As streetwear (in the traditional sense) channels an increasingly high-end aesthetic, and, accordingly, high-fashion often starts to mimic street trends, there are a select few menswear retailers who hit the nail on the head season after season, with curated selections that appeal to evolving trends and tastes. Sweden’s Très Bien Shop is such a store.
Founded as a brick-and-mortar location in 2006, the store quickly saw the gap and potential for a focused online presence, as a reaction to streetwear – and fashion in general – becoming increasingly globalized through the internet. In the few short years they’ve been around, Tres Bien has become a global go-to for the best and most current fashion available today and will almost certainly be a mainstay within this realm.
In addition to its retail ventures, the store plays an active design role, seen in a number of collaborations including WELCOME, its joint venture with fellow Swedes, Our Legacy.
Since we’re always trawling through the pages of Tres Bien goodness, we thought it was about time we spent 5 minutes with store co-founder and buyer, Hannes Hogeman, for a quick chat about his ideas, design concepts and where the store is heading in 2013…
SLAMXHYPE // When you founded Très Bien in 2006, what was the goal? Did you see a gap in the market?
HANNES HOGEMAN // We actually started out as a bricks and mortar store on a very small scale and decided to go online in the same year. We could definitely see a gap in the market for curated menswear online back then.
SXH // Have you seen the online fashion-scape change since you began business?
HH // Sure, most of all in terms of how many stores decide to go online these days and to be honest, I only think this is the beginning. We’ve always focused on the curation and putting stuff together that doesn’t always match but we make it match. That kind of curation will be even more important to us in the future.
SXH // Do you think the retail model has changed?
HH // The retail model as far as seasons and collections is still the same and probably will be for a long time. The online business is very fast moving and the fashion business is very conservative and doesn’t really keep up with the speed that goes on online. That, sometimes – kinda often actually – creates a clash of old meeting new that doesn’t always get along.
SXH // Obviously Très Bien have placed a higher importance on visual experience in recent times, and as such, likely raised the game for others to follow in that area. Do you think you’ll move deeper into this format?
HH // That’s nice to hear. We will indeed.
SXH // You’re more than qualified to pick out trends – what are your thoughts on the increasingly blurred line between high fashion and street wear? Where do you think this movement will take us in 2013?
HH // This is only the beginning. Streetwear versus high end, high versus low, old versus new, etc. etc. There are no boundaries anymore for this stuff and the kids today are so on it and trends move so fast that this will only keep evolving.
SXH // This is probably a good point to talk about WELCOME, Très Bien’s collaborative line with Our Legacy. How did this collaboration come about?
HH // It’s all based on what used to be a good business that also became a very good friendship and we kinda started talking early about doing stuff together besides us buying their gear. WELCOME started as a well curated menswear shop in Stockholm and evolved into a clothing label. When you’re two busy, small companies you need to keep focus and we all felt that the clothing label WELCOME was more needed than the shop, so we decided to close the shop and focus on the line.
SXH // Can you talk about the concept and direction behind the line?
HH // The beauty of WELCOME is that it’s a blank canvas really. You never know what design direction we will take or what projects will come up. WELCOME is very unexpected and doesn’t follow the “rules” of the fashion industry and that’s a very good thing. We don’t work in the classic way with seasons and have the freedom to do whatever we feel like, cause those are the rules we’ve set up. Lots of exciting collabs to come in the future besides the collection drop later this spring.
SXH // Is design practice an avenue that Très Bien will explore further this year?
HH // Actually it is. Besides WELCOME, we’re launching our own eyewear brand called Sun Buddies this spring. Très Bien inhouse-designed frames, all handmade in acetate with Cal Zeiss optics at a very affordable price. Watch out!
SXH // As it is obviously of paramount importance for you guys to keep an eye on the street (and runway) when it comes to fresh fashion, who among the new crop of designers should we be looking out for?
HH // Sweden-based Common and Belgium-born Tim Coppens.