In today’s interview, I speak with Andreas Weinås the executive editor from the Swedish menswear online magazine manolo.se. Just last year he was voted as the as being one of the 10 most rakish men by Rake Japan, which is basically their way of saying best-dressed men in the world.
Andreas is going to share his approach to style and what he learned over the years. Welcome, Andreas!
Andreas Weinås: Thank you so much. A pleasure to be with you!
Sven Raphael Schneider: Wonderful! Andreas, you are how old?
AW: Thirty, this year actually, in September.
SRS: Wonderful. I read about you that you went to a textile college and that you got a degree in textile and business and you also used to be a professional handball player, is that right?
AW: Yeah, that is quite the contrast, to be honest but my life was pretty much professional handball for around 15 years and then slowly but steady, my interest and my passion for menswear and clothing took more and more time and handball is not paying like football or ice hockey in Sweden even if you’re playing at that professional level.
SRS: So it was difficult to make a living at handball, basically. I think you discovered the world of men’s style at a later age or not later age, you were like early 20s, is that right?
AW: Exactly! I think the early 20s, as a lot of other guys, started off with trends and more fashion, I think I got a little bit of being punk rocker one season and the preppy guy the next. For me that was, I realized that I’m not extremely classic, but the more classic look tended to have a longer period before it changes.
SRS: That’s very true but you mentioned punk and preppy, was that really the way you dressed?
AW: Not really. Sure, it could be like a bomber jacket one season that I thought was so nice and then I mean, to me the preppy trend was extreme. I think it was 2007, 2008, something like that. I respect the trend because the history of the look, it has genuine parts but when everyone’s wearing a bow tie and roll up jeans then it kind of loses it’s…
SRS: Yes, it lacks the individualism and everybody wears one style, it’s no style basically. You came from professional sports then you kind of developed this interest in style and how did you end up in textile school then?
AW: Yes, my options were either studying business and economics normally in Gothenburg and then I found this in Buras actually, outside Gothenburg where pretty much the textile mecca Sweden was back in the 60s or 70s. I was perfect and of course, you’re not learning about bespoke suits, you’re learning about fabrics that are more used in today’s.. in H&M and Zara…
SRS: It’s a large scale production, right? When you start, you think “Oh, there are all these nice suits and everything” but then you realize “Oh, we’re talking about the weaves of white cotton and how you can reduce the price and still maintain the certain level of quality so it’s less romantic than what you may think…
AW: Yes, I learned a lot.
SRS: So, you mentioned Manolo. tell us about Manolo. What is Manolo?
AW: Well, Manolo is in Sweden. The largest menswear site, style guide focusing on quality craftsmanship and classic style with a modern take, so to speak.
SRS: And it’s written in Swedish only, is that right?
AW: 100% Swedish.
SRS: Okay, so how many visitors do you attract per month?
AW: We have around 25 to 30,000 a week and a little over 50,000 a month.
SRS: That’s fantastic. Especially considering how many people live in Sweden?
AW: I think 9 million, perhaps.
SRS: So the market is rather limited compared to English, it’s much smaller.
AW: I’m the executive editor so I am responsible for the budget, our freelance writers and for the actual, for the everyday count, pretty much of the site.
SRS: Wow, so did you start at that position at Manolo or how did you work your way there?
AW: Yeah, after I graduated from school, I was contacted by the publisher called Egmont which is I think, one of the top three publishers in Sweden and they own King magazine in Sweden and Manolo which is the sister or brother site to King with a more sartorial focus. Manolo is only online but King magazine is a print. I was offered a full-time editorship of Manolo and also 20%, I divide my time 80% on Manolo and 20% on King magazine.
SRS: Okay, wonderful! You’re already eluded to it but what would you say are the core values of Manolo compared to King?
AW: Definitely a little bit more dressed up but it’s not 100% suit and tie. It’s about quality over quantity, I would say. To go in-depth about construction and fabric and consistency and sustainability, that you could buy something actually for the years to come, for use over 10-15 years instead of 10-15 months.
