So, you’re the founder and creative director of Grand Frank. When did you start the business and what inspired you to do so?
I was working in a corporate environment in New Zealand, having to wear a suit every day. My co-workers and I were all wearing black or grey suits, blue or white shirts, navy ties, and it just felt really restrictive. It was more like the company’s uniform than my own clothes so I didn’t feel like myself. I enjoyed dressing formally and wearing a suit each day, but what I was wearing did not reflect who I was as an individual or my personallity.
So two years ago I launched Grand Frank. It took six months of research, designing and looking for the right suppliers before I was finished with the first collection and the website could go live. Looking back I was quite naive. I returned to Sweden on the 9th of May 2014, with the site scheduled to launch on the 10th. I thought it would be fine as I’d have a whole day to set up the online store, shoot the products and write their descriptions. I was up all night…
What aspect of running your own company do you enjoy the most and what do you find the most challenging?
I love the feeling that the possibilities are endless and our rebellious state of mind. We can create anything we believe in, I really enjoy that sense of creative freedom. There are two things that really stand out as the most challenging. One is that as we grow, and hire staff, we can never forget why we started. The core of Grand Frank is to encourage creativity, that has nothing to do with numbers or sale projections. Try telling that to a CFO, haha. The other challenge is the constant need to make everything better, to continually improve the products, and to refine our offering. Even when the feedback is great, we have to look for ways to improve the next collection and not become complacent.
You’ve said previously that Grand Frank isn’t a fashion brand, so how do you decide the direction of the designs and do you follow trends?
That’s right, whilst we work in the fashion industry, we’re not what I’d consider a fashion brand. I do not believe in fashion, I can’t relate to that concept. I think fashion, trends or “season musts” causes unnecessary stress in our lives. I believe what is right to wear, how to have your haircut or what to buy is highly individual and should not be decided by any business. I want our designs to be appropriate for many years and challenge what we’ve been told about clothing.
Our job is to connect with people that share our vision, and all those individuals have had a fundamental influence on the growth of the brand and our cause.
What item in the Grand Frank collection are you most proud of creating and why?
Until now the first shirt we produced, the Toulouse floral, has stood out for me. It was the first full garment I ever created and inspired the subsequent range. We try to be really cautious about not to create something just for the sake of it. For the past year we’ve been working on our new suit collection with our partner Vitale Barberis Canonico in Italy who produce our great fabrics. It’s been a challenging process but I’m very proud of the result and really look forward to the respons from our customers.
How do you get dressed in the morning? How do you decide what to wear?
It really depends on how I feel and what I have scheduled for the day, that dictates the level of formality of my outfit. I usually choose a specific item I want to wear and build an outfit around it.
Who or what inspires you style wise?
I like the mixture of flair and formality of Italian men. Luca Rubidnnaci’s style and personality stands out, the confidence with which he wears colour and pattern. In terms of designing clothes, I can be inspired by a texture or pattern, working from some small detail and building around that to come up with a finished garment or accessory.