RBN Björn Borg by Robyn Is Here!
We catch up with Robyn about RBN, her new collaboration with the powerhouse that is Björn Borg. Drawing on the Scandinavian brand’s illustrious archive as well cherished pieces from her own wardrobe, the Swedish singer takes us through how the sportswear line came about and the clothes of hers that make cameo appearances.
Who had the idea for this collaboration?
My friend, Naomi Itkes, works with Björn Borg as a stylist and always told me about their incredible archive. It was Jonas from the Björn Borg team that came up with the idea of her and I working together on something with them though. We all met up a while back and he heard the way us two friends chatted about design and put forward the idea of us doing a collection. Naomi and I had spoken about how it would be fun to make sportswear but had never really pursued the idea and with Jonas’ suggestion, it all just connected together!
The Swedish culture of your childhood inspired the aesthetic of the collection, did you reference something in particular?
It was all very inclusive and gentle. In the artwork for RBN, fashion designer Anders Hall included the Swedish word Föreningslivet, which is synonymous with our youth and was the name of a group of clubs and unions subsidised by the state to encourage community spirit. RBN is very much a case study into my own personal wardrobe as much as it is Bjorn Borg’s back catalogue from the 70’s and 80’s too, when I was growing up. The track suit jacket from the collection is actually inspired by another collaboration of Björn’s from the past.
What are some pieces from your wardrobe that you drew on for RBN?
Rucksack: The idea for a vest with an incorporated backpack was lifted from a particular bag that I used to always wear when I was out clubbing and have kept for years.
VCT trousers: In my 20’s, I saved a pair of my favourite track pants before they fell apart, knowing that at some point I would want to remake them and these are an update of those beloved joggers.
Bomber jacket: This piece is based on one of my most prized wardrobe staples. This incarnation has an illustration of a record on the back by Anders Haal.
Swirl knit: When we first start designing, I wore this same sweater covered in motifs that ended up inspiring the artwork seen over some of the pieces and branding. Its natural material also led us to look into more handcrafted fabrics.
Tulip pant: The costume designer Denise Östholm custom-made some tapered trousers for me ages ago and I’ve always loved the shape. These are an ode to those same ones.
How has your personal style changed over time?
Not that much I think! I'm a little calmer nowadays and maybe that shows in how I dress. I think I want things to feel nice against my skin whereas when I was younger I wasn’t as bothered with how clothes felt on my body. Now I can't stand boxing my limbs into something uncomfortable, I want to feel good.
Björn Borg’s, personal history, as well as his style, influenced the collection. How do you relate to his story?
I watched loads of old interviews of Björn whilst designing RBN. There is one that I always remember of him in a tennis hall when he was a teenager. We both started working when we were very young and had to perform at a high level and I can relate to the pressures he felt but also the positive experiences that come with it. In a way we were the first Swedish people to do what we did on an international scene at that age. I think we both grew up in a different kind of Sweden than what it's like now and we both had to learn a lot on our own. I don't think I had a lot of role models that I could relate to when I started releasing records and I sensed that Björn was facing some of those same feelings when I watched that early interview with him.
You were a self-proclaimed tomboy whilst growing up, did this affect your decision to make RBN unisex?
I was always a tomboy as was Naomi. That element of the collection aligned more with that than necessarily being any kind of political statement. It was just never interesting to us to define ourselves as girls or boys. I think we were maybe the first generation to take that as a natural part of growing up - that you could question those things and you could really dress the way you wanted to. It felt natural for us to do something that everyone could wear.
Photographer: Casper Sejersen
Stylist: Naomi Itkes
Hair: Kalle Eklund
Make up: Trine Skjøth
Production manager: Veronica Wallin
Interview: Ross Aston