"Since the release of 'Love me Do', I don't think any country has influenced the Swedish pop-cultural scene more than Britain, especially within the fashion and music scene," says David Thunmarker, CEO of Tiger of Sweden.
The brand's menswear, which is a market leader on home turf, has taken over a large area of Selfridges in London for a temporary pop-up to mark its first year in the department store.
"The British recognise themselves in a way in Swedish fashion, and I think especially in Tiger. As a tailoring brand in many ways we are anglophiles, Savile Row and the British gentleman you have to love, and style-wise the Mods and the skinheads scene and icons such as David Bowie and Paul Weller. There's a never-ending list of what we love about Britain."
Founded in 1903 near Gothenbery, the Tiger brand has been built around the principle of offering a "modern, sharp and accessible" look. "The ethos of the brand combines the perfect fit with interesting materials and designs," explains Thunmarker. "We put a lot of effort in to creating the perfect cut to achieve that beloved Tiger fit, it's really what we're about. The music scene, and the British, has always been a big design inspiration for us."
"It's great to look back on the customer response we've had in a relatively short time," says Adam Kelly, buying manager of Selfridges. "The success of the collections is definitely attributable to the fact that the cut comes first – contemporary tailoring is a category which is growing for us all the time, and Tiger has quickly become one of the cornerstones of that offering."
"We are very proud of our history and we still talk about our founders back in 1903. Their spirit is very much still alive in the company – the sense of entrepreneurship, to always challenge. It also gives us access to the best fabric mills in the world because we have been doing business with them for generations. But you have to be careful so you don't get stuck in your history; we live by a simple strategy: we are constantly moving forward."
For this season, designers looked at the DJ and club scene in Stockholm and Berlin for inspiration, which manifests as dark, minimalist pieces with dandy touches such as paisley pocket squares, fedora hats and square tortoiseshell glasses. Skinny leather trousers may be a bit outré for most shoppers, but well-cut tailored separates, heavy woollen jackets and casual jersey pieces are sure to please most. "Our mantra is 'what would we wear?', says Thunmarker. "There is definitely a fundamental appreciation for tailoring, and though most people regard it as something stiff and old school, for us it's more about fit, about accentuating the body."
The approach is very egalitarian: "We decided we wanted to take the tailored look out of the bank and into the streets, give it a twist and make a fashion statement. For us the suit is very rock'*'roll. It's something you can wear to work, to the bar across the street, or even to the nightclub and still look sharp. We make 24/7 suits for 24/7 men, but we're not what you could call a peacock brand. We don't design fashion that is in your face. We enjoy subtlety and I think that appeals to a lot of men."
As well as ready-to-wear, the company also offers a made-to-order service: "It's always been a part of the company, going back to the time when we had our own factory in Uddevalla on the Swedish west coast," says Thunmarker. "We want to offer suits you fall in love with and don't just wear at work, weddings or funerals. Made-to-order gives the consumer the possibility to create something special"