Tuesday, 10 August 2010

M/M Interview with Gregor Thissen, CEO of Scabal

Image of Gregor Thissen provided for exclusive use. All rights reserved.

This exclusive interview with Gregor Thissen, CEO of Scabal, was conducted by Nicola Linza and Cristoffer Neljesjö in Stockholm August 2010

Scabal was founded in 1938, how has the brand developed during these 72 years, what has happened?

Scabal has grown from 5 employees in 1946 (the official date incorporation) to todays 600 people that work for the group. From being a cloth merchant catering to local tailors, we have taken the company to becoming a designer and producer of finest men's fabrics and men's clothing, with and international followership stretching over the 5 continents today. Not only are we recognised as a leader in the field of innovative luxury fabrics but also renowned for our impeccable service in customized clothing. So one could say that the last 72 years have seen quite an evolution in the size of the business, it's international spread and in the recognition of Scabal as a brand.

Describe Scabal in three words.

Quite difficult to pick just three in view of the multitude of products and activities that we have. If I was to really restrict it to three I would probably pick: "
craftsmanship ", "international" and "personal"

How would you describe your personal style?

I guess that my personal style would be in line with this. I like to dress quite classically, plain or semi-plain suits with white or light blue shirts as a basis. I like to add little touches through accessories like ties and "pochettes", but never too loud. Definitely I would put elegance and sophistication before fashion but like to keep track of tendencies and interpret them in my personal way. I make a point of wearing clothes adapted to the season. A cotton, linen or mohair suit for summer and flannel or heavier wool suit for winter.

What is more important how the suit fits or the quality of the fabric?

One should not compromise on either. Obviously being the CEO of a leading fabric
producer I would say th at the quality of the fabric is paramount and I will even say this by personal conviction. I believe that the fit is crucial at a level that most people would tend to underestimate. Your clothing has to fit your personality. The best suit, made out of the most fantastic fabric will not leave a lasting impression unless it is designed and chosen in line with the wearers character .

We are in an era of fast change in both trends and technology, in light of this what direction do you have in line for Scabal?

In terms of trends we are seing a strong casualisation of general clothing culture. This is seen by many as a danger to our industry. I feel differently about that. Whether clothing is casual or more formal is secondary to the question of elegance, quality and style. Our collection in fabrics and clothing will cater to the formal and to casual world alike, so casualisation is a trend that we embrace without any problem and sure enough you can alreay see the next turn of events around the corner.

From a technology point of view one definitely has to think about the online-world.
The internet has transformed our lives profoundly. Obviously we are impacted on many levels, like the need for online-ordering tools, internet marketing and information management in the world of Facebook and Twitter. But the most important opportunity and challenge lies in the transparency that the internet creates for the consumer. Most of our potential clients of tomorrow are and will be very interested in product origins, compositions, real benefits and they will want to able to associate with brands that are transparent and genuine in their message. At Scabal we have the authentic side well covered since it has always been part of our DNA, we now need to work on ways to communicate the content in a timely and efficient way.

How important is timelessness to the aesthetic of line?

Well, as you can deduct from the previous answers we are not fashion avangardists, so timelessness is an essential part of our product and design philosophy. Obviously you cannot and should not completely ignore trends but we feel that the principles of elegance and sophistication remain and therefore should always be part of our image.

It is 1970 and we are meeting in Rome for a private party hosted by Luchino Visconti. What are you wearing? In addition, whom do you want to meet?

In 1970 I was 8 years old
, so... I would probably have worn a dark colored cotton suit. I would have liked to meet Claudia Cardinale for obvious reasons and Giancarlo Gianini because he is a great actor.

The above interview with Gregor Thissen 2010 © Manner of Man Magazine/Welldressed. All rights reserved. Reproduction is strictly prohibited without written permission from the publisher.