Launched in 2015 as an online-only D2C brand, ASKET are opening their first physical retail store today, at Norrmalmstorg 1 in central Stockholm. Since its inception, ASKET has been charting a course as a slow fashion leader, using their online presence to spearhead unprecedented transparency and accountability, in the fashion industry - and now the brand wants to bring this same approach to physical retail.
“To slow down consumption, we need people to start understanding and appreciating what they buy,” shares co-founder August Bard-Bringéus, “so we see the store as an opportunity to offer an immersive and transparent experience, beyond what we’ve been able to offer online.” ASKET works hard to communicate the inherent value of their garments online, with transparent pricing, supply chain transparency, factory insights as well as the impact receipt. Yet the brand believes that nothing quite conveys the value of a garment better than getting tactile with it. In launching their first physical retail space ASKET are inviting anyone to join the journey of their garments, from raw material, to manufacturing, use and repair.
The store will have an unambiguous focus on sharing the garments manufacturing process, fibre and material quality - beyond just facts and figures.The space is designed to encourage people to get hands-on not only with the finished garments, but with their components: greasy wool, recycled PET insulation or raw Corozo nuts used for buttons. With a lounge area and fitting rooms that encourages dwell time ASKET is encouraging considered purchasing decisions - or not purchasing at all. And there won’t be any obvious sales registers, a subtle reminder that the ASKET Store isn’t a place for overconsumption.
Working with architects Specific Generic the design vision for the space was to keep the store uncomplicated, transparent and honest - just like ASKET and its garments. “Our team wanted the store to be a physical embodiment of the brand and let the garments speak for themselves,“ explains Andreas Bozarth Fornell, Founder and Creative Director at Specific Generic, “so relentless perfectionism, respectfulness towards resources and understated aesthetics where the starting point of the project.”
The 116sqm space is organised around the permanent collection of garments, with purpose built, locally produced ash wood shelving at a contrast with a rough concrete floor and exposed ceiling. A space bathing in natural light, the lounge and fitting room area has been tucked away behind stainless steel panels to create a feeling of intimacy and conversation that lends itself well for customers to receive personal fittings.
In a time where many retailers are dialing back on physical retail space and the pandemic has further laid bare the serious failings of the global fashion system, ASKET’s business model, resolute focus on running a mindfully-driven growth, has come into its own. The team, now 14 full timers, believe there is economy in going slow - including when it comes to physical retail. “There’s still great opportunity in brick-and-mortar if done right,” adds Bard-Bringeus, “we want to remind customers that they should be more intentional about their purchasing decisions.” Just as the brands construction hoarding stated: Fast is a thing of the past, and slow is here to last.