SRS: Exactly, I think the impact you mentioned, sustainability, right? It’s not very environmentally friendly to grow cotton even if it’s organic. It just uses a lot of resources. the dyeing is not really friendly. You can wear something 15 years rather than15 months, you have gotten so much for value and you didn’t waste all that water and the dye, like 12 different pieces but just one.
AW: I agree!
SRS: Even though I don’t speak Swedish, I sometimes go to Manolo and just use the translate function to see what’s going on and your most popular post, in my opinion, is probably the “Friday Inspiration“…
AW: It’s been a tradition at Manolo for way before I started in 2013. My predecessor started it, I think in 2007 or something so every Friday for I think it’s 10 years. it’s a cool thing.
SRS: It’s really great and Probably I’m sure your readers love it so I was wondering, so how do you determine what to feature every Friday? How long does it take you? Do you just create 10 outfits every like, 10 weeks or just do it on Thursday night, how does that come together?
AW: That depends. It could be both actually, during certain periods, you could get super inspired and do 2-3 of them on the same day pretty much but it could also be done very much in the last second if you’re not inspired for the moment. Yeah, I try to focus on everything from, it could be just something like a color or a decade.
SRS: So, now I’d like to talk a little bit more about your style. I think you have a very interesting style and it’s going through your Instagram profile, I would sum it up as classic, re-interpreted. You take classic colors, you take classic garments and you try to go with like a dark orange, burgundy, a bottle green but then in terms of cut, you like a very slim cut pair of trousers, not too long, no break necessarily and soft, softer garments. How would you describe your style?
AW: I think you are pretty much spot on but that is correct. I think a big problem when you have to choose between either being a conservative, classical menswear or you have to be a sprezzatura or a trend menswear. I think you can be inspired from the benefits of a cut of bespoke suits because that craft is pretty much perfected over centuries but I still think that you could combine that with personal and even modern influences. I think that’s what personal style is all about. Influenced by modern trends, and you decide yourself which ones are relevant for you, even with classic rules to dressing, I mean some of them really make a good point and some of them are completely useless.
SRS: For example, give us some specifics.
AW: Well, I mean, wearing white after labor day. I think, that personally, the only reason why I would wear white is because it would be a really rainy day outside or it doesn’t matter if it’s summer or winter. With a crisp, sunny, winter
day, I would love to wear white trousers, maybe not linen because it’s too cold…
SRS: A nice pair of flannels, right?
AW: Exactly! Brown shoes after 6, that’s just, I mean obvious, I think. I love black shoes and I think there are some situations where a black shoe is absolutely the best choice so I mean, know the rules but still question them and question the relevance for you, I think.
SRS: Another thing about your style and I think stands out, is your beard. For how many months have you been a beards man?
AW: At least 10 years now, I think or more. Since I was able to grow one. I don’t know why but at first, I think I looked too young without them so I started to have it and then the big beard trend came to the world then everyone was saying “Oh, don’t you know that trend is over?” and I was like, yeah, that’s great, now I can keep my beard.
SRS: Like you said, you had it for 10 years, that was before the kind of hipster, urban, beards man trend came out.
AW: It’s been shorter, it’s been longer, depending on time and preference. For the wedding, I actually got a clean shave.
SRS: Nice, that’s interesting because you have the beard all the time and you just shave it off.. were you surprised when you shaved it off, how you look?
AW: Yes, yes, absolutely! I was 8 years younger. (laughs)
SRS: And your wife didn’t recognize you? Has she seen you without a beard before?
SRS: Alright, before you mentioned, you had more than 15 suits so I was wondering you know, looking at all of them, what are the most worn pieces in your wardrobe?
AW: I would say, I have a blue Attolini suit in a bird’s eye weave. That is a made to measure, that is the pinnacle of my wardrobe, I love it!
