Anders Arsenius had over 20 years of experience in the fashion business when he decided to start his own label. One thing was clear from the start: this was not supposed to be an ordinary fashion brand, working with seasonal collections and global trends. Arsenius wanted to found something that he could really stand for, something that was as interesting and relevant for the customer as it was for the person creating it. And out of that idea came AAr Senius, “a label that is conceptual for not having a concept”.
AAr Senius is built on the idea to take classic garments and then manufacture them in the best possible way, without compromising anywhere during the process. Similar statements have admittedly been made before, by other industry actors. But AAr Senius takes things one step further by looking into every single element of the production, from fabric and thread to design, detailing and distribution, and then handle all aspects of the procedure in a way that is both as sustainable as possible – and still results in cutting edge design at the end.
The label just launched its first series of 10 garments, which is currently available at Nordiska Kompaniet in Stockholm. And it is a “series” of garments, not a collection. “A series is something that lasts [ contrary to a collection]”, Arsenius explains. And one important aspect of AAr Senius is to work in a long-term perspective, by creating clothes that are as relevant and look as good in 10 years’ time as they do today. To ensure this, both choice of material and design have been meticulously researched and investigated, before presenting anything to the market.
The textile used for the AAr Senius series 001 is a premium merino wool blend, all in black, and it was actually the choice of fabric that got to determinate what garments to include in the series. “I wanted to use a natural material and wool is then a wonderful option. The next step was to find out what garments and styles that were possible to make out of it”, says Arsenius, who spent around three years only on finding the optimal wool quality for his project.
Merino wool is a very functional and comfortable fabric, which has the ability to regulate body temperature and therefore is perfect for active wear. The garments in AAr Senius first series are all in a superior, avant garde streetwear design, with advanced, organic performance features and hence equally apt for a workout as for your everyday cool outfit. The functionality has, by the way, been tested by Arsenius himself, until the material turned out to be ideal also for physical activity. “I want people to be surprised when they see and feel the garments – like ‘how can this be produced in a sustainable way, and out of wool?’”, Arsenius says about the result of his efforts.
All while the garments are timeless and made to last, Arsenius is keen to point out that they at the same time are very “now”. The levels of technique and quality used during the production are the highest possible that are available today, and these particular garments could for instance not have been produced two years ago, as there has been a lot of technical development since then.
Arsenius explains that the now-factor will continue to be an important part of the AAr Senius brand. One year from now, the textile production methods will probably be even more advanced than they are at present. And, as soon as he sees an opportunity to improve any part of the manufacturing process, to make it more environmental friendly or in any one way improve the end product, he will do so with a “performance upgrade”. This way he ensures to continuously produce the best possible version of each garment. “It is a very exciting way to work, and a research process that never ends”, Arsenius says excitedly.
Arsenius clearly has chosen a rather untypical path for his brand and it includes every possible aspect of the production. From materials and details, where everything is manufactured directly for the AAr Senius label, and never bought “off the stock shelf”, to production volumes, where the orders are produced only after being confirmed by the respective retailers. So as not to have superflu stock sitting on the shelf. This way of working is possible only due to the existing high level of control of the manufacturing process, and, importantly, the close and mutual collaboration between AAr Senius and its valued partners.
Having the right allies is indeed a key factor for the AAr Senius kind of concept. And Arsenius spends a lot of time researching suppliers, factories and dressmakers, to find the finest in each area – and then learn from them how to make the best possible garments. “Our partners are carefully selected, the same way that every other facet of the brand is. And I am incredibly happy and thankful about each and everyone’s participation in this venture“, says Arsenius. He then continues by explaining how he often receives tips about potential collaborations on the way: “small, genuine businesses that are located at remote Alpine peaks, or similar. Very fun and very interesting to follow up!”.
The next step for AAr Senius is now to find suitable vendors to distribute the products. Even here Arsenius works in a, for the apparel industry, quite unusual way, handpicking the shops where he wants the series to appear. The profile of the retailer is just as important to him as the quality of the product. Meanwhile he is already looking for ways to upgrade the current series, to AAr Senius 002.
“I am probably a bit of a rebel in the fashion business. I look more at what is behind the production, at things that other brands might not take in consideration. That way I avoid traditional features and best before dates on my garments”, Arsenius concludes before we wrap up the interview.
And probably, that is just what fashion needs. More rebels. But for the right reasons. And using the right methods.
Interview by Johanna Bergström