Selective Attention caught up with UK based womenswear brand Brøgger to chat with their co-founder and designer Julie Brøgger about how she got started, multicultural design inspirations, the changing definition of luxury and inspiration for tomorrow’s aspiring designers.
Could you tell us a bit about how you got started?
After almost a decade of working for other brands, I had a dream of bringing my own vision to life, but the world never really needs a new fashion brand. I needed that decade of learning and honing my skills before I could circle in on a tangible concept of what I wanted to add to the saturated world of fashion. It started with and is still the main focus, to create a brand that offers women standout pieces that has longevity and desire in equal measures. There is so much talk about about sustainability and the challenges for fashion to live up to any standards in that regard, but to me longevity is where sustainable fashion really excels. I aim to create clothes that will be cherished not only for one season but for many and in a quality that allows that. Like I did from my own mum, the dream is that in the future the Brøgger customer will pass on her Brøgger items to her's. In order to do that people really need to fall in love with the clothes!
From the beginning it has been important to me to be conscious not only about the quality but also the circumstances of manufacturing. Brøgger stays committed to keeping the sourcing and manufacturing within the EU, keeping the supply chain as close to our London base as possible. All our tailoring is made locally in London by specialist manufacturers, and that is a decision based not on pricing vs quality but on supporting what London is best at.
How does being bi-cultural inform Brøgger's design aesthetic?
Danish design and architecture relates to an aesthetic tradition that that builds on functionality and is stripped of unnecessary ornamentation. They beauty is often found in the craftsmanship and an elegant form that seams to be an inevitable consequence of its function. It is a great privilege to grow in a society where design is valued and public buildings are filled with design classics. But it does also create a normative approach to taste that can seem uniform, and London offers a clear juxtaposition to that. London is wilder, colourful and a true melting pot of influences. Working creatively in London taught me the love of florals, colours and that things should be a imperfect, unfinished at times. My favorite London local is an older woman that always wears florals from top to toe, all mixed up and it has nothing to with fashion it is just what she likes. That level of eccentricity is very rare in Scandinavia and exists in abundance in London.
Who is the Brøgger woman?
The Brøgger woman is confident in her choices and want wearability from her clothes but will not compromise on the desirability. She likes to stand out in a crowd and to discover new brands that will add uniqueness to her wardrobe.
Based on your team's design experience, what is today's luxury consumer looking for?
I believe the luxury consumer has changed over that last decade of recession and shift in spending, most luxury consumers focus more on displaying their individual taste and style than their wealth. She doesn't only buy luxury any more but across the categories. It is a consumer that demands much more now than ever before from brands. Shopping smaller independent brands like Brøgger offers that sense of exclusivity and a contrast to the worldwide exposure of big luxury brands, which is attractive to a conscious luxury consumer.
In Asia, the brand is currently stocked in Joyce (Hong Kong), Saisons (Chengdu) and Tom Greyhound (Seoul). Compared to Western markets, what are some key differences in taste or market demand that the team has observed in these cities? What's similar and or different?
The Asian market is of course difficult to describe a one unit, but with the danger of generalization, I think it is a much more explorative luxury consumer than in Europe. One that takes chances with fashion. The before mentioned stores always do very interesting selections. Our bold floral prints can be challenging to some areas of Asia but general we do well across the collection.
Does your team have any advice to offer young designer brands who are interested in expanding their stockists into Asia?
First of all you have to stay true to what your core aesthetic, authenticity is key for a fashion brand in any market.
Be aware that not all shapes and lengths work for an Asian market, so adjust your ranges but always within your brand aesthetic. It is a dangerous path to try to please one market at the price of your identity.