January 18, 2014 by Ville Raivio
VR: Your age and occupation?
MK: I’m 41 years old and am the Founder and Managing Director of Trunk Clothiers.
VR: Your educational background?
MR: Master of Science in Business and Economics from Sweden combined with Fashion Merchandising Management in the US and Hotel Management in Switzerland.
VR: What other hobbies or passions do you have besides apparel?
MK: I love travelling and visiting new places, seeing new things, meeting new people and trying new foods. Most of my inspiration comes from travelling.
VR: How did you first become interested in clothes, and when did you turn your eyes to classic style? Why classics instead of fashion?
MK: I’ve always been interested in nice things – nice architecture, nice scenery, nice objects, nice clothes, nice anything really, so it’s something that has always been there and something that has always been part of who I am. At the same time I’ve always preferred timeless nice things, so my style has always been more classic than fashion.
VR: How have you gathered your knowledge of this area – from books, in-house training, workshops or somewhere else?
MK: I studied fashion at Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, so I got a good basic knowledge of fashion then. Besides that I’ve learnt a lot from working with great people at some of the best clothing makers in the world as well as reading various books and magazines.
VR: How would you describe your own dress? Which RTW makers or tailors do you favour?
MK: I would say my style is smart casual. Many of my favourite brands are available at Trunk, like Boglioli, Caruso, Incotex, Drumohr, Salvatore Piccolo, Alden, Drakes, Gitman Vintage, Camoshita, Mackintosh and many more.
VR: Why did you set up Trunk Clothiers, and what goals did you set for yourself in the beginning? How has the store been received so far?
MK: The first goal was to get the business up and running and hopefully make a profit after three years. I also wanted to prove to myself that I could start my own business. We made a profit already in the first year, so that beat even my wildest expectations and also made me realize that I was capable of starting and running my own business.
Trunk’s aim is to offer a well-edited selection of clothes from across the world, from both new and old brands, smart and casual and at different price points, combined with excellent customer service in a warm and welcoming atmosphere. The store has been very well received by an international audience of well-dressed and successful (but they would never say that themselves) men living in or travelling through London. We have lots of regular customers in London, but also in New York, Stockholm, Sao Paulo and Hong Kong.
VR: There are dozens of menswear stores in London alone – why should my readers visit yours?
MK: There are lots of great menswear shops in London, but I think we’re different when it comes to the well-curated selection and excellent service we offer. It’s less about offering the latest and trendiest thing and more about great pieces of clothing that will only look better over time. The service is warm and friendly.
Also the location in Marylebone makes us a little bit different. It’s a very central part of London that historically hasn’t been seen as a great shopping destination, but that is now all changing. André Balazs (the man behind the Mercer in New York, the Standard in New York, Miami and LA, etc.) is opening his first hotel outside the US right across from Trunk this year, so we’ve got an exciting year ahead of us.
VR: Should we look forward to new ventures from TC in the future?
MK: We just opened our second shop, Trunk LABS, focusing on men’s accessories in June last year, so no further expansion plans for the coming year. We want to focus on the two shops as well as our online shop to make sure we offer the same level of service we’ve become known for even with the higher footfall we expect to see when the hotel opens. Something we are working on is a small Trunk capsule collection of every man’s wardrobe essentials, so hopefully this will be ready for A/W14.
VR: Please describe TC’s own clothing line and the philosophy behind your designs.
MK: We’ve done various pieces of our own since the start, from lovely cashmere sweaters from Scotland, polo shirts and belts from Italy, shoes together with Edward Green in England, bags with Yoshida Porter in Japan, and for this season we’ve made a small collection of jackets. The fabrics were made by Breanish Tweed up in Scotland and also by Fox Brothers in Somerset. They where then shipped to Italy and made into lovely jackets by Caruso who also manufacture for some of the bigger global brands. The philosophy is to make timeless pieces that will look equally good three to five years later. Great design and great fabrics are key.
VR: Who or what inspires you?
MK: I get inspired by things around me all the time, but mostly when I travel as that’s when I get the most new impressions. I can get equally inspired by discovering a new area in London as driving through the rolling hills in Wales or walking through Aoyama in Tokyo.
VR: What is your definition of style?
MK: Style is about knowing who you are and finding the pieces of clothing and brands that are you. One of the most exciting moments you see in the shop is when someone who believes they aren’t interested in clothes comes in and tries something on, and for the first time realizes that this is him. You can see their face light up and they stand up straighter.
VR: Is there something you wish more men would know about dressing well? All tips and thoughts are welcome.
MK: Keep it simple and invest in a few really great jackets, suits, trousers, shirts and shoes that can be combined in lots of different ways, both smart and casual. Makes packing for travels and deciding what to wear in the morning a lot easier.
No person has the same body shape, so spend the extra money needed at a tailor to get the perfect fit for you. That will make you feel great and I can promise that other people will notice as well!
Photos: Trunk Clothiers