To coincide with the release of their latest collection, we sat down with Swedish menswear retailer Très Bien to learn more about their increasingly influential operation, influences and more.
Perhaps the one retailer that accurately captures the current menswear landscape more than anyone else, Très Bien set the mark for today's urban man, carrying everything from Been Trill and Carhartt to A.P.C. and Maison Martin Margiela. At the heart of the operation is brothers Simon and Hannes Hogeman who got together with their childhood friends Björn Lindén and Jakob Törnberg in 2006 in an effort to communicate their unique aesthetic sensibilities. Now with two eponymous collections under their belt alongside several collaborations with neighboring brand Our Legacy under the label WELCOME, Très Bien looks ahead to the future as evidenced by our quick chat with the two brothers. Take a look below and check out Très Bien's comprehensive Fall/Winter 2014 collection.
The spotlight seems to be on Très Bien even more so than usual right now. Do you feel any pressure being at the “forefront” of the new wave of Scandinavian menswear?
Hannes Hogeman: I'm not sure if we're at the forefront. I think we're doing something different that isn't necessarily very Scandinavian. We work on our own thing and getting everything to feel right for us, rather than looking at what other brands and designers are doing. So no, I wouldn't say that we feel any pressure more than the pressure we put on ourselves.
Did a certain Scandinavian aesthetic come through when designing the latest collection?
Hannes Hogeman: We always stay focused on Très Bien and trying to do that as well and as simply possible. I don't feel like we're competing with anyone else here to be honest. But Sweden is a small country, especially when it comes to fashion, so it's of course both fun and inspiring to us when brands like Acne and Our Legacy are successful.
Much has been made of your often-idiosyncratic, mix-n-match approach to high and low fashion. Do you set out each season to design a coherent collection or do you prefer to create a series of standalone items that are interchangeable in a man’s wardrobe?
Simon Hogeman: Très Bien is all about bringing in references to art, music, pop culture and also obviously an element of trend. However, for the first two collections, our ambition has been to refine our aesthetics and to further position what we're about. We've gone back to our key elements such as American sportswear, high fashion, and references to classic streetwear. For the future we will definitely dig deeper into specific themes that inspires us.
Is it tough to keep control of your inspiration? With so many brands and styles in your store, do you end up with a lot of different ideas competing with each other?
Hannes Hogeman: Obviously it's a great advantage to get to meet Dries Van Noten, Raf Simons and other fantastic professionals in this industry. But I wouldn't say we're more inspired by other brands than any other designer out there is. We have a very specific vision.
Would you say your style is the direct product of where you come from or do you feel like you’re channelling the stylistic interests of men across the globe?
Simon Hogeman: We're not shutting out what's happening around us but Très Bien has always been a very personal thing. High fashion, streetwear, various pop culture elements, like certain music etc. has always been our starting point. It was ten years ago and it still is today. Streetwear taking inspiration from high fashion and vice versa wasn't as much of a thing back when we started.
What about Sun Buddies? When are we likely to see new designs in that range?
Hannes Hogeman: For Spring/Summer 2015 the range has doubled in terms of designs. What used to be three shapes is now six and the total number of styles is now above thirty so it's a pretty substantial growth. On top of that we'll be releasing a bunch of fun and interesting projects through the entire season.
You’ve mentioned that Très Bien was founded to provide fashion conscious men with a route into brands that might’ve seemed daunting from the outside. As your fame grows, how do you make sure you don’t become one of those brands yourself?
Hannes Hogeman: I wouldn't say that's our mission, actually I think some people can find us intimidating. There's a lot of references, from time to time the styling maybe is a bit quirky and some garments aren't exactly cheap. I guess we need to be a cool brand but we're definitely not trying to exclude anyone.
Finally, what can we expect from you in the next year? Any plans to expand your retail presence to other locations around the world?
Simon Hogeman: There's a lot of exciting things to come I'd say. New collections, more collaborations and we're also currently looking at a retail space in Stockholm for Fall 2015.
Pick up your favorite piece from Très Bien's Fall/Winter 2014 collection over at Tres-Bien.com.