The Scoop: Fast fashion clothes are often on-trend for a season or two before they go out of style, creating a cycle of waste and unsustainable supply chains. But many men would prefer wardrobes full of classic, well-made pieces. That’s the niche that Swedish brand ASKET fills. Those who want to celebrate relationship milestones can buy their partner an always-stylish T-shirt, a pair of chinos, or an upscale hoodie that he may never need to replace. Not only are ASKET’s pieces well-made and timeless, but they’re also produced with transparency and under full accountability, so your partner will know where and how each part of the garment was created.
Swedish clothing company ASKET started in 2015 with a simple white T-shirt made of Egyptian cotton. Its ribbed-neck design won’t fade or warp, no matter how long someone wears it. That T-shirt was the beginning of ASKET’s mission to make long-lasting garments.
ASKET customers also know everything about the creation of their clothing. In addition to cotton milled in Egypt, its signature T-shirt uses Portuguese thread and labels as well as trims made in China. The shirt is also manufactured in Portugal.
The company promises to let customers know as much as possible about what materials used in each product and how it’s made.
“We challenge the ‘made in’ label. ‘Made in China’ only tells part of the story. A lot of the assembly comes from many different places. That helps us interrogate our products,” said August Bard Bringéus, who co-founded ASKET with his business school friend Jakob Dworsky.
ASKET also aims to provide products for men of all sizes. August and Jakob sometimes struggled to find the right fit when choosing clothes for their own wardrobes. Jakob, who is tall and slim, was often caught between too-short mediums and too-boxy larges.
In response, the company developed a 15-tier sizing system instead of the typical five-size version ranging from XS to XL.
“In all our tops, we offer short, regular, and long lengths and in our pants we offer 2 builds (regular and slim) on top of a comprehensive combo of waist and leg sizes. That means every guy can find perfect-fitting clothes,” August said.
These challenges to standard practices make ASKET clothes the perfect gift to celebrate your relationship. Not only will the pieces you buy make your partner look good, but they’re also representative of a partnership’s longevity and durability.
Disrupting the Fashion Industry
August and Jakob aren’t typical fashion moguls. The Swedish duo met in business school, and while considering ideas about the type of company they could start, they took note of the fashion industry’s problems.
“We were frustrated with our wardrobes. Shops would change their styles seasonally, or even weekly. Every time adding unnecessary details. Pockets were added, then removed. New necklines were introduced all the time,” August said.
This kind of so-called “fast fashion” is bad for consumers, and for workers and the planet’s resources . Soon after they buy clothes, consumers often donate them to charity because they’re out of style. Cheap, poorly-made clothing also doesn’t last long, with it fueling a need to shop for new pieces in ever shorter cycles. Simultaneously, clothing production puts a strain on the environment, and the constant demand for new clothing means that supply chains churn out new garments at record speed.
“The consumer relationship with garments has changed over time. Our grandparents would look at quality. When they’d buy a shirt they’d know they’d wear for 10 years or more. Nowadays, people think, ‘I’ll buy an outfit for this vacation and bring it to the charity store three months later,’” August said.
The fashion industry was ready for disruption.
So, the duo started building a company that would shake up standard practices. Many men respond to ASKET’s commitments by purchasing products themselves or requesting its clothes as gifts to celebrate relationship milestones.
“Men want a wardrobe they can rely on every day. Five years down the line, they want their favorite pair of chinos to still be there,” said August.
Offering Staples That Never Go Out of Style
ASKET doesn’t think of itself as a fashion brand. Instead, the menswear company offers 32 unique wardrobe staples that aren’t designed to be trendy. Instead, they are timeless and look as good now as they did in the 1960s.
Looking for the type of button-down someone like John F. Kennedy may have worn, for instance? You can bet that ASKET has something similar in its permanent collection.
Over the five years the company has been in business, it has added only 32 pieces to its permanent collection, and it hasn’t removed a single item.
That means that if someone bought a partner a navy linen button-down for his birthday one year, they can buy him the same shirt in beige for Christmas.
One of the only changes the company makes is the color or wash available. For instance, ASKET recently broadened its denim range by offering light blue and indigo washes. Next, they’ll add washed grey and forever black rinses.
The permanent collection’s limited size also ensures that no one feels compelled to change out their current pieces for something new.
“Every year, we only add three to six key pieces,” August said.
While products in the permanent collection mostly stay the same, ASKET uses customer feedback to make small design improvements. For instance, customers noted that the kangaroo-style pocket on ASKET’s zip-hoodie made it too casual to wear to work. Now, the zip-hoodie has invisible, internal pockets that make it wearable in many different contexts.
If you want to buy your partner an ASKET piece to celebrate your relationship, he can wear it in many different situations.
“You can transition from office to date night,” August said.
ASKET: Products for Men Who Care About Ethical Fashion
Those looking for gifts have several permanent collection categories to choose from. The careful design choices and upscale fiber products mean that whatever someone buys will be a thoughtful, high-quality item.
Also, customers can select each product on the website to view its Traceability Rate, or how much the company knows about the products and processes used in making each piece.
If someone wants to buy their partner a shirt for work or to celebrate a milestone in their relationship, they could purchase an Oxford or denim version. To complete the outfit, they could buy him shorts or Chinos.
More casual choices include T-shirts, long-sleeve T-shirts, and hoodies.
Those celebrating an anniversary in the winter months could also opt for The Merino Sweater or The Merino Wool Polo. Outerwear also includes The Zip Vest, The Car Coat, and The Zip Jacket.
For those who have only been dating a man for a short time and don’t know his sizes, ASKET offers accessories, including socks, belts, a beanie, and a scarf.
“As a Scandinavian brand, many people come to us for our minimalist sensibilities. And, of course, even the most conscious shoppers want to have garment quality they can rely on and look good in,” August said.
Whatever the purchase, customers can be sure that their partners won’t need to replace ASKET clothing for a long time. The company also hopes that a person’s first purchase from the company will make them more conscious of other purchasing decisions.
“We use our clothes as a vehicle to educate people on making better purchasing decisions. If you understand what goes into making the garment, the resources, and the craftsmanship, then we’d both make more considered decisions and take care of our garments for longer. It’s all about restoring the inherent value in the apparel industry,” August said.