Slow Fashion for Men - Conversation with Jakob from Asket
June 19th, 2020 | 3 minutes to read
Asket, Sweden's slow fashion brand for men. They have everything I want in clothes (except I am too small to wear any). It's essential, minimal, classic with multiple sizes, which doesn't go after trend or seasons. Every piece of clothes is traceable, from materials to production. Transparency is one of the main focuses of Asket, which is urgently needed in today's disastrous fashion industry. I want to share a little story that leads to the birth of Asket, with Jakob, one of the co-founders.
Asket founders Jakob (left) and August (right) wearing classic Asket white T-shirt and light gray long sleeves
Annie: Hi Jakob, thanks for taking time to share your story. We know that Asket is famous for its multiple sizes and traceability, what were the difficulties you met before while shopping that made you decide to make your own?
Jakob: It all started with a personal frustration with never being able to find great basics. We felt like you always had to compromise on something in terms of quality, fit, price or sustainability - at best you could find something that ticks three out of those four. We couldn’t understand and accept why it had to be so hard to find something as simple as a plain white t-shirt and why that equation hadn’t been solved yet so that’s what we set out to do - garments free of compromise, but full of love.
Annie: I personally quite like your concept, but why is there only menswear?
Jakob: The simple answer is that me and my co-founder August founded ASKET based on a very personal need. We basically set out to create the garments that we wanted for ourselves and we knew very little about womenswear. More than that, it’s also a matter of focus and resources, making sure that we do one thing really well before moving on to the next. But hopefully we’ll get to that in the future.
Annie: I heard that House of Radon, a creative agency was involved in your venture creation, what have you done together and what made your campaign successful?
Jakob: We partnered with Radon very early on, even before we launched, and they’ve been involved in almost all aspects of the brand. Everything from establishing our visual identity and producing our campaigns to building our first web store. As a new, online-only brand, it has been imperative to have that help and present ASKET in the right way from the start.
Annie: Now it’s been five years since you started with a T-shirt, and your product lines have expanded, what challenges have you met so far?
Jakob: Expanding the product range has definitely been a challenge, especially moving into completely new categories and size systems like trousers for instance, which is why we implemented our “garments as software” approach of small “beta” launches of new products to gather feedback and improve before ramping up production. Furthermore, simply keeping track of a wider product range that is spread out across multiple of factories (as we work with highly specialized factories we have almost one factory per product) and ensuring that everything is in stock across all of our sizes has become increasingly complex.
Annie: Yeah, I can imagine that...What do you see yourself in next five years? What do you want Asket to become?
Jakob: In five years time we’ll probably have reached the end of our essential wardrobe, at least for men, which means we’ll be able to focus on expanding our concept rather than our product line. There’s something very exciting in the prospect of being the only clothing brand not to release any new products. We want to keep pushing ourselves and assume an even higher degree of responsibility and tackling a wider range of issues. What I’m most excited about is working more on closing the loop, adding circular ideas to our products and business model.
Annie: Indeed, "closing the gap" is one of the most ignored issues in fashion industry. One last question, just curious, why do you choose “asket” as your name? It’s a Swedish word which means “ascetic”, someone who has severe self-discipline and abstains from all indulgences, often for religious reasons. What is the connection between this and your brand?
Jakob: It’s a metaphor for our philosophy of “less is more” and the importance of focusing on what truly matters - the essentials - which is exactly what we strive for as a company.