Ever since it opened its first boutique on Chiltern Street back in 2010, Trunk Clothiers has set a new standard for independent menswear stores, both on the London scene and internationally.
More a refined curator of men’s clothing than your average fashion retailer, Trunk stands out for its accurate selection of brands, balanced style mix, and the warm and sophisticated atmosphere of its boutiques, purposely located away from the most crowded shopping streets
Mats Klingberg, a Sweden-born former financier with a genuine passion for fashion, style, and everything beautiful, is the talented guy behind this enterprise. We talked to him to learn more about his background, the genesis of the Trunk concept and the recently launched Trunk Clothiers boutique in Zürich.
SJ: How and why did you get into the fashion retail business? Tell us a bit about your love for fashion and when it was born.
MK: I’ve loved beautiful things as long as I can remember - beautiful buildings, interiors, art, views, and of course also clothing. My mother’s father was always very well dressed and I don’t remember seeing him many times without wearing a tie, so I think he influenced me quite a lot although I didn’t realise it at the time.
T-shirts and polo shirts was one of my earlier passions and when I lived in Brazil as a ten year old I remember having lots of Ocean Pacific t-shirts and Lacoste polo shirts. After that I moved on to sweaters and I still today tend to have way many more sweaters than I need.
When I was in Business School in Sweden several of my friends that I got to know when I lived in Paris just before starting business school were studying fashion in New York, so I decided to spend one semester in New York studying fashion merchandising management at FIT.
After business school I worked briefly at Nordiska Kompaniet, the main department store in Stockholm and then for Giorgio Armani before venturing in to financial services and various marketing and communication roles. I then ended up in London with American Express in Global marketing looking after all the fashion brands like Louis Vuitton, Giorgio Armani, Ermenegildo Zegna, Gucci, Prada, Burberry, Dunhill, Ralph Lauren, etc. etc.
After five years at American Express, I thought it was time to try something on my own. While there was no shortage of menswear shops in London I thought there was room for something smaller and more intimate, where the man I had in mind would be able to find a nice mix of clothes from different parts of the world, smart to casual, in a shop that was a bit away from the main shopping streets and that felt warm and welcoming. Trunk was born with lots of inspiration being take from primarily Japan and Italy.
SJ: What is it that distinguishes Trunk London from the local independent menswear stores and how did you come up with that formula?
MK: There are quite a few good independent menswear stores in London and what I think (and hope our customers agree with) sets Trunk apart is our excellent customer service, warm and welcoming atmosphere and selection of clothes ranging from casual to smart. This is what I thought was missing in London and therefore want Trunk to be all about.
SJ: You recently expanded from London to the world, including Lane Crawford in Hong Kong. Why did you choose Zürich as your latest location?
MK: With Lane Crawford we took our first baby steps outside London, so it’s very exciting to now be opening our first standalone shop outside London in Zürich. I used to live and study in Switzerland many years ago, so it feels a bit like coming home. People from all over the world live in Zurich, so while it’s a very different city from London, there a many similar minded people living here.
SJ: Can you tell us about the new Zürich store and the vibe of the area you selected for Trunk?
MK: Like Marylebone in London, we want to go with a quieter area that felt more residential than retail. Wanted it to be a destination. Seefeld is right next to the lake and has always been one of my favourite areas and ticked all the boxes of what I was looking for.
SJ: What do you personally love about Zürich?
MK: Zürich and London are both very international, beautiful and dynamic cities when it comes to the people living there and what’s on offer in terms of restaurants, retail and more. Lots of people still think of Zürich as a city full of banks only, but this is far from true. Lake Zürich is at the heart of it all (if you ask me) and then up and around it you have different areas similar to the areas you have in London. Kreis 1 in Zürich is similar to Mayfair in London, Kreis 4 is similar to Shoreditch and Kreis 8, where Seefeld and Trunk are in Zürich, are similar to Marylebone where Trunk is in London.
What I particularly love about Zürich is the ease of travelling in and out of the city, the closeness to nature, the good restaurants and the lake! Can’t think of a nicer way to start the day than going for a run and then jumping in the lake.