July 13, 2013 by Ville Raivio
‘I’m 33 years old and I run the accessories brand Berg&Berg with my wife. I used to work in PR and marketing before entering the world of menswear. I have a degree in business and economics from the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration (NHH). I run Berg&Berg with my wife Karin, she’s the other Berg in Berg&Berg. We have a son together, but no plan to rename the brand Berg&Berg&Berg. We definitely share an enthusiasm for style, and that was one of the reasons why we started the brand together in 2009.
I never really was that extravagant as a kid, besides nagging a bit about getting Ralph Lauren shirts and new Nikes. My brother is quite into clothes as well, and both my parents have always appreciated style, although they are not into fashion or clothing in a big way. I guess I have been encouraged, and never had the hide my interest in style. I love all things visual; art, furniture design, graphic design, watches. I also love to read, particularly American authors — I have a fascination with American history and culture. I also tend to listen to music 24/7.
I guess I have always been more or less interested on clothes, and from an early age loved getting new sneakers and jeans. With regards to classic style, I remember reading Roetzel’s book The Gentleman, which I borrowed from my father-in-law in 2001. The world of Savile Row, Jermyn Street and Italian tailoring fascinated me enormously. About the same time I remember reading a very extensive article about London tailors and shirt makers in Cigar Aficionado magazine (I don’t smoke, so I really don’t know why I read that magazine). I think I read that article 50 times. The following year, Karin and I went to London and as a student I could not afford a Turnbull&Asser shirt. However, I bought a pair of boxer shorts at Harvie&Hudson. The fit was, of course, terrible. That is not to say I’m a tweedy classicist only. I also to some degree follow street wear and fashion, and can appreciate a Real McCoy sweatshirt, an Engineered Garment Parka or the latest Prada runway show as well as classic menswear.
I have mentioned Roetzel’s book and I have also found Alan Flusser’s books valuable reads. The menswear book I think I have enjoyed the most is Styleforum legend Manton’s The Suit. Speaking of Styleforum, I have spent way too many hours on that site, although I’ve never been a very enthusiastic poster. Today I, of course, follow various Tumblrs and blogs and a few magazines. For visual input, the Japanese menswear mags are great. My definition of style: great fit and proportion with interesting but unassuming details. It would be wrong not to say that I’m inspired by the visual overload that is the Internet.
I dress quite simple. I prefer dark colours, navy and grey, and rougher textures. Oxford shirts, solid navy ties. Grey flannel pants, olive cotton pants, raw denim. Cordovan or suede shoes. [Apart from Berg&Berg’s goods,] I think Isaia is a very inspiring brand, and the one jacket I own from them is by far my favourite garment. Their new sister brand Eidos also looks very promising. Caruso is also a fascinating brand. With regards to shoes, I usually prefer Carmina and Alden. I also love buying outerwear, particularly for fall/winter: Mackintosh, Gloverall, Aspesi, Fay, Sealup and Herno are all brands I appreciate.
We launched our brand and web shop in November 2009, at first only as a part-time project of passion — we both still had normal white collar jobs back then. We really wanted to create something real, not only memos and PowerPoint presentations, and after considering a few options, starting an accessories company seemed like the most exciting idea. We travelled to Italy, looked for the best manufacturers and suppliers and the project was born.
To see something you have designed turn out great and then hopefully appreciated by a customer is a great feeling. [We share the load as follows:] Mathias: Product Development, Business Development, Marketing, Branding, PR. Karin: Finance, Business Development, Operations. Berg&Berg could be summed up in two sentences: Classic with a modern Scandinavian point of view. Great value for money. I guess the last answer pretty much sums it up. If you like our point of view on the classics and like getting your money’s worth, Berg&Berg is for you.
I think it’s quite important to understand what looks good on you and what you are comfortable in. If the short, unlined jackets that are popular right now make you look stocky and strange, then perhaps go for something longer and more structured. If tassel loafers make you feel self-conscious, they are perhaps not for you. This is a process that takes time, and everybody will make some mistakes along the way. With regards to shopping, I tend to have “these are the items I need this year” -lists in my head. Then it’s easier not to impulse buy something that looks great, but which I don’t really need. Slightly boring perhaps, but it works.’
Pictures: © Berg&Berg