A perfect distillation of vintage American varsity, Scandinavian sensibility and French chic, the Swedish-French label Ron Dorff makes contemporary bodywear with unrivalled pedigree. Founded in 2012, the brand has carved a path to the top of the US and EU premium markets in little over a decade.

“Ron Dorff reimagines the iconic menswear staples of the past. Ten years ago, you couldn’t find simple, classic gym and swimwear in Europe. We’d go to New York and buy American sportswear and bring it to this little tailor we had in Le Marais. It obviously didn’t make sense in the long run so we decided to do it ourselves,” says the label’s Swedish co-founder Claus Lindorff.

Taking its cue from the silhouettes of iconic sportswear of the 1970s and ‘80s, Ron Dorff’s quintessential range of sportswear, loungewear, underwear and swimwear sees garments updated with modern cuts and premium fabrics, including 100 per cent pure sports cashmere, organic cotton and luxurious blends such as cotton-silk and cotton-cashmere. Every item features a unique signature of excellence: a pair of black-lacquered eyelets, a reflection of the two Os in the brand name.

Though it sells to over 90 countries, the largely online brand has seen striking organic growth in the US, bolstered by a four million Euro investment from Puma Private Equity in 2020, and by the surge in worldwide demand for luxury loungewear following the shift to hybrid working. Today, the US accounts for 35 per cent of the label’s global online sales.

Ron Dorff brings European luxury to heritage American sportswear

‘Discipline is not a dirty word’

That Ron Dorff has become a leader in the US premium market is testament to Lindorff’s scrupulous design and business vision: “I grew up in Stockholm. Swedish design is about quality and functionality but when you mix it with something French, it adds a little unique spice – why not sexiness? – to the design. We’ve always believed that this European twist could become interesting in the US, the birthplace of sportswear.”

Indeed, meaningful design is in every fibre of the brand: “Our motto is ‘Discipline is not a dirty word’. If you want results, you have to be disciplined – in life, in creativity, in the gym, anywhere. All our collections are inspired by iconic sportswear from the past. Our tennis shorts are inspired by those worn by Björn Borg, John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors in the early ‘80s. Our swimwear is inspired by the model worn by the Brazilian water polo team in the ‘70s. We would never do a tie or a pair of jeans. It’s about staying true to your origins.”

Ron Dorff’s head office is in central Paris, where it all began, and today counts stores in Paris, London, Berlin and New York. A new flagship store will open in Los Angeles in May, with Miami slated for September. “We will never have 500 stores. We focus on those that cover our key online markets. In the US, those are New York, LA and Miami,” says Lindorff.

Ron Dorff’s clientele are known as HENRYs: High Earners, Not Rich Yet. “Our clients are around 30-40 years old. They live in major cities around the world. They’re not millionaires, but they can spend, and they spend on quality and on brands that make sense to them and their environment,” says Lindorff.

Ron Dorff brings European luxury to heritage American sportswear

Pop-ups, collabs and high-profile fans

Through word-of-mouth and carefully curated pop-ups, Ron Dorff has seen strong growth in this demographic. “We’re doing a pop-up on Fire Island this summer, we’ll do Aspen for winter, and we’re in Gustavia in St. Barths in a little store called Pasha,” says Lindorff.

The Greek island of Mykonos, renowned for its azure coastline and party atmosphere, is one of Ron Dorff’s biggest satellite markets, where it’s the bestselling name in the Jackie O’ boutique. “In May this year we’ll launch a Jackie O’ x Ron Dorff collection called Mykonos Boy. We’re dressing the whole island!” quips Lindorff. “All the towels on the Jackie O’ beach will be Ron Dorff. All the staff on the beach, in the bars, in the restaurants, the nightclub, the Yacht Club, will be dressed in Ron Dorff throughout the whole summer season.”

It’s the latest in a string of high-profile collaborations that has magnified Ron Dorff’s appeal. In 2022, Ron Dorff made fashion headlines with the cashmere DAD Collection in partnership with American actor Neil Patrick Harris. “It’s still one of our bestsellers. Neil is one of our clients, we just chit-chatted and decided to make this collection. And there’s a new partnership in the works for Spring 2024, which is yet to be announced,” teases Lindorff.

Elsewhere, Ron Dorff counts Michael Fassbender, Orlando Bloom and Princess Charlotte of Monaco amongst its fans. The label has an exceptionally loyal client base, built around a continued dedication to timeless design, quality, durability and sustainable production in Portugal and France. “We don’t only make something for a season, it’s for years, why not for a lifetime,” says Lindorff. “I have the original T-shirts from before we had the eyelets on, and I’m still wearing them. It’s not because I want to save the world. It’s just because the quality is great.”

Ron Dorff brings European luxury to heritage American sportswear

Right: Ron Dorff founder Claus Lindorff. Photo: Luc Braquet

Web: www.rondorff.com
Instagram: @rondorff
Facebook: rondorff

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