SØRENSEN is the anti-fashion menswear brand cutting through the noise of fleeting trends. A response to disposable fashion, founder and designer Wayne Sørensen sought to create a clothing label built simply on the cornerstones of good style. With seven archetypes – the Driver, the Engineer, the Dancer, the Butcher, the Officer, the Painter and the Seafarer – providing the bones of each collection, the label taps the differing personalities within us all, giving way to mood-based experimentation that never falls on the wrong side of understated. As a new pop-up space lands in-store, we fine-tune the details with the man putting longevity first…
How did you get into fashion?
Some of my earliest memories were of being with Mum in her dressmaking studio – wreaking havoc with the fabric in the cupboards and my first lesson on the sewing machine with her. I knew from that early age that creating clothing that made people feel great was my career of choice.
What is your main mission for the brand?
SØRENSEN’s mission is threefold: 1. To reconnect our customers with the confidence derived from looking good, 2. The ability to discern quality materials and craftsmanship (and therefore buy better) and 3. Offer a quiet alternative to the noise of fashion.
Where did SØRENSEN begin?
SØRENSEN’s point of difference started to crystallise when I was exploring the quiet confidence exemplified by professional archetypes. I incubated the concept for 12 months full-time before launching in London in 2016.
What drove you to eschew conventional trends?
It was my simple observation that most men, and a lot of women too, aren’t interested in fashion or trends but still want to look good. Identifying one’s individual style shouldn’t be too concerned with what everyone else is doing or wearing.
What does style mean to you?
When something is tasteful and offers a unique point of view, then I think it’s safe to use the word style.
Has your New Zealand upbringing informed your design approach?
The relaxed lifestyle did, yes. It wasn’t until I moved to Europe in my early twenties that my design aesthetic started to truly come together.
“Everyone’s favourite T-shirt is the one they’ve had for four years and is on the brink of deteriorating. I set out to recreate that feeling from a new T-shirt – without waiting four years.”
How did you go about developing the perfect T-shirt?
Firstly, thank you for the compliment! Our customers do love our T-shirts and I think designing those basic pieces are often the hardest but most rewarding. Everyone’s favourite T-shirt is the one they’ve had in their wardrobe for four years and is on the brink of deteriorating – it feels like a second skin. You get six months more wear from it before it starts falling apart and gets relegated to being worn to bed. I set out to recreate that feeling from a new T-shirt – without waiting four years. It also had to look smart in its own right - which T-shirts so often don’t.
What measures do you take to ensure the quality of your pieces?
Again, a threefold approach: a great cut combined with quality materials and, of course, the actual workmanship; you have to have all three to deliver a quality garment. I’m incredibly proud of our fit – we cater successfully to a broad band of body shapes – I cut all of our initial blocks myself and we work closely with our makers to maintain our garment measurements. Knowing how to sew has been a huge advantage in working with our makers in London and Portugal. The provenance of our fabrics is very important and is, for the most part, with mills that I’ve had long-standing relationships with and personally spent time in.
Of the brand’s seven archetypes, where would you position yourself?
The idea of the archetypes is that we can tap into their unique values depending on our mood – from the relaxed, quiet retreat of a Painter to the decisive agility of a professional Driver. I do find myself, invariably, dressed in the Dancer pieces – our most expressive and rebellious of the archetypes – enough said on that.
What are your main sources of inspiration?
The archetypes themselves are a rich wealth of inspiration; their lifestyles and the form and function of the garments associated with each of them. I get incredibly excited when I find vintage pieces that spark new ideas – the Butcher archetype was inspired by a French abattoir’s apron from the early 20th Century.
“Anyone involved in manufacturing carries a huge responsibility. We can’t stop getting dressed, but we can all be producing and purchasing more mindfully.”
What efforts do you make towards sustainable practice?
Anyone involved in manufacturing product carries a huge responsibility. Is this item adding true value? What’s the impact of producing it? What happens to it when it gets to the end of its lifecycle? We can’t stop getting dressed, but we can all be producing and purchasing more mindfully. We’re so happy with our customer feedback with how much wear they get from their SØRENSEN pieces and how well they wash and wear (buying less, buying better). We also work a lot with materials that already exist and need consuming and are vigilant to avoid building up stockpiles of materials, samples or garments. We have a rail in our LA store for any defective garments – priced by donation to a local charity for the homeless that we support.
What’s next for SØRENSEN?
It’s been incredible opening the store in Los Angeles – the response has been tremendous. Japan is showing a lot of interest too in SØRENSEN – let’s see. Slow and steady is our thinking.