Brixtols relative short history has been a rollercoaster. After a few tough years things has finally turned around and now Brixtol is aiming high.
Av Henrik Malmberg | Interview
November 2011. Just another Swedish November evening; dark, cold and rainy outside. Inside, Emil Holmstrom and Gustav Kjellander discussing whether it would be a good idea to start a jacket brand. In the hallway, Emils fathers old and well-used wax jacket.
– Both me and Gustav have always been fascinated by jackets. I had my fathers old wax jacket that November evening and right there and then we knew we wanted to make something similar, but still different. We wanted to make wax jackets without the aristocratic and upper class feel to it, we wanted to make it sootier and dirtier.
The inspiration to the more sootier and dirtier look came from a British sub culture, the Mods.
– They studied at universities at day and could beat someone down with a baseball bat at night. It might sound weird but we thought it was a badass combo and that culture has always inspired us.
It’s also from this subculture the name Brixtol comes from. The name is a fusion between two British cities, Bristol and Brixton. Bristol is sort of the capital for Mods and the working class suburb of Brixton is home to both the Clash and legendary David Bowie.
Around the time Emil and Gustav started their brand the wax jackets were a trendy piece of clothing. Something that the duo realized and planned on taking advantage of.
– The demands for wax jacket were huge and we thought we could do our own thing with them. We always believed and have been inspired by brands that just do one thing, and do it really well. We hade the same idea, simply put: we wanted to be good at making jackets.
"They thought we were fools"
"They thought we were fools"
Not a easy task to say the least. Emil and Gustav was since a year and a half running their own agency, Sunday Seven, which hade the brands Havaianas, Superga and Teva under its wings. The duo went to England to get the authenticity right England was the only choice, to search for factories that would be able to make their jackets. But when they arrived at the factories, people laughed at them.
– They thought we were fools. Partly because of the name Brixtol and partly because our logo was half of the Union Jack, but in black and white. It got us doubting about our idea.
Laughed at but not ready to give up. Eventually a organization took on the two Swedes. A umbrella organization which had several local and family owned factories which proved to have a unique story.
– Each and every one of the family owned business that made our jackets hade their own color or pattern on the inner lining. Thanks to that you could see which family hade sewn your jacket. So when the jackets went out to customers we communicated that you take a look at the inner lining and then match it on our website to see which family hade sewn the jacket. That was sort of cool thing to have but what came after wasn’t much fun.
The jackets went from the factories, to the retailers and out to customers but they came back again. The quality was poor, the fittings shifted and the inner lining came loose. The umbrella organization hadn’t been totally honest about these factories. The sold the idea of nice, family owned factory which in the real world were a way back in to society and work for drug addicts and ex-cons.
–The British government put them there in a way to help them adjust to society and finally get a real job again. It’s a great idea but it lead to the quality in our products to shift enormously.
That must have been rough considering how important the first impression with clients and customers are for a new brand.
– It truly was. We panicked, we hade spent so much money and time into this just to see it literally fall apart right in front off you. At the same time we felt like we couldn’t just give up. People we came across along the way said they liked what we were doing so in a sense we felt like we were on to something.
Emil and Gustav swallowed their pride and once again headed for England. Their plan was to over turn the people who hade once laughed at them.
– Since we now had produced a significant volume of jackets at least we had something concrete to show to the factories and say: “this is what we want to do. But better and with your help”.
Something a factory in Birmingham got hooked on and it wasn’t just a factory, it was the factory. The same one that at the time were making everything for Barbour and Belstaff, two legendary brands when it comes to making wax jackets.
– The funny thing about it was that the ones who used to laugh at us are now not only making our jackets for us, we are also their biggest clients.
Today Brixtols jacket are made of the highest quality and also to a great price. Something that has been possible thanks to the agency, Sunday Seven, which Emil and Gustav still are running. The agency works as an investor in Brixtol, the money that the agency makes goes in to Brixtol. The duo has learned by their mistakes and in the future there will never be any short cuts when it comes to quality.
– Brixtol is and always will be a jacket brand and we simply want to make the perfect jackets.
1. In it for the long haul Take care of your clothes. Your clothes and shoes gets a nice vintage feel and gets more personal over time if you take care of them. Buy high quality clothes and good products to help you take care of them. 2. Use your jacket more Dare to use your jacket more then just as a outerwear. For a example a good bomber jacket is a excellent substitut for a blazer. 3. Visit Brixton Go to the old working class suburb Brixton outside of London. It still breathes of the old classic British subcultures. 4. Music tips Listen and learn from our sources of inspiration: The Clash, Joy Division, Agent Side Grinder and the early The Streets. 5. Movie tips. Watch Yorgos Lanthimos movie "Dogtooth".
Founded: 2011 Main office and showroom: Hantverkargatan, 20, Stockholm Employees: 6 Revenue 2014: 1.2 millions USD Known for: Their wax jackets which is inspired by the British subcultures rather then aristocracy. Favorite item: This spring and summer it's their long linen coat. The rest of the year: their wax jackets.
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