In all the splendor of its bricks and mortar, sitting along the row of shops on Odengatan, Claes Göran is a whimsical wonder. It’s the type of shop that folk gods like Willy Wonka, Johnny Depp or even Santa Claus would frequent for sophisticated, unique pieces.
When you first walk in it’s hard to imagine shopping. I instantly forget and start having fun. A sign says “Some of my best friends are human”, and under the dimly-lit octopus-like chandeliers there are gorgeous Persian rugs that look really expensive. Are they for sale?
There are white tiles and beautiful floral arrangements in vintage-looking vases, strategically placed in strategic places that aren’t invasive. I look around at old colourful banker boxes and I can’t tell who is working and who is shopping. It’s like I stumbled into a secret closet.
When the store opened in early spring 2013 it was to the relief of a bevy of fans that had been shopping online and following the designer from his early years. The line itself started out in response to Claes Göran’s need for shoes. He couldn’t find any that were stylish and comfortable enough to fit his lifestyle, so he created his own, built on the principle of the perfect sole and body. The line became a hit, and in 2014 the brand started adding some specially-crafted clothing items.
The detail in the store is a metaphor for the details in the clothing. Careful attention is paid to every aspect, and it’s fun to walk around and look at the perfect seams and examine the soles of the shoes. The shoes which are Claes Göran’s signature item are a modern mix between your favourite boot and tennis shoes. Claes Göran has said that the pattern for the sole was inspired by the tires on his car. The holes on the shoes are four-leaf clovers. They are the kind of shoes that you can wear every day, regardless of the setting. The clothing pieces are reminiscent of a 20s-era lifestyle. They are fitted with crafted wrinkles and utilitarian aspects. They feel like pieces that you can be active, comfortable and stylish in.
It really feels like a “Claes Göran world” as I walk around. I get the type of guy and gal that the brand wants to lifestyle. And if you are going to live that type of attractive, carefree, get-off-your-ass, chop-down-a-tree-then-fly-to-Rome kind of life it’s not cheap. I try on a beautiful forest green parka thinking about the colder months ahead, and then look at the 4,300 SEK price tag and move on to the next row adding it to my wish list, I don’t wear khakis enough to justify buying a pair for 1,500, but I can see how the type of girl who does would. I can almost imagine myself out in the forest, building a tent, and roasting mushrooms on a stick with a fire I made myself. I think about changing my lifestyle just so I can wear these clothes and then I see the striped pyjamas and realize I don’t have to.
They are my favourite thing I have seen so far. I end up splurging (1,300 SEK) but it’s definitely worth it. They are so, so comfortable and I can’t imagine wearing anything else on a Christmas morning. Or even this Saturday. I also get the “Some of my best friends are humans” shirt (600 SEK), as I love the slogan. I usually get my shirts a little bigger but bearing such a riff-raff slogan across my chest might be a fun way to pronounce my badassery – or at least work as a good conversation opener.
I can see this brand becoming a heritage brand. Perfectly tailored threads, well heeled shoes, interesting people everywhere and a quirky classiness. They have a fresh innovative way of presenting fashion and lifestyle that adds a newness to the market which is much appreciated. The whole experience was captivating.
story / Koko Ntuen
Claes Göran, Odengatan 62