SRS: There can be gems in other places but you have to kind of, I guess you have to understand quality, right? What I, at the Gentleman’s Gazette and Fort Belvedere, we always try to say “Hey, it’s quality and style” and if you know those two things, you can see it even if there’s no brand name on it. It’s just that little craftsman somewhere but if you see it you’re like, “oh wow, this is good”.
AW: Yeah, that’s true!
SRS: So, how important is quality in your life?
AW: Quality, I think, it’s the combination of the garment.. they key is quality over quantity, every time but on the other hand, as I said before, the quality doesn’t matter at all if the aesthetics are not there because then you won’t use it and then the quality won’t be appreciated.
SRS: Where would you say do you buy your clothes? You mentioned a few tailors but what about your shirts and your other things, what are brands or things that you would like to mention here?
AW: Some people are very keen on having shirts made to measure or with the highest possible quality, shirts is actually one of the products that I would consider at a little lower price range because it’s basically, you wear them frequently next to your body, it has to be washed and I’ve had some problematic experience with really fine shirts that have shrunk to the extent that they are not, you know, they’re too short to be worn with the jackets that you want to wear them with. Sleeve length was 2 cm off so, I mean, it’s still a great shirt but doesn’t happen with jackets so I’d rather spend a little bit more on the perfect fit for the jacket and perhaps, I’m not saying, I’m not buying, I would never buy shirts with a bad quality but if I had to prioritize, I would go for jackets and shoes as the premium.
SRS: So, what shoe brands do you go for?
AW: Well, the best ones, in my opinion, are St. Crispin’s. That’s mainly because I have a formation problem with my feet, it’s not a big problem but I fall in, so to speak, when I walk and they have, in my opinion, the best arch support for a non-bespoke shoe and they are really expensive but the style, the materials, the construction and arch support is, in my opinion, unrivaled for their price range.
SRS: Exactly. So, the other thing I wanted to mention about shirts was what I have noticed, sometimes, there’s a trend now to hand sewn shirts, everything is hand made and while I can appreciate the craftsmanship quality in a machine sometimes, when you wash it, the machine sewn seam is actually sturdier than a hand sewn seam. The hand sewn may be nicer, more flexible on a jacket, that’s really great but on a shirt sometimes, I feel like the machine stitching can be superior to hand stitching.
AW: I agree with you. I think hand stitching in many cases with shirts is more of a marketing gimmick.
SRS: I think I prefer the machine buttonhole on the shirt simply because it’s going to last longer. On a jacket, I always go for the handmade buttonholes.
AW: Same here, I think the handmade details on the jacket except for buttonholes but then it’s really a good point of using hand labor because there are so many parts of making a jacket that really gets better made by hand. Everything from pressing the jacket to shoulders and not to mention the canvas. I mean there’s a reason why bespoke tailors hand pat the canvas instead of a machine.
SRS: So, what are your style pet peeves?
AW: I did like an article about this a couple weeks back on Manolo. My ten commandments, like how I think. It’s not bad if people are doing it wrong or if they break these, it’s just my personal opinion.
SRS: When they come meet you at the Manolo events, they should read this list beforehand.
AW: Exactly! (laughs) I never wear lighter tie than the shirt, that is something I just don’t, I really don’t like that.I can’t motivate why I think it’s just that the tie really stick out in a bad way if it’s lighter than the shirt collar.It can be lighter than the jacket but not lighter than the shirt.
SRS: Okay, alright so that’s one of them. What about the other nine?
AW: I have to remember them but I think, I tend to, I don’t want too much contrast in my outfit unless I’m wearing a dark suit and a white tie is appropriate. If I wear odd trousers, I like for example, to wear, if I have a mid-grey trouser I like the jacket, no matter which color, it should not bee too dark or too light. It should be a complement, the same tone.
