Creative directors and designers Sam Linder and Kirk Millar created Linder
in 2013, resulting of the association of both creative minds. "We started with a very loose idea of end goals. It wasn’t the easiest way to go, but the results end up richer. The heart of the brand is the creative process, in which we try to get lost for a while each season and then discover the collection as it becomes fully rendered. We like that because the results are more exciting for us, but again, it’s not the easiest way to do things." Being located in New York unconsciously links to commercial fashion: "As far as difficulties specific to being based in New York, there’s that assumption that everything here is commercial and corporate. We often hear that our collection looks European rather than American... but for us, we want to be in a conversation with all the markets. We are a New York brand, and there are many others here that are not commercial at all, so we are hoping this perception will shift, and it seems to be. Our store is a great venue to challenge this way of viewing New York design."
When developing the financial skeleton of a brand, the retail and wholesale aspects tend to be elements with a clear potential to question the creative direction. "We try not to let that be a decisive factor. Of course we have to present a balanced collection, and we have to produce items that people want to wear. But we never want to fall into the trap of making what other people think will sell, rather than trusting our own instincts and making whatever is compelling to us. Easier said than done, but that is our intention." As far as the sales grow, from both selling points, the question of finding the balance between accessibility and exclusivity is a dilemma to face. "Thats always a complicated subject. We are described as a luxury label due to our price point, but we never want to project that the value of our pieces lies in their inaccessibility. We make clothes we think are interesting and we try to be realistic about making them worth the investment for the customer. But we know that not everyone has the budget for certain pieces we make. We do make items that range in their price point."
In this industry, and especially as an emerging brand, keeping a creative independence but still make a living out of fashion is a delicate equation to play with. "Our goal is to sell and grow enough so that we can continue to make the collections that turn us on. If we ever feel we are going to lose our creative independence I think we will both walk away. The creative process is the engine of what we do, so we hope we can protect it!"