Suits Me: 150 Years of a Swedish Menswear Titan
Bespoke tailor A.W. Bauer & Co. has been in the biz for 150 years and is the only one of its kind in Scandinavia—a tailor where contemporary clothes are made with classic techniques—as well as a personal favorite.
Stockholm’s best-dressed workplace is located at Brunnsgatan 4. Here, everyone always works in tailored clothes. The gents wear suits, suspenders, and monogrammed shirts—into which they tuck their ties to make sure they don’t get in the way.
I met with Frederik Andersen, managing director and head tailor at A.W. Bauer & Co., to discuss the tailoring business and learn more about the 150th anniversary.
On how it all began:
“Sadly, this sort of handicraft has all but disappeared during the last fifty years, and this Stockholm tailor is one of the few remaining in Europe. Bauer was close to joining the trend of shutting down shops at the end of the twentieth century—the two house tailors were getting close to retirement and were really just supposed to finish the garments that were hanging on the racks.”
I’ll be damned, thought Andersen, a young Dane who had picked up the trade on Savile Row in London and was longing to make quality clothes from scratch.
On how he launched his career at the brand:
“The two tailors [at Bauer]—after some persuasion—agreed to have me come in to help in the shop on Fridays. After some time, the master tailor Göran Johansson gave in and told me to come in the following Monday to start as his apprentice.
That was the beginning of a tough time, with really hard work.
“I wanted to show how keen I was and was going to show up at the shop before anyone else did. They were already sitting there when I arrived at 7:30 a.m., and they were wondering why I slept in.”
It was even tougher to adapt to Göran’s, and Bauer’s, way of tailoring, Andersen says.
“Göran told me to forget everything I’d been taught and do exactly what he said. I was allowed to ask questions, but never to ask the same thing twice. It was exactly what I had been looking for, a proper foundation to stand on.”
Master tailor Göran passed away several years ago, but his colleague Börje Moberg, 75 years old, still spends his days sewing in the locale in central Stockholm. Andersen now co-owns Bauer with his colleague, Martin Ekolin, and the customer list continues to grow.
On how the team works:
“My job is to interpret what the client wants and be their guide until the suit or coat is finished. I know our fabric suppliers and choose the textiles that match the expression the customer wants his clothes to have. English fabrics have a different expression than French or Italian, and there aren’t two fabrics that are perfect for the same suit. During at least two fittings, the client gets to see how the clothes develop. The fact that everything is hand-sewn and -shaped gives the garments a nice fit, which follows the body movements. We refuse to do anything half-assed. We keep fighting for the old knowledge and classic craft.”
On what’s ahead for the brand on the eve of A.W. Bauer & Co.’s 150th anniversary:
“It’s just a great year to celebrate. We invited all our prominent clients and friends to the beautiful Ett Hem, in late January, for a classic cocktail evening. We have made a collaboration with designer Rasmus Wingårdh, and we have a couple of new projects, within tailoring and furniture, in the pipeline, so, all in all, the creativity and craftsmanship at A.W. Bauer & Co. are at its spearpoint this year.”
Photos: Courtesy of Christian Remröd