Essential Style: Interview with David Altow and Marco Tomasi of Strellson

Posted December 15, 2015 at 10:57 am in Fashion, Features, Interviews


Strellson SS3A Strellson look from their AW15 collection

SWISS brand Strellson has made a name for itself over the past 30 years for its elegant menswear. Founded in 1984, Strellson was created by former Hugo Boss owners Uwe and Jochen Holy. They had a vision to design stylish, structural menswear that was classic yet fashion forward. As the brand enters its fourth decade, it is undergoing healthy and interesting growth. In 2016, the brand plans to deepen its presence in the United States, including being newly stocked at Saks 5th Avenue at Tysons Galleria in Washington, DC.

We caught up with David Altow, Strellson’s Fashion Director, and Marco Tomasi, the Strellson Creative Director, during the opening event for this new location to get more insight into their creative inspiration.

Strellson SS4David Altow, Strellson’s Fashion Director

David Altow

What defines the Strellson brand? What sets a Strellson consumer apart from others?
Clarity. If we had to sum it all up in one word, it would be that one. From the cut of our suits, the air in Kreuzlingen on Lake Constance up to the way we work. Clarity is what we strive for, what we exemplify, in things both simple and complex. It is difficult to achieve, but it is no coincidence. It comes from values. From work. From attitude. We are Strellson. We come from Switzerland. We create fashion for men who go their own way.

The Strellson consumer is not so different from others. He insists on high quality garments that speak to his lifestyle. Clothes that he can “live” in whether formal or casual.

The world of menswear has evolved a lot – quite positively – over the past few years. What is your take on the current state of men’s fashion around the world? What further work is there still to do from an industry perspective?
Men’s fashion has attained a level of sophistication and functionality not seen in many years. Men, both young and old, are far more informed about fashion now compared to the past. Globally, men’s fashion designers and manufacturers are able to anticipate, assess and address the trends in their markets and, equally as important, the trends in foreign markets as well.

With the importance of ecommerce and social media I believe the industry as a whole needs to continue finding new, relevant ways to reach the consumer. Advertisements, now more than ever, must get the brand message across to the consumer clearly so the consumer immediately knows what the brand stands for and why it is right for that consumer’s lifestyle.

Strellson SS1A Strellson look from their AW15 collection

Washington, DC is very excited to have Strellson now so close. What is it about the DC market and the male shopper that works for the Strellson brand?
I had the pleasure of meeting many shoppers at the Saks Fifth Avenue Tyson’s II location in McLean, VA and each had different needs and wants when it comes to fashion. I consider them to be a good cross section of our target demographic in the DC, MD and VA market. Whether they are looking for casual apparel or want to step up their tailored wardrobe, Strellson was able to address their needs. Yes, the DC male shopper and market work for Strellson but, more importantly, Strellson works for them!

Who/what are your favorite designers or brands?
I admire many designers in different areas of fashion. I admire the way they create their signature looks and how innovation and continuity are so important to the DNA of their brands.

On a personal level, from whom do you take inspiration?
I have been fortunate to know and work with some very talented and inspirational people. Professionally, I am inspired by our Creative Director, Marco Tomasi. He has a very logical and meaningful way of designing and presenting fashion. Personally, I take inspiration from my family. How my children handle the challenges and triumphs of everyday life is enough to inspire anyone!

Strellson SS2Marco Tomasi, Strellson Creative Director,

Marco Tomasi

How you keep innovating the Strellson aesthetic? Is it a challenge to keep designs modern and a little edgy while still allowing for the functionality required from a man’s wardrobe?
Every season we start by focusing on the core of the Strellson brand and by putting it under close scrutiny. To us, continuity means evolution and innovation. It’s our duty to devote ourselves to the design and development of the future. To evoke a man’s need, he didn’t know he had in the first place.

This can be a balancing act, but our history has shown that many of those ideas, considered to be “over the edge”, are now an essential component of the Strellson collection.

What is the main vision behind the Strellson AW15 collection?
The Strellson collection for AW2015 is dedicated to the topic “Conjunction“. It stands for fashion being a unifying element in many areas of social development, and on the other hand, social development being an influential factor in fashion as well.

by Jessica Quillin

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