The Swedish Suits Men Live By
LONDON — Saman Amel and Dag Granath, founders of the Stockholm-based tailoring brand Saman Amel, have been friends since they were 9 years old.
“He was already articulate about wanting to have a couture house; back then he wanted to make womenswear, but that shifted later and there has never been an alternative. This is his entire world and it really has become my world as well,” Granath told WWD while sitting in one of the elegantly interiored rooms of 5 Carlos Place, the London townhouse of luxury retailer Matches.
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The brand has collaborated with Matches on an exclusive capsule collection featuring 21 pieces starting from 440 pounds to 3,685 pounds, featuring silk canvas jackets, cashmere-blend sweaters, linen trousers, cotton-poplin shirts and denim jeans in earthy tones that vary among creamy whites, coffee brown, charcoal black, with one exception: baby blue.
Saman Amel was officially launched in 2015 as a bespoke tailoring business, where Amel serves as creative director and the numbers guy; meanwhile Granath oversees operations, strategy, communications and client care.
“Five years ago, the client was first and foremost, slightly older. It’s predominantly guys, but there’s quite a few women as well. He was a little bit older, quite informed about bespoke and craftsmanship, but coming to us to have something which is a little bit softer, but a navy jacket and gray trousers are still the base,” said Granath, sitting in a charcoal notch lapel silk canvas jacket and cashmere-blend T-shirt with matching trousers, accessorized with a black and gold belt that coordinated with his Cartier Tank Louis watch and gold wedding band.
“We’ve really seen a shift where, first and foremost, thoughtful consumption and sustainability has become such a prevalent thing in people’s lives. This has been incredibly important for us because a couple of years ago, you really had to explain why handmade jackets cost a certain price. Now, we really don’t need to explain that to the same extent,” he added.
The casualification of the workplace for the white collar sector has rapidly increased the number of clients who are coming in asking to look “put together and elegant, but not formal,” said Granath.
However, on the flip side of the business, women and younger people from creative industries are entering through the door, such as artists and writers, who are now exploring tailoring for the first time.
“They [women] definitely do not want things that are made for them with a feminine touch. They want things that are masculine and when you’re working with a man, it’s nice to be able to bring some femininity into what you do, that’s really what makes it interesting and sexy. When you’re working with a woman, it’s nice to bring out the masculine parts of the things you make — a lot of women’s tailoring has small lapels, super small pockets and light fabrics,” said Granath.
Seventy percent of Saman Amel’s clients are internationally based. Sweden makes up about 30 percent of the business.
Trunk shows in New York have become an instant hit for the brand with clients coming in from all over the U.S.
“I honestly think when Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate activist, became an international phenomenon, that really moved a lot of clients in our direction because people were becoming more interested in craftsmanship,” said Granath.
As Granath went onto college to study literature and economics, Amel took the route of going to Italy to start conversations with suppliers.
The company now consists of a team of six, but growth is on the horizon.
“The biggest challenge in a company like ours, which is so based around personal interactions and relationships that we have with our clients and with our community, is building the team and hiring people quickly, which is a really bad idea,” explained Granath, pointing out that the last hire was a year and a half ago, their youngest client at 19 years old, who had been getting fitted for Saman Amel suits for almost five years.
Granath and Amel own the business with no outside investors involved.
“I’m not saying that’s the way it’s going to be forever and a lot of our clients definitely have the financial ability to become investors. We have a lot of people that are showing interest, but I think independence and being true to what you do is something that brings joy into our lives. I don’t want to get that energy compromised,” said Granath.
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