In a market where exclusivity and innovation are proclaimed daily, true attention to detail can be something that is a lot harder to find in the fashion market. Trousers London product screams innovation, true exclusivity and also possibly exemplifies that special quality of attention to detail. With strong links to the world of architecture, a can-do attitude that defies the difficulties of breaking into the fashion world, and product that isn’t out of place next to Vivienne Westwood, and Karl Lagerfeld, Trousers London are making waves across the world. Four creatives with no previous industry links, Latvian pride and some English spirit, an un-heard of mix, out of which one of the most exciting and progressive denim labels around has risen.
The name “Trousers London” at first glance may sound quite specific to trousers, but we do not view this as a barrier, we view the word “Trousers” more as an expression of “wearing the Trousers” meaning “being in charge.”
Format: Please introduce yourself, and what your role is at Trousers London.
Arturs: My Name is Arturs and Iâ€™m one of the directors and founders of the Trousers London brand. I mainly deal with production and design issues, but being in a small company means that we all get to do everything, all of us get to design just as much as sell and promote.
Format: What are the varied professional backgrounds of the team and how have these professional backgrounds shaped the brand?
Arturs: We come from the fields of Architecture, Advertising, Business, Design and Social Media Marketing, the diversity of the team and collaboration of skills has definitely been our strength and helped in our progress.
The diverse backgrounds of the team were fundamental in the early development of the Trousers London brand. We have been largely self-sufficient in our creativity, thereâ€™s rarely anything that we need to outsource and if we do, it is through a collaboration and sharing of skills. This allows us to be more in control and enjoy the creative aspects of the business, so everything from the logo to photography to stitching is exactly how we imagined it to be. Architecture as a mode of 3D design influenced the birth of our design-lead denim brand. The brand has a strong web-presence and brand identity, which was made possible by the Advertising and Social Media Marketing background of the founders. The team consists of Me and Angel â€“ both architecturally trained, Kaspar a media specialist and Marek whoâ€™s in advertising. The first three are based in London and are currently the main â€˜â€™back-boneâ€™â€™ of the brand. As we are not from the conventional schools of fashion, we have our own self-taught approach to the process of fashion design, marketing and promotion, which allows us to have a distinct, balanced and original approach, reflecting the progressive nature of the brand.
Format:How did you guys meet, and end up coming to the decision that you could or should start a denim label?
Arturs: Angel is my wife and Kaspar and Marek are old friends. Being designers by nature we always viewed clothing with a critical eye. The decision to start a denim label came about when the guys found it increasingly difficult to purchase denim that suited their tastes and we all began discussing, â€œwhat if we made our own jeans?â€. We mulled it over for a while and scribbled down our ideas then decided, why not! We booked our first Trade Show space and this deadline set the wheels in motion.
Format:Were there any other ideas on the table, or was it always denim? And if so why.
Arturs: Denim was always the focus and interest of our little group. We knew there were other, less challenging, options but we never wavered from our original inspiration. Jeans were the item of clothing we wore more than anything else in our wardrobes, we really love our denim and it would be really exciting if we could wear our own. Jeans for us were the new Trousers, and hence the name was born.
Format:What are the challenges of marketing a solely denim based line?
Arturs: Presenting ourselves at a level which can compete with the established names in premium denim and creating consumer confidence in a new brand. Also, competing with the heritage denim brands and creating our own unique brand story. However, there are benefits from being focused on one specific product. We are able to explore patterns, fits, materials and production in a greater depth and the focus on denim prevents the designs becoming diluted resulting in a higher quality product and expertise.
Format: Do you think there is any chance of limiting yourselves? What if you wanted to expand in the future, and move on from just doing trousers?
Arturs: We do not think we are limiting ourselves. Currently the focus is to create a specialism in high-quality, directional men’s denim. From here we see that we can grow initially toward associated accessories such as belts and bags and from there to other garments. We perceive this growth as organic and a natural progression rather than a false and forced expansion. The name “Trousers London” at first glance may sound quite specific to trousers, but we do not view this as a barrier, we view the word “Trousers” more as an expression of “wearing the Trousers” meaning “being in charge”.
Format: Would this kind of move challenge your integrity?
Arturs: Any growth of the brand to encompass other garments and accessories would be conducted with the same attention to design, detail, quality and sustainability as the denim collections we produce. However, we would like Trousers London to be known for their distinctive denim as the core of the brand.
Format: Are there certain countries where the brand is stronger, and have you seen this change since the early stages of the brand?
Arturs: The Japanese market is always ahead of the times, and as a pioneering brand, Trousers London is no exception to the rule. Our largest market is still the country of the rising Sun and also the many fun and funky people found elsewhere in the World, sometimes in the most unexpected of places.
Also, the UK market is starting to recognize Trousers London as a serious player in premium denim with the recently added stockists in London. This year we plan to expand our presence beyond London thanks to the growing interest from buyers across the country.
Format: Where do you see yourselves sitting in the vast denim market, and why is your production and the brand unique?
Arturs: There is a unique combination of people, ideas and experiences that are the foundations we are building upon. The aesthetics and 3D proportions of our designs are largely influenced by architectural design methods and our branding is a reflection of tradition and our origins.
The brand is unique in the way we are producing limited edition batches of jeans, each individually numbered with a view to creating a community from the wearers of TL. The approach to denim is as a collectable artwork of one-offs or limited edition runs. Trousers London is a premium brand with a sustainable outlook. We use only Organic denim for our jeans and production is carried out within the EU hence supporting the European economy and its fair working practices. Many European producers are having to fold due to fierce competition from the Asian countries and that is a real shame. Transparency in the supply chain is becoming a deciding factor for consumers.
Although higher prices may reflect our choice to manufacture closer to home, we believe that for the discerning customer, the quality and good conscience represented by a garment â€œmade in Italyâ€ using organic materials outweighs the money saved by purchasing a mass-produced item churned out of the sweatshops in the Third World. As a relatively new premium denim brand we believe that having a sustainable outlook should be a foundation and not an afterthought when building a brand. However, we believe that â€œdesignâ€ should lead the way and endeavour to subtly recreate a garment that has become a staple in society and in doing this we make our statement and take a baby step towards seeing the world through fresh eyes and not taking the small things for granted.
Format: With these presumably slightly costly morales, how are you moving forward in a climate dominated by recession?
Arturs: Recession is like a season, which passes and then returns with a vengeance about the time when youâ€™ve forgotten how it was the time before. I think brands who develop in these tough times are forced to be more cautious and calculated in their approach but as the economy regains momentum, as it eventually will, those brands emerge stronger, more stable than before and well equipped to withstand any subsequent recession. As a new premium brand, we are risk-takers in these times and ask those who follow us to do the same. We view the brand as a leader in the denim market and see that a direct consequence of risk is progress.
Format: Where do you see yourselves in 2 years time?
IArturs: tend to be more interested in where we see ourselves right now in the present. I constantly look at the brand and recognise all the areas that need to be enhanced, what needs to be added or taken away. We all clearly know the position we want Trousers London to be in, whether it will take a year, two or more is not always up to us to decide. But as long as we keep up with those day-to-day improvements and donâ€™t forget the ultimate aim, itâ€™s as if we were already there.
Format: And finally, where can we purchase Trousers London?
Arturs: TL can be purchased from us directly on our online store www.trouserslondon.co.uk/shop – Here we offer one-off styles that are not currently available elsewhere, so it is always the best place to purchase our jeans, unless you have one of our stockists near by.
Our current list of stockists is available at www.trouserslondon.co.uk/where-to-buy, these are an expanding collection of high-end boutiques in Japan, UK and elsewhere.