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Exclusive interview: Tiger of Sweden

Tiger of Sweden is one of the country’s leading fashion labels. Stephen Doig meets its designers

Stephen Doig
Stephen Doig,

Today, Swedish style has a distinctive presence in shopping centres from London to New York, particularly with Cos, Acne and Cheap Monday making waves internationally. Now another sartorial name can be added to this fashion firmamen: Tiger of Sweden. The label has been devised to appeal to the middle market, an area in which Swedish designers excel, and since it was relaunched in the 1990s it has gone from strength to strength.

Hear us roar
The gleaming Tiger of Sweden store in Stockholm’s Jakobsbergsgatan, a street bustling with the city’s stylish young, is quite a contrast to the label’s rustic beginnings. It was in windswept, rural Uddevalla on the west coast that Marcus Schwartzman and Hjalmar Nordström set out to reinvent tailoring in 1903. At a time when men went to a tailor to buy a new suit they decided to take fabrics and measuring tapes to customers. They began producing ready-made suit models that could be fine tuned; one of the earliest of these was named Tiger, and the moniker stuck. Soon the brand began experimenting with innovative cuts, which were slimmer and more streamlined, and tweaking fabric production.

Re-launch rebel
After a quiet period in the 1980s, the label was relaunched by CEO Roger Tjernberg in 1993 with the aim of continuing to rework and reinterpret classic tailoring, or as Tjernberg elegantly put it, ‘taking the suit out of the bank and into the street’. Today the label has stores from Canada to South Africa and is set to open a raft of shops in Asia in 2014.

Much of its current look is masterminded by designers Tine Grandahl and Shena Neville who explain that Tiger of Sweden’s aesthetic is clean, contemporary and tailored. For spring, this is evident in the chalky whites, dove greys and neutral tones of the label’s slick jackets, crisp trench coats and neat plaid trousers and tops (and the occasional kilt for men, for those inclined to be that little bit more daring). The womenswear collection is sharp and has masculine undertones, with sleek suits and jackets over minidresses.

Scandi style
They agree that Scandinavia is unique in its support of fledgling labels and innovative fashion ideas. ‘It’s good at producing new brands that go on to become really successful. The Scandinavian aesthetic also fits perfectly into the minimalist trend.’

Creative cocktail
For the two designers, the city’s striking position is key to their creative process. ‘Since Stockholm comprises many islands, it has a unique character. There’s a special contrast of city and nature.’ In seeking inspiration, the designers tend to head to the cultural hotspots such as Fotografiska, the city’s leading photography gallery, and Moderna Museet. They also mention Stockholm’s archipelago and the remote island of Gotland. One of Tiger of Sweden’s neat, checked jackets and sturdy pairs of boots would be perfect for such an excursion.



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