Fall is the perfect time to open a store for Norwegian clothing brand SWIMS. The weather has turned, the sky is grey and the ground is wet; what more could you want for a flagship store opening in the heart of Oslo, for a brand built around water? I sat down with SWIMS’ founder Alex Eskeland, to discuss the new store opening, Oslo, sustainability and water, ofcourse.
“Our aim was to design a space where the shoes and apparel share the spotlight, and to generate an atmosphere that makes customers want to come back over and over again.” – Alex Eskeland, SWIMS Founder
What does Oslo mean to SWIMS?
Oslo is the city where it all began. Even though we are a global brand today, we are incredibly proud of our Nordic heritage and Oslo was the natural destination for our very first brand store.
What does water mean to you?
SWIMS started with Galoshes (a waterproof overshoe, typically made of rubber) in 2006 to protect the shoes from rainy days, but the brand has since then evolved into a brand that is about reinventing classics that are smart, weather-friendly and infused with utility – for the modern man.
What was it like working with Haptic Architects to create the concept store?
We were thrilled to partner up with Haptic. Not only are they an award winning architecture firm, but they are Oslo-based, and most importantly they share similar brand values with us, focusing on craftsmanship, elegance and quality.
“…we always strive to create smart solutions for our customers.”
What 3 words come to mind when you look at the store?
Elegance, calm and inviting.
When creating the store’s concept, what were the two most important materials for you to incorporate?
Wood to add a dimension of a subtle organic material that links back to our Scandinavian roots, and LED-lit aluminium frames around the mannequins to represent the precision and modern technology used in the production of our products.
The new store is a beautiful space, that brings together all the aspects of the SWIMS brand – What do you want people to experience when they visit the store?
Our aim was to design a space where the shoes and apparel share the spotlight, and to generate an atmosphere that makes customers want to come back over and over again. We also used this opportunity to memorialise the thousands of orange SWIMS galoshes which proudly walk around the world today.
“We’re very dedicated to building an aspect of versatility into all our products, so that our customers can mix and match…”
How do you think the physical store will change how people see SWIMS?
I think the store will improve the understanding of the brand; how we always strive to create smart solutions for our customers. The store also reinforces our brand values, as I really feel we succeeded with an inviting and unpretentious environment that still shows the minimalistic elegance that the brand stands for.
The motion country boots are a beautiful piece of footwear design, perfect for the colder weather. What’s your favourite feature of the boots, and what colour-way would you produce them in for Spring?
My favorite is the brown as I like how the different materials create an interesting and elegant look for a very versatile boot. I don’t think this particular style would translate well into Spring due to its’ rugged outsole and waterproof materials. For Spring we focus on lighter styles and we do have a very interesting Chukka translation for Spring in a knitted nylon material.
The level of sustainability and longevity at SWIMS is very impressive, why is this such an important part of your story?
Our customers expect this from a modern smart brand like SWIMS. We’re very dedicated to building an aspect of versatility into all our products, so that our customers can mix and match, and thereby use our products throughout the week as well as being just as relevant on the weekends.
What two words would you use to describe a SWIMS Winter?
Motion and Motion.
You can visit SWIMS’ brand new store at Prinsensgate 25, Oslo and shop their FW18 collection online.
For more prime Scandinavian fashion design, take at look at COS’ FW18 campaign >>>
Tags: Alex Eskeland, interview, new store opening, oslo, SWIMS
Sophia is our Editor-in-Chief and Creative Director. She works as a freelance photographer and graphic designer, and is based in Reykjavík, Iceland.
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