A Hidden Gem
The beauty of visiting trade shows is that you can stumble across a few gems; the type of brands that look the part on the surface but when sitting amongst countless others, all vying for conversations with buying teams from across the globe, can quickly be overlooked.
At Ape we’re fortunate enough to be able to hold a different type of conversation – one that focuses on the company and its people, to unearth stories that make us want to sit up and take notice. This January, in freezing cold temperatures at Pitti Uomo, we got talking to Stenströms… and they made us do exactly that.
In The Beginning
Hailing from the harbour town of Helsingborg, Sweden, founder August Stenström started life selling elegant and fine shirts from a small shop on the town’s main street in 1899. The products quickly garnered acclaim from visiting ship captains, who went off to spread the word.
120 years later, Stenströms remains a solid brand – still independently owned under the guidance of the Bengtsson family and owner Anders – but perhaps more impressive has been its ability to evolve, increasing reach and turnover year-on-year in particularly tough market conditions.
The Here And Now
This year’s showcase was actually Stenströms first at Pitti, giving us a chance to see the quality of the clothing up-close and personal. The range didn’t disappoint. The detailing is refined, subtle and understated, which speaks volumes for the brand as it goes about its business without a huge fanfare.
“Being independently owned has allowed us the freedom to adapt and to be flexible,” says menswear creative director Peter Jüriado. “We have the freedom to experiment and proactively challenge what we do, and that keeps us all motivated.”
Testament to his statement is the fact that Stenströms’ staff is extremely loyal to the company – Jüriado himself has been part of the team for more than 25 years. Jüriado can also lay claim to having a considerable affect on the success of the menswear business, with sales having increased considerably since his tenure began some 10 years ago.
“I was focused on the structure of our shirting and adapting wearability and the options around it,” says Jüriado. “Again, being able to have flexibility and the ability to source the best fabrics from around the world speaks volumes about the Stenströms approach – it’s real craftsmanship and it shows.”
The spring/summer 2019 collection sees an eclectic range of well-fitting linen and fine-cotton shirting, set against warm-weather knitwear, blazers, lightweight safari jackets and accessories across a varied, complementary colour palette – all perfectly packaged and ready to go, which makes for a refreshing change.
“Efficiency is at the heart of Stenströms,” adds Jüriado. “It is an extremely important factor to our business. We are respectful and reliable to our partners and to the people trying to achieve great things for our brand,” he adds.