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Handshake – Arthur Van Rongen

Photographer Jaap Strijker – Interview Chelsea McPartlon

Arthur, what’s the earliest memory you have of fashion?

My earliest memory would be going through the closet of my parents at home. My father owned this old frumpy coat that I took out of the closet and started wearing. When growing up, I never participated in trends or subcultures, such as skaters, the preps, or the alternatives, so I loved wearing these unique pieces and with that, creating my style that people always had something to say about.

Is there a certain time period in your life thus far that’s impacted you the most? If not a time period, a person, place, or thing that has?

I’d say this was the day I saw the brand Lois for the first time in Barcelona at the fashion fair Bread & Butter. Of course, I knew the brand from its heydays, but when I saw the iconic logo again, I immediately envisioned what I’d do with the brand when I was in charge. Everything I came up with then, worked later on when I started working for Lois. I started to believe in my creative feelings and power. Another pinnacle moment would be our fashion show at the Opera House in Oslo last year. Everything came together as I imagined it a long time ago. The models walked solely on the Bolero, accompanied by a live orchestra. The big applause at the end was the confirmation for me that we are on the right track.

Last year, in 2022, you celebrated the 60th anniversary of Lois Jeans. Tell me, how did that feel?

It’s still a great honour and I’m very grateful for it. It does still feel like we’re at the start, it’s only the beginning for Lois. Even though we have such a rich heritage as being one of the biggest jeans brands of the past, there’s still so much to achieve. We are currently still a fraction of what Lois used to be in the past, but with our young team, it never feels like actual work.

And do you feel any sort of pressure when creating each collection as the years go on?

I’m definitely feeling the pressure, but I believe you need it. The pressure is never an insecurity, but I see it as fuel to make each collection better and to polish the brand where needed. Also, fashion and culture are a moving thing, so there’s always room for change and upgrading every collection.


Is there a collection you’re particularly fond of?

I’m most proud of our new AW24 collection that’s currently available in our showrooms. For the first time, the collection is more about looks, than just the jeans. It’s much more inspirational and high-end and I’m very enthusiastic to show this collection to the world.

In recent years, Lois Jeans has increased its social awareness of sustainability and worked toward decreasing its carbon footprint within the fashion industry. Tell me how that ongoing process has been, and how you’ve found your customer audience is reacting.

When it comes to sustainability, I see it as an obligation to do everything we can do in our power. For me, sustainability in the fashion industry is a no-brainer – you shouldn’t do it for your consumer but for the sake of our planet. As for our collection’s carbon footprint, we minimize this as all our production takes place in Spain. When at the end of the last century, more and more brands decided to move their production processes to Asia, Lois decided to stay loyal to their factories in Spain. It was our downfall at that time, but a key element in our collections now.

Do you see the future of Lois Jeans becoming solely collections based on being sustainable?

When talking about sustainability, I think we all know that nothing can be 100% sustainable in fashion. Again, we do everything in our power and keep trying to find new or better ways to produce our collections as sustainably as possible.

Lois Jeans has had a long-lasting relationship with the music industry since the early 70’s, when musicians and fashion icons like ABBA and Rod Stewart began wearing Lois Jeans. Do you see the brand doing more within the music industry today? Perhaps, collaborating with musicians for capsule collections?

It’s amazing to see all the incredible musicians that worn Lois throughout the years, but I do believe musicians or celebrities had more impact in the past than now. When we find someone who’s very inspirational and connected to our brand, I would be open to exploring collection collaborations. Although we would never go for one music direction, we would go for various. Last year, we went back to our DNA when teaming up with Lowlands, one of the biggest music festivals in the Netherlands with 60,000 daily visitors. Lois was one of the first fashion brands that sponsored festivals in the 70s, with Pinkpop as the biggest festival in the Netherlands at that time.

What’s the meeting or event that’s marked your career the most?

Last June, we went back to basics when presenting our SS24 collection to clients and the press. We’ve decided to host a collection presentation at our secluded ranch in Ibiza. After the fashion show in Oslo, everybody was asking me what we would do next and how we could ever top this. The pressure to do something bigger was there, but it felt like we had to do something intimate and personal. In the end, it had much more impact than using a big amount of money on a show. It also gave me much more confidence about our journey with Lois and I’m so proud of that. I will also never forget one of our first events in Norway. Our collection didn’t cross the Norwegian borders, so we had to put the whole Lois team on a plane with six layers of clothing on to make sure we at least had a collection to showcase. I still laugh about this moment when thinking of it.

On a final note, how do you celebrate after you’ve finished a collection?

We actually never really celebrate this. Our big celebration is to start with the new collection the day after. My brain immediately starts thinking of what we could do next and it’s the most fun to do.