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H2O SPORTSWEAR JOURNAL


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This journal contains the story behind the creation of H2O Sportswear and how the brand has evolved through more than

H2O SPORTSWEAR JOURNAL 2017

three decades

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CONTENTS 6 History 15 Values 16 Italy-Made sandals 20 Production 25 Design process 26 Collabs 30 Communication

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33 Mission / vision

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1

HISTORY

When our company was established in 1982, Helsingør IF was considered the leading team within their field and discipline, which was handball. This successful handball team should not only be remembered as the starting point of professional handball in Denmark, because their part in the founding of H2O Sportswear has also been vital. Without them, H2O Sportswear would probably have had a very different start or it might never have been established at all. Helsingør IF was at that time sponsored by the company Buksesnedkeren, headed by Jens Knud Lind. He was not just the owner of the firm – he was also a dedicated fan and followed the local team keenly. He was particularly fascinated by one player, Jens Erik Roepstroff, who was in most people’s eyes a star, not only on the field but also outside of it.

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For more than 34 years, the name “H2O” and the three characteristic colours of the logo have identified our brand and our reputation. Since the brand was founded, the logo and the colours have been essential in creating the visual frame of our identity and fundamental values.


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H2O soared up through the 80s, maintaining a focus on 3 basic values: There could only be one retailer per city, the company must only grow by 10% per year, and black was not to be one of the main colours. These values turned out to be a good strategy, because H2O went only one way in the 90s and that was up. H2O developed their sports collection further and expanded the collection with among other things swimwear, rainwear and the well-known sandals. However, as the brand became able to outdo most competitors on the market with regards to popularity, the three fundamental values concerning geography, growth and main colours were replaced with segmentation and a focus on increased sales. .

HISTORY 9

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Jens Knud Lind saw an opportunity in his idol. This was not just about playing handball but also what you played in. On that basis, a whole new world opened up – Jens Knud Lind and Jens Erik Roepstroff founded a clothing brand in co-operation with Buksesnedkeren. The brand was given the name H2O Sportswear and its chief aim was to create a comfortable sports collection in cotton, suitable for athletes as well as the fashions conscious public. Starting from classic Scandinavian design with unique fits, H2O was received with open arms.


COMFORTABLE SPORTS COLLECTION”

HISTORY 10

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”MAIN FOCUS ON ESTABLISHING A


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HISTORY 12


However, H2O was bought by Active Sportswear, who ran the brand until 2012. In 2012, four investors joined together to buy H2O with a mission to renew the brand for a new generation and, not least, to return to the old virtues, thereby connecting 1982 and today. Today, H2O is a brand in tremendous development and it ensures that it is constantly updated on what is happening in the sports and fashion industry. This approach has put the brand right back on track and it is now to be found in selected sport- and fashion-stores all across the country.

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The turn of the millennium was a tough time for H2O. The fundamental values had been overshadowed by the huge success, which in 2004 led the owner Jens Knud Lind to sell H2O to a capital fund. The idea of cotton-based sporting and fashion clothes was recast to the tune of turning H2O into just another side runner to major brands like Nike and Adidas. This turned out not to be the way to success either. In 2009, H2O went bankrupt owing to a combination of bad business choices and the poor financial situation in Denmark at the time.


VALUES"

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”BACK TO THE ORIGINAL


2

VALUES

At H2O, we have four core values, which together make up our brand identity. The quality of the products is the same well-known quality as it was back in the 80s and 90s. And our products always have the right fit that gives you freedom of movement. The design is classic as well as modern, inspired by the old, original collection. Black does not figure on our colour boards and our iconic three colour logo is still recognized by most Danes – remembered from the 80s and 90s.

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"Quality, Fit, Design and Colours."


3

”The same Italian production for over 30 years” The sandals constitute one of H2O’s best-known trademarks. These continue to be produced at the same factory as always, and some of the experts still work at the factory in Italy to ensure that the quality and comfort never downgrade, and that the classic Danish design is produced in accordance with high environmental standards.

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ITALY-MADE SANDALS


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QUALITY AND GOOD DESIGN”

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”HIGH COMFORT, GREAT


4

PRODUCTION

”Never compromise with quality”

At H2O, we hold on to the original qualities and this gives our customers an authentic experience every time they put on an H2O item. We never compromise on the quality of our products. The process is monitored all the way so that we can be sure to maintain our standards, right from when the cotton is picked to when the customer dons the finished product. For us, quality goes hand in hand with function and fit. It’s important that every item being produced has optimal comfort and optimal freedom of movement, regardless of size and shape. Many of H2O’s products are still being produced in the same original and familiar piqué quality, which is super soft and comfortable, best known from the polo shirts. In addition to the high degree of comfort, piqué is extremely durable owing to the knitted texture in the fabric.

