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New Brand To Know: Asket

Co-founders Jakob Dworsky and August Bard Bringéus believe timeless classics are essential pieces of a man’s wardrobe. The Swedish duo met at business school at Stockholm School of Economics and together they envisioned to develop a product with a lasting impact. Dworsky and Bringéus started their label in 2015 and focused on creating a range of menswear essentials. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, the label is stocked on Asket.com.

What inspired you to launch your label?

Timeless basics are the essentials of every man’s wardrobe. Yet we found it so hard to find something as simple as a plain white t-shirt or a blue oxford shirt because brands changed their style and fit every season. Instead, we found unnecessary details, tasteless colors, overpaying for “quality” or paying too little for garments of dubious origin. We saw an opportunity to move away from fashion’s seasonal churn and introduce a permanent collection of mindfully produced, quality, and timeless garments designed to last. But what started out as an idea to create the best men’s basic wardrobe, turned into something more than that. We realized we had a bigger role to play in adding value and care back into the apparel system.

Why fashion?

Neither of us had worked in fashion before but then again Asket isn’t your conventional fashion label either. While studying at university we soon realized that the usual career path from business school into a bank or a consultancy wasn’t for us. Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve wanted to create something of my own, something with a lasting impact. Turned out Jakob shared that same dream. We’ve both also had a long interest in aesthetic fields like design, architecture, style, and the desire to work on a physical product, especially having worked with management consulting and tech companies before. Looking back now, not having any prior experience probably worked to our advantage. It gave us a healthy dose of naiveté and an outside perspective that allowed us to see the standard industry rules and processes very differently – that comes in handy when you’re trying to create something fundamentally different.

What is your brand ethos?

It might sound paradoxical, after all, we are in the business of selling clothes, but our definition of progress is reduced wardrobes – and ultimately to end an era of fast consumption. We want more people to buy better and fewer pieces of clothing, appreciating their journey and caring for them longer, we call it the Pursuit of Less. The problem is that fashion has become too fast, constantly chasing trends and pushing multiple collections each season. Garments, products of delicate labor and precious resources, have lost their value, all at the expense of our society and planet. Asket exists to end this and our garments are our vehicle to achieving it. Every piece we create is designed to outlast the current standards, both in terms of enduring fluctuation in trends and frequent wear and tear.

How would you describe your signature aesthetic?

As we mentioned, essentials are the cornerstone of every man’s wardrobe but over the last 20 years, the simplicity of these garments has been corrupted, with useless pockets or unnecessarily deep necklines being added in the pursuit of creating new trends and constantly renewing our wardrobes. We want to restore that simplicity, stripping garments back to their very essence and instead focusing on perfecting the quality, fit, and design. Our design mantra: Eliminate what doesn’t add value, invest in what does.

What was your inspiration this season?

We don’t have seasonal collections, instead, we’ve introduced a permanent collection adding 3 to 4 garments a year instead. And the permanence of our collection remains our guiding principle. It influences every aspect of the design process; from deciding what qualifies as a wardrobe essential, to selecting the most durable and quality materials as well as creating timeless designs that won’t fall out of fashion. When it comes to deciding which products to include, we look back in time rather than trying to predict the next trend. Taking inspiration from the Steve McQueens and Alain Delons of the world, who’s casual sensibilities would look as comfortable on the cover of magazines now as they did 60 years ago.

Who is your customer?

I think people love that we deliver the kind of pieces they wear every day; in quality they can feel and a cut that flatters. So we see guys of all ages coming to us, from the skinny teenager who wants a good quality t-shirt and raw denim to go skating in, to the 55-year-old dad that is still searching for the perfect pair of chinos. We hope that when people own something that they can wear over and over, they’ll really start to bond with that piece, appreciate it, wear it for longer and not feel the need to replace their wardrobe all the time – it’s all about restoring a good old fashioned appreciation for clothes.

What are your plans for the label?

The fashion industry is facing an existential crisis, with the industry grappling as to how it can operate in a better way without imploding. We’re still young but by 2021 we hope to be profitable and show the incumbents that the industry can slow down while creating more value and less waste across the entire value chain. Our permanent collection is a simple concept, but has proven to unlock a radical new way of working; no overproduction or waste at the end of seasons, time and resources to become accountable for our supply chain from farm to the final garment and no need for discounting that only encourages snap shopping decisions. Put into practice, the fashion industry could be a fraction of its current volume and waste, but the same size in terms of revenue and value, if brands followed a similar model: abandoning the concept of constant renewal, increasing the shelf life and total lifetime of a garment while charging an honest price – one that actually reflects the craftsmanship and resources going into creating the clothing. And we’re also looking at how we can fix women’s wardrobe essentials, watch this space.

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