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Five Questions for: Nordstrom’s Sam Lobban

ATTENTION NORDSTROM SHOPPERS: There are some exciting developments a-brewing in the men’s department, thanks in part to its VP of men’s fashion, Sam Lobban, who joined the Seattle-based department store last June. Earlier this month, the retailer launched New Concepts, a physical and digital pop-up platform directed by Lobban featuring top-notch men’s fashion and products. Its inaugural iteration, dubbed Concept 001: Out Cold, is a 20-brand curated collection showcasing ski, snow, rain and, technical gear from the likes of Arc’teryx Veilance, Kjus, Aztech Mountain, Snow Peak, Mackintosh, Salomon and, Hoka One One. Shop it online now through March, or head to the Seattle flagship and the Nordstrom Men’s store in New York through the end of January to scoop up those cold-weather necessities. (The second iteration of New Concepts will launch on February 7 with Concept 002: Dior. It will feature Kim Jones’s first collection with commissioned work by artist KAWS, who reimagined the Dior logo and iconic bee—both appearing on a selection of T-shirts, jackets, backpacks, and more.)

The retail veteran (Selfridges, MR Porter, are among his credentials) also has plans to bring several new men’s brands to the Nordstrom sales floor this spring, including Off-White, Alyx, Heron Preston, Noon Goons, and Rhude. Read on for more of Lobban’s insight into the menswear world, plus the one item he currently cannot live without.

What are some men’s fashion trends on the horizon?

One of the major trends we’ve been seeing is the merging of fashion with more functional outdoor ideas, which is, in part, where our Out Cold concept came from. This is both in terms of the ‘90s throwback, outdoor vintage feeling in fashion, but also with some of the more progressive, leading designers taking their cues from technical products.

Why did you all decide to launch this New Concepts platform?

We wanted a way to tell meaningful brand and product stories, both in our stores and online. Our hope with New Concepts is to show customers some of the best, new and compelling ideas in menswear.

What is it about retail and fashion that has always drawn you in?

I’ve been in retail since I was a kid, and have always loved seeing how different people interact with and wear clothes in their own way. For me, fashion is designed to be worn, so seeing how a customer adopts items into their own wardrobe through retail is super interesting.

What’s the best part of your job?

I’m a product guy, so I’d have to say the sheer amount of great product I get to interact with. I also travel a lot and meet some incredible people who are all working to push menswear forward.

What is one item of clothing that you can’t live without right now?

It’s gotten particularly cold in NYC now, so I’d have to say my Arc’teryx Veilance Monitor IS coat. It’s really quite incredible how warm it keeps you when temperatures turn, and I’ve definitely tested it in more than one snow storm already so I know I’m good for the rest of the winter!


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