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H2O’s designs have been brought to life with inspiration from the past, and the company is focused on using the very best qualities to every product, as was done 30 years ago.


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Cotton has been one of the main textiles in every collection since the beginnings of H2O. It is essential for us to maintain the high textile standards and never compromise. The European production of H2O’s cotton styles still takes places in the original factories in and around Istanbul. Istanbul is an important production market because of the high level of quality and especially because of the short delivery time as well as the flexible production. Despite the rapid delivery time, working hours and conditions for employees are as we know them from the classic history textile producers, and the employees at the factory are experienced and work with passion. Another reason why H2O still uses the original production factory is that it is easy and quick to get to for the company’s internal employees, including engineers and designers, when they have to visit the factory to carry out quality checks.

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”Cotton production”


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FASHION

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SPORT


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DESIGN PROCESS

The design team then designs and draws the new sports collection. Following this, the best styles are selected and sent to our suppliers, who provide the first prototypes. On receiving the prototypes, the constructor adjusts the fits and other details. Afterwards, these corrections are sent to the suppliers, who are now able to produce sale samples before the final production starts. The fashion collection goes through practically the same design process as the sports collection. The only difference is that H2O collaborate with the owners of the multi-brand store S.T. Valentin, who are responsible for the sale of the fashion collection to Danish customers. Apart from that, their task is to co-operate with the rest of the design team in order to create nostalgic and fashionable styles based on the best elements from the old collections. In that way, fashion will always keep the authentic and iconic expression while being supplied with a new and modern twist. The new collections will always be inspired by the past, and in that way the nostalgic element will continue to be a part of H2O’s collections.

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The design process of H2O’s collections starts in Paris where our creative director is located. Through many years, she has specialized in trends and designs and she has a great deal of experience within the sports- and fashion-industry. Her job is to set the frames for H2O’s sports collection. By means of mood boards and visual illustrations, she defines what the coming collections are going to reflect.


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COLLABS

In the spring 2014, H2O was able to present its first collaboration with the Danish designer Stine Goya. This cooperation involved a redesign of the iconic H2O sandal and its success was based on classic Danish design and high quality craftsmanship from the Italian producer. The excitement caused by the recast sandals was huge and it allowed H2O to remain in the fashion industry – the redesigned gold sandal became a new trend. Since the partnership with Stine Goya, H2O has continued to collaborate with external designers in order to optimize the brand’s visibility. This has resulted in new interpretations of H2O’s original designs as well as new and more sophisticated styles. Collabs include: Henrik Vibskov, Anne-Sofie Madsen Studio, Mark Kenly Domino Tan & Freya Dalsjø.

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”A ticket to the fashion industry”


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STINE GOYA X H2O SPORTSWEAR

ANNE SOFIE MADSEN X H2O SPORTSWEAR

HENRIK VIBSKOV X H2O SPORTSWEAR

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MARK KENLY DOMINO TAN X H2O SPORTSWEAR

FREYA DALSJØ X H2O SPORTSWEAR

HAN KJØBENHAVN X H2O SPORTSWEAR

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”BASED ON CLASSIC DESIGN H2O SPORTSWEAR JOURNAL 2017

AND HIGH QUALITY”

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7

COMMUNICATION

"Quality above quantity" Everything we do in PR and communication happens online. We only use digital media platforms to market our brand, and social media are, according to us, an essential part of our identity and image. In order to reach our full potential, we must know our target group as well as seek to reach beyond it. It’s all about communication between us and our customers. Apart from digital media platforms, distribution is a key part of our marketing strategy. We weigh quality above quantity and this is reflected in our distribution. We are extremely selective when it comes to collaborations and prefer to move in a small crowd of interesting characters. We aim to inspire, to tell the world about our work and share our passion. Our profiles are used to generate awareness of our brand and products. We look for a highly visual content, with pictures that give our customers a greater insight into our company and daily routines. All visual material is adjusted to our brand and company identity, which we aim to express through everything we do.

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COMMUNICATION


#h2osportswear

H2Osportswear

H2O Sportswear

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8

MISSION / VISION

”Honesty, clean lines and transparency”

To ensure that the company makes the right decisions and avoids putting itself in a bad position within the industry, H2O believes in honesty, clean lines and transparency at all stages and all levels. It is essential for the company to be able to say yes and no at the right times to ensure that we live up to our own as well as our customers’ expectations – and stay on track. This is also the reason why H2O is constantly challenging itself to produce and recycle products in ways that do not damage the environment in any of the countries involved in its production. This is H2O’s way of making the best conditions for future generations.

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H2O’s mission is to create sporty lifestyle clothes and footwear with an emphasis on comfort and functionality. As technology has developed exponentially over the past years, the company is always prepared for changes, which is one way to create success for us and for our costumers.



h2o journal