The story of Swedish shirt specialists Schnayderman’s is a good one. A simple one, but a good one. Nowadays, a lot of brands try to be all things to all people, but Schnayderman’s don't do that. They just focus on making the best shirts possible. Oxfords, Overshirts, Zip Shirts, Wool Shirts, Check Shirts, Denim Shirts, they've got the lot. A wondrous collection of every type of shirt that you could ever imagine.
Anyway, we’ve waxed lyrical about the shirts many times before – you can even check out the seven essential shirts edit here – so we thought we’d let them tell their own story. That's why we spoke to the main man, Joel Urwitz, to find out more.
Growing up, who was your hero?
I was a crazy Europe – a Swedish glam rock band - fan when I was in my younger years. Absolute heroes.
What was your first job?
I was a Leader at a summer camp. At the time it was the best job ever.
So, how did Schnayderman’s come about?
Being two shirt nerds (Joel founded Schnayderman's alongside Victor) we were always on the lookout for more casual shirts that were not just made up of cutaway collars and French cuffs. We had the ambition to master the shirt and we thought we could expand the ideas of what a shirt could be. Today, Schnayderman’s is a bit more than just shirts, but shirts will always be in our DNA, our focus.
The name is one that really rolls off the tongue, once you’ve learned how to spell it and say it, but where did it come from?
My family’s roots are from eastern Europe where they speak Yiddish. Schnayderman’s means tailor in Yiddish and is also a common last name if you worked as a tailor. I wanted the brand name to have a connection with my family’s roots while having a contemporary approach, too. It’s a nice balance.
What has been the biggest calamity along the way?
Trusting wholesale clients that couldn’t pay their bills in the end. That was a real lesson.
What was the moment when it all changed; when did things click into gear for Schnayderman’s?
Honestly - I don’t think it has ever been a ‘click’ or a specific moment that I can pin down. Instead it’s been hard work from the beginning and persistency, which step-by-step is moving us forward as a brand and as a team.
What’s the secret to a good shirt? What are the details we should all be looking for when it comes to buying one?
It’s quite simple. It’s all about the hand-feel of the fabric, the buttons and most importantly, the fit.
What is the best piece of advice that you have ever received?
You should treat others as you would like others to treat you.
What are the three most important things that you’ve learned along the way?
That you need to work hard to succeed, much more than you can ever imagine. Surround yourself with people that are better than yourself, especially in the fields that you don’t master, and believe in your own ideas and visions.
Has your love for design, or menswear specifically, changed at all in the journey of Schnayderman’s?
Not really, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed after an intense period of too much inspiration and designer work. The best way to combat that is to take time out and refresh.
What has been the single biggest influence on your work?
Growing up my parents were always nagging about me having to wear a shirt so I think that kinda created a special relationship between me and that garment. I love how the shirt can be so versatile and that every detail can make all the difference. It’s always evolving.
Do you have any superstitions, beliefs or self-imposed rules that you live by?
I am not a superstitious person. Rather a man of habits - with a lot of same procedure every day.
What do you hope to do next year that you’ve never done before?
We are developing the collections adding both bottoms and jerseys for Spring/Summer 2019. It is going to be a big step for us next year.
You opened the incredibly impressive Schnayderman’s store in Stockholm in December, with so many shops closing down, was it a big move to make? How long was it considered for?
Since day 1, we’ve had a weekend store in connection with our studio and office. The idea of a full-time shop has grown from there. Even if we are seeing the biggest growth online, we are strong believers of the brick and mortar approach, that is also working as a showroom for our online shop where our customers can come and touch and feel our products. It’s all part of the experience. Fundamentally, it’s a great space in one of Stockholm’s most vibrant areas that has a good mix of international high-end brands and Swedish independent designers. It's a great place to go to work.
What is it that drives you?
I like to create new things and to meet the challenges of building a brand from scratch.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were 21?
That life doesn't usually turn out the way you plan.
You’ve got £100 in your pocket right now, what would you spent it on?
Dinner with friends at my favourite Chinese.
Shop and explore the latest drop of Schnayderman’s shirts at OPUMO.
Be sure to check out our ultimate guide to men's shirts for everything you need to know.