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IN CONVERSATION WITH AUGUST BARD BRINGÉUS OF ASKET
Written by Menswear Style in Interviews on the 14th May 2020 / In Conversation with August Bard Bringéus of ASKET
ASKET is an independent online-only menswear brand founded in 2015 with the mission to slow down the fashion industry and change the way we manufacture, market, and consume clothing. Based on honest production, transparent pricing, and revolutionary sizing, they're perfecting a single, permanent collection of timeless essentials and restoring the meaningfulness of the garments men use the most.
ASKET believes the world doesn’t need another fashion brand. Garments, products of delicate labour and precious resources, have lost their value. We buy more and use them less than ever - packing our wardrobes, filling landfills and fueling incinerators. Their promise is to restore the value of garments by creating meaningful essentials: A permanent collection of zero-compromise pieces, their stories uncovered and told. ASKET doesn’t design for seasons, they create for forever. When something isn’t perfect, they improve it. When something is broken, they mend it. Their definition of progress is reduced clothing ownership built on pieces that will stand the test of time, both in craftsmanship and design. The brand envisions a world free of fast consumption, a world with less clutter and less waste.
In a recent episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we spoke to ASKET Co-Founder, August Bard Bringéus, about the history and philosophy of his menswear brand. Our host Peter Brooker asks August about why this DTC online only business wants men to buy less clothing. They discuss August's background and how he met his business partner, Jakob Nilsson Dworsky, at business school in Sweden. They both had a passion and desire to create something from scratch that was meaningful and different. This brought them to sustainability and ethics in the clothing industry. Their solution to solve the fast fashion waste problem was to build a business model that would slow consumption and increase value within the supply chain. ASKET has a single permanent collection of classic menswear pieces, fully traceable, from farm to finish line.
Please tell us about your background and how ASKET was born
“ASKET is a Direct-to-Consumer online only menswear brand with the slightly paradoxical mission of helping people buy less clothing. It's a different way of looking at business and redefining the notion of a healthy and successful business away from the current main metric, which is growth at any cost. I met my co-founder Jakob on the first day of business school in Sweden back in 2009. We found ourselves sharing a similar passion for wanting to create something. I wanted to build something from scratch and not just follow the traditional business graduate career paths of banking or management consulting. We had picked up on the growing Direct-to-Consumer and Digitally Native Vertical Brand wave that had started in the United States with brands like Warby Parker, Everlane, and Bonobos and saw that it could be a platform to solve the frustration that we had both been feeling for a while.”
“We have too many pieces of clothing and the average wardrobe contains over 100 pieces of clothing, but you will use only a fraction of them. It’s as low as 20% of your clothing that is actually in constant use. We found ourselves wondering why that was the case and tried to analyse why we love certain garments and why others are turned out of our daily rotation very quickly. What we found was the clothing we use all the time always have the same common denominators; they’re timeless in style, they're high quality, they're comfortable and they have a great fit. The other 80% are mostly things that are bought on impulse, such as a trend piece. It was a new expensive brand that had a 70% sale and you bought it despite the colour being weird or the fit not actually being right for you.”
“It was in 2014 when we started sketching the idea of ASKET and at that time we were very concerned with what we called the impossible equation of combining quality, fit and price. We weren't actually super concerned with sustainability, ethics or responsibility in clothing, for the simple reason that we were just average consumers. At that time, we had no experience within the apparel industry or within fashion. But as we started to sketch the solution to solve this equation, combining fit and high quality at an affordable, attainable price point we started to build a business model that would also have the perfect foundation for slowing down consumption, increasing value and reducing inefficiencies and injustice in the fashion value chain.”
“We registered the corporation and forced ourselves to get started. In 2015 we launched the T-shirt. The pitch at that time was about the search for the perfect T-shirt and we offered it in 15 sizes. We launched that on Kickstarter to assess the interest in finding high quality, timeless, well-fitting garments. Our project was funded within 18 hours and within three weeks we had achieved more than 4.5 times the pre orders that we needed to fund our first production. We didn't have any investors and we didn't have any cash ourselves because we were students and still studying. So, we needed to both assess initial interest, and get some first loyal customers to help fund our first production round. We then launched our website with just one product, the T-shirt available in four colours and in 15 sizes each. From there on, we gradually expanded the permanent collection one garment at a time, putting all our focus on just piece by piece, building a perfect wardrobe.”
This is a shortened transcribed edit of episode 56 of the MenswearStyle Podcast with August Bard Bringéus, Co-Founder of asket.com. You can listen to the full version below or listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favourite podcast player.