How Berg & Berg Is Tailoring Classic Style For The Modern Man
Creative manager Mr Andreas Larsson on the latest menswear brand to arrive on MR PORTER
Creative manager Mr Andreas Larsson, shot in the Berg & Berg office, Stockholm
It started with a pair of socks and a tie. In the early 2000s, Mr Mathias Berg travelled from his home in Oslo to the Pitti Uomo trade fair in Florence and found himself distracted – in the way only a menswear obsessive can be – by the quality of the accessories he saw. So, he bought them, a few ties, a few pairs of socks, with the intention of reselling them online. Skip forward a decade or so and that driving passion for quality has turned into a brand, Berg & Berg, offering a full collection of made-in-Italy tailoring, accessories and casualwear, all of which is designed from a Scandinavian point of view – think slouchy shoulder jackets, lots of seersucker and broad pleated trousers. All of which will be available from the exclusive capsule collection MR PORTER has partnered with Berg & Berg to produce.
Mr Berg now runs the brand with his wife Ms Karin Berg and their Swedish creative manager, Mr Andreas Larsson, from its new headquarters in Stockholm. Mr Larsson, originally planned to be a professional footballer, but decided to study at the Swedish School of Textiles. He then served an apprenticeship with Italy’s oldest textile mill, Vitale Barberis Canonico, which was founded in 1663, before finishing off his studies at Politecnico Di Torino in Biella.
“What I learned in Italy is that fabric is super important,” says Mr Larsson. “The artisans at Loro Piana or Vitale Barberis Canonico, they are the designers in many ways, because the fabric is the base. Even the plainest weave has to have some structure and some life, so they are setting the standard for what I can do later on.”
Berg & Berg is one of a new generation of tailoring companies born almost entirely out of the current menswear age, in which old boundaries and rules have begun to fracture. Not so long ago, provenance used to be as important in tailoring as it is for fine wine. If you wanted a quintessentially British suit – fully canvassed, sharp shoulders and a suppressed waist – you’d head to London’s Savile Row. For its soft-shouldered counterpart, Naples was the place to go. Berg & Berg is no respecter of these orthodoxies.
Today’s tailoring connoisseurs have grown up without the prescriptions of a set dress code. Mr Larsson is a case in point: “We didn’t grow up in this era when you had to dress up. This is a choice for us. We want a blazer, but our blazer. That’s quite big difference. We’ve been able to choose how we dress. In Sweden, we have Spotify and Klarna, technology companies where people dress more casually. People want to dress up too, but in a modern, young way, with classic garments which fit into a modern environment.”
This is where Berg & Berg envisages its place in the modern man’s wardrobe – a way of adding a bit of swagger and glamour to contemporary brands such as A.P.C. or its Scandinavian compatriots including Our Legacy and Acne Studios. It sees value for money as paramount when attracting a new generation to the world of tailoring, too. Thanks to an online-first business model and a network of carefully chosen producers, from niche tailoring manufacturers in Naples to knitwear specialists in Hawick, Scotland, Berg & Berg is able to offer top-notch tailoring at accessible prices.
“One of the great things about being a direct-to-consumer company is that we only release product when it’s ready,” says Mr Larsson. “It might take us two years to get something right.” Other things, he says, take considerably less time: the company’s capsule collection for MR PORTER was negotiated via DM on Instagram. If there were such a thing as a disruptive tailoring start-up, it may well look a lot like Berg & Berg.