want to place the product. Lachner is reluctant to name any concrete stores, though he eventually mentions Goodhood in London as a reference.