In a douchebag filled industry of tired 30-something-year-olds making clown costumes for impressionable kids, it is easy to get down on streetwear, but Greger Hagelin, WESCâ€™s founder, is certainly not a douchebag. In fact, heâ€™s kind of sort of popular. He hangs out with Will Farrell.
Perhaps, itâ€™s WESCâ€™s European roots that make it fashion-forward, but probably not. Hagelin has his shit together and heâ€™s old enough to not be caught in a whirlwind of all-over print trends or collaborations out the ying-yang.
But really, We Are the Superlative Conspiracy, Greger, thatâ€™s kind of geeky. Fuck it, they make nice clothing, Greger is cool and he knows Will Farrell.
â€œOur industry is packed with some of the most creative people on the planet and for this reason it will always be evolving.â€
Format: Does WESC consider itself streetwear?
Greger Hagelin: WESC is street-fashion. Each collection is a blend of streetwear and fashion, which has always been our purpose. Before we started we felt streetwear was too limited, and we wanted to bring something that would go beyond those barriers. At the time, everything was T-shirts, hoodies and bad denim. We wanted to fill that gap and to get more people- men and women- interested in streetwear. So when we talk about the kind of brand we are we have always said Street-Fashion. â€œStreetâ€ because WESC is wearable and classic and because of our brand identity and roots. â€œFashionâ€ because we do things differently, the way we feel they should be done. Each WESC collection carries a unique interpretation of seasonal trends, resulting in a distinct WESC style.
Format: The Internet blog makes awareness of street fashion skyrocket, compared to the time when word of mouth or physically seeing the product, spread awareness. What are the pros and cons in street fashion being cataloged by third party blogs?
GH: Blogs do a great job of getting information going quickly, and the people behind blogs work hard to stay on top of things. People literally depend on blogs for the latest and greatest information and a good blog does just that. We have a great relationship with a lot of blogs and definitely value the contribution they make to street-fashion and art.
Format: Bootlegging and counterfeiting are an increasing problem for street fashion companies. How does WESC protect itself from bootlegging and counterfeiting?
GH: This is actually something we are very devoted to. We take a lot of care to prevent people from counterfeiting WESC and we take every precaution to make sure it doesnâ€™t happen. We have the best people and even some lawyers to protect the integrity of our brand, so we take this very seriously. As a team, we work extremely hard to be as creative as possible and we cannot accept someone taking that dedication away from us by knocking us off. In Good we trust!
Format: WESC’s main office is in Stockholm, Sweden. Often, cities influence a company’s vision. How does Stockholm influence WESC?
GH: Stockholm is a beautiful place, with long seasons – mainly winter – and a lot of time to think and breed creativity. Itâ€™s also a very international city with people constantly coming and going, so there is always a global fusion of art and style. Most young Swedes get out and see the world and we want WESC to always fit in with that lifestyle – a lifestyle that is ambitious in experience. Things take on a life of their own in Sweden and then they go out and take on the world.
Format: Celebrities play a large role in brand recognition. If WESC could choose any celebrity to floss its gear, what celebrity would WESC choose and why?
GH: We never ask anyone to wear WESC, but weâ€™re always happy when someone weâ€™re a fan of turns up wearing something, especially when that person is leading their life in a punk-rock, intelligent sort of way. When you have the courage to do what you want and not what youâ€™re told, especially in a place like Hollywood, thatâ€™s when youâ€™re a leader in fashion, art, music, anything. Those are the sorts of people we love to see finding our collection, famous or not.
Format: What qualities does WESC look for in its retailers?
GH: We look for retailers that are progressive and forward when it comes to style, and smart and articulate when it comes to business. We have very close and long-term relationships with many of our retailers. They become WeActivists in a way. They help us grow and we help them grow!
Format: WESC is an acronym for We Are the Superlative Conspiracy. What exactly is a “superlative conspiracy?”
GH: Our Superlative Conspiracy is a group of good, talented and like-minded people doing great things together. We have so many friends doing outstanding things. Thatâ€™s why we say Superlative! We say Conspiracy because we all work together, and our way is not for everyone, but it could be!
GH: Format: WESC has several activists, including Jason Lee, Pase Rock and Stretch Armstrong. In what ways are these people activists for WESC?
All of the Weactivists are doing something that we believe in and want to support. Jason Lee is a life-long skateboarder and artist that continues to pursue new things that his life brings to him and that he works for, like acting, for example. Jason really embodies our â€œlife after skateâ€ philosophy. Skateboarding will always be where we came from, but it is not where we stop. Pase and Stretch are both great musicians that are probably the best wing-men you can have at a party! They breathe life into things and are extremely good at what they do, but they are also strong enough to be humble and continue to grow and take on new things. When they have something great that they want to do, we try to help them, to activate them. This allows them to activate us, and there you have the very roots of the Superlative Conspiracy!
Format: The brew-ha-ha of street fashion companies that have emerged within the last 18 months, instinctively herd themselves to MAGIC Trade Show and alike. In your opinion, are trade shows too congested to objectively establish relations with retailers?
GH: Tradeshows are important to our business, but they are not the foundation of the relationships that we establish with retailers. Our reps are on the road and within reach. Weâ€™re at the tradeshows, because it is a convenient place to see many people at once and weâ€™re in the stores and working closely with buyers and consumers because itâ€™s good for business!
Format: WESC has several storefronts in Europe, Asia and America. What makes the WESC concept stores a unique shopping experience?
GH: We donâ€™t look to people and go â€œHummm? What are they doing and how can we do it too?â€ We look within ourselves and our company and go â€œwhat do we want to bring to people that know one else does?â€ When WESC began it was to fill a gap in the market. There were other streetwear companies, other skate companies, but there was nothing out there that represented our lifestyle so accurately, so we did it ourselves. A WESC store is a place where you will find great fashion clothes, influenced by the most creative thing on earth- life! No two WESC stores are the same. Some sell skate decks, some sell sneakers, some are located next to some of the most high-end stores in the world! We never limit our brand to what we can do or where we can go. We let other people do that to themselves! WESC can be worn by all sorts of different people. In our stores- aside from the latest WESC collection- the biggest consistency you will find is friendly people with all the inâ€™s to the hottest, clubs, artists, and shows in town and racks full of exclusive designs and best denim on the planet!
Format: WESC was established in 2000. What changes has WESC noticed in its industry since its creation?
GH: Our industry is packed with some of the most creative people on the planet and for this reason it will always be evolving. Our industry is based on change and progression. Its part of the culture!
Format: Clothing brand collaborations are increasingly popular and becoming commonplace. What characteristics does WESC look for in the brands it collaborates with?
GH: We always look for brands with outstanding ideas that can become a reality when we team up together. A good collaboration must be a seamless merging of two distinct identities that will ebb and flow together. Our Crayfish shoes with Adidas, for example. Adidas brought that classic sneaker feel that only Adidas can, and WESC coupled it with the unpredictable style that our customers expect from us. All collaborations should be something that only we can do together. It must feel very WESC, but achieve something that could only be accomplished with the partnership of the unique outside force!
More Info: http://www.wesc.com