Hi Alex, tell us more about Dr. Denim and your role as co-founder.
Dr. Denim has a pretty forward looking and contemporary expression pertaining to our Scandinavian and minimalistic take on denim, and we try to develop the perfect styles and designs based on our own vision of what good denim should be. We're 11 years old now, completely family owned and operated, and the brand is basically like your very good friend. We're quite a social brand too, so we aim to be approachable, instead of attaching ourselves onto an unreachable pedestal.
As a family owned business, what are some advantages of such a dynamic? Also, which family members are involved?
My father, brother and I run the company. This way, we can focus on doing what we believe in, since there are no external board members or shareholders. Sometimes, we make decisions that are best for the brand and they're not necessarily the best from a business point of view, but we don't always have to worry about that. Doing it together with people you know well is great because you have complete trust in each other.
Out of all fabric staples, why denim?
There are a couple of reasons for this. Denim is more than just a fabric, and has always been closely related to popular culture and social changes, so it represents something more than just clothing. The other thing is, denim has a kind of personality very few other fabrics can deliver because of its indigo dye, various treatments and the way it ages. Denim has a lot to offer right there. It covers a lot of ground so we love it for the creative space it gives.
Describe to us who the Dr. Denim consumer is.
That's an interesting question, because we generally say we're there for anyone who has an interest in contemporary culture and design. But we're also very accessible, so we're inclusive rather than exclusive when describing ourselves as a brand. For us, it's very important that anyone who feels they can wear our styles should do so. We don't want to exclude anyone, and even though our core consumers usually belong to those in their 20s with a liking for pop or indie culture, we think it's equally okay for someone who's in their 50s to wear it.
After slightly more than a decade, how has Dr. Denim evolved as compared to its beginnings in the early 2000s?
It's been an incredible journey. We started out with just the three of us doing everything, but now we have around 32 people in our headquarters and have grown into an amazing organisation. We also have our own e-commerce site and two flagship stores in Sweden, so we've really gone from designing small collections to a complete lifestyle brand with retail environments.
How does Dr. Denim stay current despite changes in trends and consumers' needs?
There is a lot you can do with denim and if you look at what we put into our collections, even though people know us for our skinny denims, we do a lot of cropped flares and all types of silhouettes. For every collection we have something called "Denim Expressions", our way of using denim on traditional styles like dresses or caps, placing denim where it's not usually used. Also, there are countless wash treatments you can do, so if you combine that with the various silhouettes you could explore, there is indeed a lot you can do with the fabric.
Online stores seem to be garnering more traffic than their brick and mortar counterparts. What's your take on this?
I think we're only seeing the beginning of this. I think going forward, there will be a lot more people buying through their cellphones and people are going to want to be fed with new items on the go. If you look back, historically we've done four collections a year, but I think we've sort of abandoned that and now deliver new content all the time, because people expect it whenever they open their phones. Also, people are starting to have higher and higher expectations of fast deliveries and simple returns. In the past, you order something and receive it one or two days later, but now we're seeing immediate deliveries made within two hours. I think that's becoming popular because people want to consume things more instantaneously, without even having to step out, so I think that's another thing we'll see.
Personally though, which do you prefer operating and why?
A bit of both actually. In a way, e-commerce makes us accessible in so many territories we otherwise wouldn't be able to cover, but I think physical stores still have something to offer. Last year we built two stores, and we spent so much time on the interior details. There's just something about sitting down and looking at all these materials and surfaces. It still does a lot in conveying what a brand is all about, so I don't see brick and mortar stores going away.
Any exciting plans for Dr. Denim in the near future?
We're going to be focusing very much on ‘90s inspired design, especially the late ‘90s. We think that's very different from the mid and early ‘90's, and we'll be taking a sort of grungy look and mixing that up with some flares. There's also a very big question about sustainability and a large part of our Autumn styles for 2016 are going be made of organic cotton. We're quite an affordable brand, so at our price point it's a lot more challenging to do sustainable fabrics, but we're putting a lot of research into that, finding ways of going in the sustainable direction yet still staying affordable.
Dr. Denim is available at drdenimjeans.com and at Actually, orchardgateway, #03-18, Tel: 6735 3118