Marylebone Talks: Trunk Clothiers
We sat down with Mats Klingberg, founder of Trunk Clothiers and Trunk Labs, who made his debut on Chiltern Street in 2010, carving a niche for carefully curated men’s clothing, bringing a host of men’s labels to Marylebone. A former financier, Mats was prompted to branch into the world of men’s fashion retail after becoming fatigued by the lack of considered labels in the capital.
Tell us the story of Trunk so far and your transition into fashion.
Trunk launched on 8 Chiltern Street in September 2010 with a well curated edit of the best menswear and accessories from Japan, Italy, US, UK and beyond. Most of the brands were brands I’d been buying for myself on trips to primarily Japan and Italy over the years and that weren’t available in London. Several of these brands are still our best sellers like Boglioli, Incotex, Alden, Aspesi, Barena and Common Projects.
With Trunk I wanted to create a shop that caters to an international audience of men seeking easy to wear, intelligently designed clothes, with no compromise on quality. At the same time I wanted to deliver a great experience in a warm and welcoming environment.
Starting my own business is something I’d been thinking about for many years, but it wasn’t until March 2010 that I decided to quit my corporate job and launch Trunk Clothiers. The business plan, financial forecast and company registration had been done in the Autumn of 2009, but it wasn’t until the deadlines for placing the orders for the upcoming AW10 season came up that I made the actual decision. I had put an offer in on a shop, but the deal hadn’t gone through yet, so without a shop confirmed I decided that now is the time and if I didn’t do it now it would never happen. Definitely the best decision I’ve ever made.
Can you describe Trunk Clothier’s own clothing line and the philosophy behind your designs.
When a man has found a jacket, shirt or pair of trousers that they like, most of them like sticking to that style and just buy it in a new colour or fabric when they feel the need of something new. Sounds pretty simple and straight forward, but to the frustration of many men out there most brands don’t operate on this philosophy, so this is where I see Trunk’s own label filling a gap. The focus is on a mix of wardrobe essentials that work all year round and also in different climates. The collection is currently made up of shirts, polo shirts, chinos, jackets, suits, boxer shorts and swim trunks, but there’s lots more in the pipeline.
Where do most of your clients come from?
We have loyal customers from all over the world from places like Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Stockholm, Zurich, Paris, LA, New York and of course London.
You own two shops on the same road in Marylebone, on Chiltern Street. Why is that?
I’ve lived in Marylebone since I moved to London twelve years ago, so have known Chiltern Street for a very long time. I thought it was great, central, with beautiful architecture and quiet, so in 2009 when I was starting up Trunk and needed a space, Chiltern Street was one of the main locations I was looking at. During this time I met Andre Balazs through a friend in a hotel bar in St Moritz who told me he had just acquired the old fire station on the street and was going to turn it in to hotel, so that’s the moment I decided on Chiltern Street for sure.
The units on Chiltern Street are fairly small, so it didn’t take very long until I felt we needed more space. We looked at different options, but then opted for another shop on Chiltern Street. The second shop Trunk LABS on 34 Chiltern Street has a great selection of luggage, accessories, bags and shoes. Trunk on 8 Chiltern Street is where all the clothes are.
Are there any tips you have for men about style and shopping?
Keep it simple. Less is more, so build your wardrobe around a couple of really good jackets, suits, shirts, trousers and shoes that can easily be combined in different ways. This will make your life a lot easier when deciding what to wear in the morning and when you need to pack for a trip.
Also, be prepared to spend a little extra to make sure you get a good fit. Just because you spend a lot of money on something doesn’t mean it’s a great fit, so this is where a good tailor can help.
What is your ideal day in Marylebone?
My ideal day in Marylebone is what most of my Sundays spent in London look like. I wake up early, see that the sun is shining from a clear blue sky. I love London on a sunny day! I then put my running gear on and head out for a run around Regent’s Park including a sprint up and down Primrose Hill. The views over London are great from the top of Primrose Hill, so well worth a visit. There’s also a great outdoor gym at the bottom of the hill that I visit every now and then.
Back in Marylebone again I pick up a tote bag from home and head to the Farmer’s Market where I pick up whatever looks good for the week ahead. If I feel like it I also have a couple of oysters.
The rest of the day I’ll check in to my shops on Chiltern Street, say hi to our shop neighbours, see if there are any new interesting books at Daunt’s on Marylebone High Street, have dim sum at Royal China on Baker Street, a wiener schnitzel at Fischer’s or something yummy at the Providores. For dinner I like the counter at Dinings on Harcourt Street.
TRUNK CLOTHIERS / 8 CHILTERN STREET, LONDON. W1U 7PU
+44 (0) 207 486 2357
TRUNK LABS / 34 CHILTERN STREET, LONDON. W1U 7QH
+44 (0) 207 486 2357