Shops are there to help us - urge us - to buy more stuff. Any stuff. Right? Wrong, says ASKET, the Swedish less-is-more label that's opened its first physical store in the heart of Stockholm, the city where the label was founded in 2015. ASKET wants its flagship - only - shop help its customers move towards the idea of "slow consumption" by "understanding and appreciating what they buy," as co-founder August Bard-Bringéus puts it.
There are simple clothes rails along each window and the bare minimum of fittings within. Until now, the brand has been strictly online-only and its first bricks and mortar manifestation is a statement of minimalism and of intent. The ASKET store is a fully floor-to-ceiling glazed corner on upscale Norrmalmstorg, a square in central Stockholm. ASKET’s mission of "full transparency" - of materials, supply lines, exact costs and environmental impacts of each piece in their deliberately pared back seasonless collections - is reflected in the architecture by Swedish minimalist firm Specific Generic.
The colour palette in shades of grey - punctuated by bold yellow pillars - ceilings in raw concrete, quiet wood benches and shelves in local ash, screens in raw stainless steel concealing fitting rooms, speak of simplicity, honesty and high quality materials, all aim to reflect Asket’s worldview. “Our team," says architect Andreas Bozarth Fornell of Specific Generic, "wanted the store to be a physical embodiment of the brand and let the garments speak for themselves."
It's not only clothes that are on display, but the components that make them up: from raw wool to the Corozo nuts that are used for buttons. As for actually buying items, ASKET's Bard-Bringéus says, “We want to remind customers that they should be more intentional about their purchasing decisions." Naturally purchases can be made, but just to remove any pressure, there are no obvious sales registers. If this is the future of high street shopping, count us in.