Fusion Associates caught up with the founding duo and married couple Trine Rosenkjaer and Tim Larcombe in Copenhangen to learn what’s behind the runaway success of their brainchild.
What’s the essence of PackMack and how did the idea behind the brand come about?
Trine Rosenkjaer: Having worked for many years at brands including Levi’s, Nike and Converse, Tim and I decided to start our own company. Trying to figure out what we really wanted to do, we decided to base a brand on the experience we’ve acquired and the result is PackMack – a line of waterproof, packable jackets that bridge the gap between active sportswear and a more casual sensibility with a tailored aspect. Every piece features waterproof zips, sealed seams, reflective logos, elasticated drawcord and a built-in packable pocket. We use the same fabric across all styles to minimize waste. The jackets are unisex and we’ve been careful to keep prices down – the jackets cost from €75 to €85. Anyone can wear them; it’s a very democratic brand.
What silhouettes do you currently offer? And how will you extend the line?
We offer three unisex styles – a zip-up parka, a shorter jacket plus a pop-over style. Our delivery rhythm is two drops a year, and we’ll change fifty percent of the colours each season. We’re also working on two new styles, which will fall into the same urban/sportswear category as the existing collection. Each new design will be properly developed and brought out organically – we won’t introduce new styles for the sake of it.
Where are the products made?
In a family-run factory based in Southern China, established some 35 years ago in Hong Kong. They have incredible capabilities due to their technical experience, and only work with ten brands, focusing mostly on skiwear, so we’re very lucky that they took us on.
How would you describe the consumer?
Our customer base is diverse; the jackets have been a hit with the streetwear crowd, men and women, but equally, they’re appealing to a more professional demographic. At the Beams store in Japan, the jackets hang next to suits and Italian tailoring. We really enjoy the fact that the brand translates in so many different ways.
How do you like seeing your designs worn and styled?
It looks good with casualwear, say, with a tee and jeans, but equally, people wear them with suits, particularly so in Japan. So the style crosses over the sport/street and smart segments quite seamlessly. I like seeing the jackets adopted by girls who love streetwear; they usually get a big size to help them create that cool oversized look.
Tell us about your progress in terms of distribution and retail partner tie-ups.
Japan is our biggest market, and we secured 96 accounts in the country in our first season. We’ve also entered Scandinavia, Benelux and the UK, and we’re planning to add the Italian and Canadian markets for spring ’18. We’ve signed with quite a few agents, such as Son of a Stag in the UK, for example. We’ve been very fussy with the people we’ve teamed up with, and we’re lucky that the right people “got it” immediately. Retail-wise, we’ll be adding key independent and cool multiples to the list and we’re due to launch the brand at Urban Outfitters in the summer.
What steps are you taking to further build the brand and communicate its identity?
We’ve teamed up with Jan Grarup, a Danish award-winning war photographer, with whom we’ll developed a creative project telling stories about real people that reflect the diversity of the brand. We won’t use models, but interesting characters from the multicultural city that is Copenhagen. Each photo will be shot in the environment of the person, with an accompanying story. One of the people starring is a lady who’s into “urban walking”. She comes out at night, climbing building and scaffolding, posting selfies of her adventures. This marks the first time Jan’s ever worked with a fashion brand and he’ll shoot twelve stories, one for each month of the year. The photos will be featured on our website and at some of our retail partners’ sites and social media channels.
Any other projects in the pipeline?
We’ll be holding an exhibition of Grarup’s photos, possibly tying up with Unicef – an organization that is very close to Grarup’s heart. We’d love to create a “Unicef jacket” and donate the profits. With our background working at companies such as Levis and Nike, we come from businesses that have a heart, despite their global scale. We want to create brand stories and projects that mean something.