Every once in a while, you come across a company that just gets it. Their products are amazing, their service is top notch and at the same time they run their business totally different than the traditional business do. For me ASKET is a stellar example of a company that gets it.
I am fascinated how ASKET is changing the retail business, with their radical transparency, their focus on sustainability and co-creation with their customers and finally really giving substance to the word meaningful essentials. I’m therefore extremely happy that August Bard-Brigéus, co-founder of ASKET made some time available to gives us some extra insights into ASKET.
Q&A with August Bard-Brigéus, co-founder ASKET
Hi August, can you tell us what made you decide to start ASKET?
Timeless basics are the essentials of every man’s wardrobe. Yet my co-founder Jakob and I found it so hard to find something as simple as a plain white t-shirt or a blue oxford shirt because brands changed their style and fit every season. Instead we found, unnecessary details, tasteless colours, overpaying for “quality” or paying too little for garments of dubious origin. We saw an opportunity to move away from fashion’s seasonal churn and introduce a permanent collection of mindfully produced, quality and timeless garments – designed to last.
What is ASKET biggest design influence?
The permanence of our collection remains our guiding principle. It influences every aspect of the design process; from deciding what qualifies as a wardrobe essential, to selecting the most durable and quality materials as well as creating timeless designs that won’t fall out of fashion. In terms of style icons, we look to the Steve McQueens and Alain Delons of the world; their casual sensibilities would look as comfortable on the cover of GQ now as they did 60 years ago.
ASKET is big on transparency and sustainability, what is the big driver behind this philosophy?
Something as simple as white T-shirt demands acres of land, drinks 2700L of water, emits 2kg of CO2 and requires over an hour of craftmanship. Despite all this, people routinely pay €5 for a T-shirt. In our mind that simply didn’t add up. What we realized is that, in a bid to make more money, the industry had fallen into a negative spiral of selling more stuff, to more people, at lower prices. And all at the expense of planet and people. In that moment we decided we didn’t want to add to the fashion industry, we wanted to change it. All our practices aim to restore value in the supply chain and better the relationship people have with their garments.
If we could do one thing differently when we started ASKET, I would…
never rush anything, ever again. In 2015, following our T-shirt launch, we couldn’t wait to add our next wardrobe staple to the collection; The Sweater. We spent months developing a beautiful custom knit and prototyping different designs. Young and eager we were so keen to get it out that we didn’t give the final control phase enough time – something we’d never to today. As a consequence, the production run had some serious defects, we had to cancel it and re-call the product already out there. Not a great comeback. Now we do a mini-production run and extended wear phases for all new product. And ‘good things take time’ has since become a core belief at ASKET.
A lot of people have the ambition to start a fashion brand, what would be your number one tip?
Be naïve! We’re not fashion insiders which means we were not beholden to the industry status quo and were able to bring a fresh perspective to the table; launching online only, introducing a permanent collection and radical transparency. The fashion industry’s business model hasn’t changed for years and is ripe for some fresh thinking. But be prepared to roll with the punches and surprises that you can’t be prepared for.
What can we expect from ASKET in 2019?
2019 is our most exciting year yet. Our permanent collection will grow from 20 to 25 garments, as we introduce some more wardrobe essentials over fall – I’ll leave you guessing as to what exactly but let’s just say they’re a welcome addition in time for the colder winter months. To boot our Merino Wool Collection will be 100% traceable, so you’ll be able to track your sweater back to the wool off the sheep’s back.
Men’s fashion should be (finish the sentence)
What is one item every man should have in his closet?
No wardrobe is complete without a quality white T-shirt. One that lasts 5 years, not 5 washes.
What is the biggest fashion no-no?
If you can give one key style tip, what would it be?
Trends come and go,deep V-necks,bucket hats,crocs (shudder). Avoid trends, you’ll only wear them one time and they’ll only clutter your wardrobe.
What do you use Instagram for?
Connecting with fans and involving them in our journey to 100% traceability.
How has Instagram impacted ASKET?
As a digital native Instagram has been key in generating word of mouth. If someone genuinely likes our products and takes to sharing it on social media, others will listen – we’ve connected with many new customers this way.
What is your point of view on Influencer marketing?
It’s a great platform for story-telling and while it’s getting crowded out there,sincere and fresh content still has the ability to move people.
What would be your number one Instagram tip as a brand?
Transparency – meaningful, lasting relationships are based on a strong degree of trust, rooted in honesty.
Name three Instagram accounts that inspire you:
I hope you all enjoyed the Q&A with August from ASKET and be sure to give @ASKET a follow on Instagram to stay tuned for new releases and their continuous pursuit to full transparency! If you enjoyed this article, you might also like the Q&A with Artisan Lab or a sweet and short grooming regime to keep your skin young forever 😉
All photo’s courtesy of @Koiztra & @ASKET