SRS: Interesting! That’s also a personal thing, if you’re more of a high contrast or low contrast, low contrast will work better for you and if you are, like I have more, I can wear probably higher contrast better than you can but it seems like it’s a personal thing. You don’t go with the really charcoal and crisp white shirt, I rarely see you wearing that.
AW: Not that often and I still think that if there’s a dress code that says formal suit or something, then, of course, I mean, I always try to wear at least one pattern in my outfit, it doesn’t have to be bold but it could be, if I have a pinstripe suit then I could have a plain shirt and a plain tie but not a plain suit, plain tie and plain jacket because I like something to pop.
SRS: The difference between a vintage watch and a new watch and why do you prefer the vintage?
AW: I like vintage watches because every single one has developed their own character. Especially from the 60s and 70s, there’s not one that looks like another. Everyone has developed in different ways and I think that’s superb. I think also, there’s something about, you cannot just go out and buy it, I mean, with a new watch, does not really matter the price, if you have the money, you pretty much get it. Vintage watches, it’s much more of a search to get that exact model or example and the right price and the right condition, so it’s much more fun, I think.
SRS: It’s more of a hunt, right?
AW: Yeah, exactly! And last but not least is, I have quite tiny wrists so I really prefer the smaller sized watches.
SRS: That’s a very good point. Like the dials have become so big and the older ones are smaller and just looks better on you.
AW: That’s I think the main reason. There are fantastic watches made in the last century that I think is very, still undervalued, I mean there’s a lot of vintage watches that are overvalued, in my opinion as well. I mean the Rolex Daytona, they couldn’t sell it for ten years…
SRS: We did an article about that and it’s crazy right? I mean a watch that sold for 90 and a thousand dollars and now is like 250 thousand dollars, it’s just like a good marketing.
AW: Yeah, very much, absolutely! it’s up to you if you like the watch, I’m not saying, it’s been proven a great investment for those who bought… but I mean there’s a lot of vintage watches that are very, very low priced compared to the quality.
SRS: So specifically, what are those watches?
AW: I would look for, like a universal. I think there are still some nice Omegas. Even though Vacheron Constantin is an expensive watchmaker, I think the smaller dress watches from the 60s, the 70s are extremely priceworthy.
SRS: Perfect, thanks for sharing, I think that’s a good insight so usually we close our interview with quick questions, you can explain or you can say something else but it’s just to give a quick overview of what you prefer. Okay, so Oxford or Derby?
SRS: Flannel or worsted?
AW: Flannel, definitely flannel. Except for the summer, flannel, I love the texture, it’s perfect.
SRS: Necktie or bow tie?
SRS: Belt or suspenders?
AW: Depends on the occasion but I think, I wear belts a little bit more, suspenders are better in terms of function, you can sit and stand during meetings, when I get up, the place is exactly where it should be with suspenders. With belts, they tend to, you know, go down and then it won’t go up again. So, suspenders is a great fit, just not with every jacket.
SRS: Barrel cuff or French cuff?
AW: Barrel cuff. I wear them much more, I think it’s very nice with a french cuff but I only wear those for formal suits.
AW: No undershirt, never!! I never really understood that I mean, maybe if it’s so hot outside that you need like an undershirt to take up the sweat but in my opinion, just close the jacket and pretend like nothing happened. (laughs)
SRS: If you wear like a formal stuff like a white tie, or with a starched shirt front, undershirt will be much better on your skin than having that…that’s my take on it, each to his own.
AW: Yeah.that’s true!
SRS: Off the rack or custom?
AW: Custom, always custom. mostly for the possibility to do what you really want. I mean, not just the quality but the color, the cut, the length, the style, no compromise.
SRS: Alright, so what can we expect from Andreas Weinås in 2016 and beyond?
AW: To do my best of giving you guys some hopefully, entertaining articles and inspiration.
SRS: Alright well thank you very much, Andreas. It was a true pleasure, I enjoyed your different take on things and thank you for your time!
AW: Thank you, bye!