Mats Klinberg founded Trunk Clothiers in 2010.Although London’s fashion heritage has always catered to the male predominantly, Mats was surprised to find how little London had to offer in menswear at the time. Seven years since launching Trunk Clothiers, the city has changed drastically offering gents far more than it used to. I speak to Mats about how these changes came about. On the occasion of his participation in London Craft Week I also get to ask him what direction he thinks menswear is taking.
You launched Trunk Clothiers back in 2010. At the time you had noticed the lack of menswear boutiques in London, and how few stores catered to the modern man. How have things changed since then, if at all?
I think there’s a much wider menswear offering in London now than back in 2010. Lamb’s Conduit Street wasn’t what it is today back then and neither was Chiltern Street. On Clifford Street you now also have great shops like Anderson & Sheppard’s Haberdashery and Connolly.
On my fashion walks through London I think more and more streets owned by landlords or developers are becoming more specialised in their offering. I’ve noticed the rise of Lamb’s Conduit street as a destination for menswear; Mount Street for luxury international brands. What would you say is Chiltern Street’s predominant character?
I think what makes Chiltern Street so special is a combination of three things. First of all, I think it’s a great destination for independents catering to both men and women. Secondly, I think people love coming here because of the beautiful Victorian gothic architecture and the sense of calm. And lastly, I think it’s the very central location, just a couple of minutes walk from busy streets like Baker Street, Oxford Street and Edgware Road.
You are a big fan of Boglioli. Can you tell us how you first came across the brand?
I’ve been spending a lot of my holidays in Italy, as long as I can remember! Boglioli was always one of those brands that I kept coming across in nice menswear shops across the country. Their focus is more on creating beautiful and high quality easy to wear jackets and suits rather than trying to be the coolest kid on the block. A Boglioli jacket fits in most situations and is easy to dress up for more formal occasions or down for more casual ones. It’s also not super tailored, so tends to fit most body shapes very well.
Italian and British tailors hold craftsmanship close to their heart. It is the essence of their existence. How would you say Italian tailoring differs from British tailoring? And how does the concept of craftsmanship differ from one nation to another?
If you generalise, which I normally don’t like doing, I think Italian tailoring tends to be a bit softer and British tailoring a bit sharper. Both are great, so there’s definitely room for both styles in every man’s wardrobe. I think there is an equal sense of pride in the craftsmanship that goes in to the making of an Italian or British jacket or a suit, both for the tailor making it and the man wearing it.
Craftsmanship is important to you and evidently is influential in the curation of Trunk Clothiers. How do you define craftsmanship?
To me craftsmanship is about beautiful and unique things being made by passionate, proud and happy people. Knowing where things come from, how they’ve been made, and who’s made them are important factors when deciding on which brands to stock at Trunk, so craftsmanship is very important.
Does it define luxury for you?
Yes. To me luxury is something that brings you happiness, is unique in one way or the other, isn’t available everywhere and therefore requires some sort of effort to get hold of, is of good quality and has a clear provenance.
And, what direction is men’s luxury going in?
Consumers are getting more and more consciously aware of what they’re spending their money on, so I definitely think you’ll see ‘craftsmanship’ being used more and more often as one of the reasons men opt for one brand over another going forward.
Trunk Clothiers conjures images of a gentleman with a 1920s Louis Vuitton travel trunk traversing the seas at the height of exploration frenzies. You are an avid traveller too, which helped when you were selecting brands for trunk Clothiers. Is it this element of your life too that inspired you to launch a travel blanket woven by Begg & Co for London Craft Week?
Very much so. Since I moved from a small town outside Stockholm in Sweden to Sao Paulo in Brazil with my parents and brother at the age of ten I’ve been a constant explorer. It’s when I’m travelling that I discovered new brands. That’s when you see a brand that you haven’t seen before in the right context, much more so than when visiting trade fairs.
How did the collaboration come about?
We’ve been working with Begg & Co for several years now and our customers love their scarves as much as we do, so it felt like a very natural thing to do something together. Trunk is a lot about travel, so I wanted to make something that would work well as a travel blanket and a scarf, hence we made a travel blanket scarf! Big enough to work as a blanket, but at the same time not too big and also light enough in order to work as a wee scarf.
Your exhibition during LCW 2017 last for the whole week could you let us know a little bit more about what to expect?
We’re creating an exhibition, where you can see all the steps of the creation of the travel scarf, from raw materials and design drawings to the finished product. During this week only we’ll also have all the colours available in Begg & Co’s Kishorn and Wispy, so the shop will be more colourful than usual.
How important is London Craft Week for an independent brand such as Trunk Clothiers and your overall vision as a business?
London Craft Week are doing a great job in putting the spotlight on craftsmanship and all the businesses that support it. Craftsmanship has always been and always will be an important pillar of what we’re about, so the more people out there that care about craftsmanship and know about Trunk the better!
Which other events will you heading to during LCW2017?
Lots of interesting events to go to, so will do my very best to fit in as many as possible. Love what Lyn Harris of Perfumer H does, so I’m look forward to checking out what she’s put together with Postcard Teas. I will also go to Mackintosh and Edward Green to see the making of Mackintosh coats and Edward Green shoes close up. I am also curious to check out the new brands at the Prince’s Trust Tomorrow’s Store.
Trunk Clothiers and Begg & Co are collaborating during London Craft Week 2017, their exhibition will run throughout the week. For more information have a look here