Swedish brand, Björn Borg, is going through something of a renaissance. SI caught up with Brand President, Arthur Engel, in London to discuss the strategy put in place to strengthen the brand’s presence on the international arena.

Further international expansion and long-term growth are key agendas at Björn Borg at the moment. Please describe the details of the plan ahead.
Our vision is to challenge the sports fashion segment, and at the same time instigate a Swedish style liberation across the world. A key point is to grow the brand in international territories where we can be much stronger. The UK market is important, and we’ve just set up an office in London. France and Italy are two other countries that we’ll focus on, and we consider Germany to be a key territory, too. The brand is already present in these countries but our aim is to strengthen the name further by creating brand awareness.

What measures will you take to create brand awareness?
We’ll approach the challenge in different ways. The launch of interesting, limited edition projects form a definite part of the strategy, and the new collaboration between Björn Borg and John McEnroe is one example of a project that has been received well and that we feel convey the brand values properly while at the same time benefiting charity. Aside from building the brand with the help of fun and worthwhile initiatives, the product offer itself is very important and we’ll continue to work hard to offer our customers collections that they’ll come back for, season after season.

What defines the Björn Borg product?
We’ve always focused carefully on offering specific products and put much emphasis on design, fit and quality. It’s interesting to play around with a category such as underwear since it’s considered a traditional product type, and Björn Borg has always been known for pushing the boundaries in this area, using colour in innovative ways, and playing around with design elements such as waistbands. New for f/w 2011 is a sports range that is more performance-based than the existing ranges. The aim with the product span is to become challenging in the world of sportswear, but we’d never deviate far from out roots and our heritage as a sports fashion brand.

You’ve just opened a new store in Dusseldorf and are set to roll out further shops in other cities around the world. Please tell us more about the planned retail strategy.
The retail development is key for us, as it conveys the brand values of Björn Borg and offers the customers the entire product range under one roof. Currently, we’re operating about 50 stores in the world, and in the near future we’ll launch many more. A London stores is on the cards, and we’re presently looking for a suitable retail space in the city. In addition, we’re looking to open a store in Belgium as well as in a string of other destinations. While it’s important to carefully develop the retail model, we also value the wholesale side of the business and Björn Borg is available in key stores such as Selfridges in London. In total, the brand is sold through 4,000 doors across the world, and the e-commerce side of the business is also picking up.
Björn Borg underwear collection
Björn Borg underwear collection