The Menswear Style Podcast

Mark Winter, Founder of SWAY London

April 08, 2021 Menswear Style Episode 121
The Menswear Style Podcast
Mark Winter, Founder of SWAY London
Chapters
The Menswear Style Podcast
Mark Winter, Founder of SWAY London
Apr 08, 2021 Episode 121
Menswear Style

SWAY London is a new brand born from the ashes of Lockdown with the aim of becoming an internationally recognised, luxury lifestyle streetwear clothing and accessories brand. A distinctive casual to smart causal collection that is alluring, embodying the feminine and masculine with elements of sport. Brainchild of founder Mark Winter who, together with his business partners Terence Burrows and Pino Grillo, have more than 50 years’ experience working with major brands and events. SWAY London offers a fresh, new, high-end look to streetwear, fusing quality and luxury to create stylish pieces. Each piece is designed by Mark with the aim to create a collection that is as close to being 100% sustainable as possible and offering a great quality feel through premium fabrics such as organic cotton. The brand’s debut collection, launching with SS21, encompasses a large range of stylish pieces. Embedded into the SWAY London brand is the Phoenix, a mythical creature that is born from its own ashes, creating a recognisable symbol and iconic looks, which also reflects on how the brand was created; through the ashes of the first national lockdown.

In this episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interview Mark Winter, Founder of SWAY London about the story of the brand which was thought up and launched during lockdown. Mark decided to put his spare time towards a passion, and set out to build his own streetwear brand with a story behind it. Our host Peter Brooker and Mark also talk about the meaning behind the phoenix symbol, the challenges of building a business through both the pandemic and Brexit, and why they launched with a pre-order model.

Whilst we have your attention, be sure to sign up to our daily MenswearStyle newsletter here. We promise to only send you the good stuff.

Show Notes Transcript

SWAY London is a new brand born from the ashes of Lockdown with the aim of becoming an internationally recognised, luxury lifestyle streetwear clothing and accessories brand. A distinctive casual to smart causal collection that is alluring, embodying the feminine and masculine with elements of sport. Brainchild of founder Mark Winter who, together with his business partners Terence Burrows and Pino Grillo, have more than 50 years’ experience working with major brands and events. SWAY London offers a fresh, new, high-end look to streetwear, fusing quality and luxury to create stylish pieces. Each piece is designed by Mark with the aim to create a collection that is as close to being 100% sustainable as possible and offering a great quality feel through premium fabrics such as organic cotton. The brand’s debut collection, launching with SS21, encompasses a large range of stylish pieces. Embedded into the SWAY London brand is the Phoenix, a mythical creature that is born from its own ashes, creating a recognisable symbol and iconic looks, which also reflects on how the brand was created; through the ashes of the first national lockdown.

In this episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interview Mark Winter, Founder of SWAY London about the story of the brand which was thought up and launched during lockdown. Mark decided to put his spare time towards a passion, and set out to build his own streetwear brand with a story behind it. Our host Peter Brooker and Mark also talk about the meaning behind the phoenix symbol, the challenges of building a business through both the pandemic and Brexit, and why they launched with a pre-order model.

Whilst we have your attention, be sure to sign up to our daily MenswearStyle newsletter here. We promise to only send you the good stuff.

Unknown:

Hello, and welcome to another episode of The menswear style podcast. I'm your host Peter Drucker and on this episode I'm going to talk to the founder of sway London, Mark winter sway London they are a luxury lifestyle streetwear brand focusing on collections for both men and women. They use premium fabrics and sustainable cotton featuring the sway London logo used prominently throughout the collections embedded into the sway London brand is the Phoenix design creating a recognisable symbol and iconic looks to both men's wear and women's wear ranges. And you can find out more about the brand through the website, www dot sway dot London. And here is Mark winter to tell the story of how it all began. What's really London is is a story of a brand that was kind of created from the I suppose from the pandemic. And although we're going to go with the worst pandemic, we're going to go with lockdown. So because pandemic doesn't always sound that nice reminds people of not bad things but um, yeah, so during the first lockdown for a couple of weeks into I was very much around taking apart seller events, I was dealing with clients and stuff like that. And I found myself sitting there thinking what was sit around do nothing or do I What do I do something was was similar to Netflix. And I decided to pursue something I've always had a big passion for which is fashion. I've always found myself I've always followed it I've always had a keen eye for in my in my own sense. And I thought Joe was someone who always wanted to do now I found myself with time to do that. So that's kind of how it started with so I sat down and decided what do I do draw a bit of a roadmap of how I see the brand, what kind of styles I'm gonna do pen to paper, that sort of thing. And then then brand was born from there, really, I mean, the name and the designs come a little bit later, it was just making sure that what that map looked like what sort of styles I was looking to do. And I wanted to model around the kind of the streetwear brand style, which is obviously what what I tend to wear myself and is your background in designing at all. I mean, you said that you do the designs yourself. I mean, and this is drawing as well. So tell us a little bit about that, please. My background isn't in design at all. I mean, I did a little bit design back in college and stuff. But now my background is was more sort of marketing, partnerships. I did a lot of consulting for various other sports brands and clubs. But never in design. design was always something I just did for fun, right? I would just pick up a pen just randomly draw something like this was like I sat down for Joe I'm just gonna give it a go and see what comes out of me. And I suppose I surprised myself a new book came out. So listen to the brand looks great designs look really cool. read lots of bold kind of Eagle fronts. I mean, how would you describe it for people that haven't seen it yet? What is the Phoenix for stars. Like I say we can edit the podcast. The idea behind the Phoenix was we wanted to I wanted to create something that was unique, something that was different. There are obviously a lot of animals out there stuff lab. But the idea behind the Phoenix was this a mythical creature born of his own ashes. And I saw this brand as a brand that could be born of the pandemic that ashes as a pandemic. So I saw a bit of a backstory there. For me a brand is it could be a great brand, if it has that kind of story that goes with it. Someone that just put pen to paper, just draw something with no story behind it feels I was always something missing. So that was kind of where that came from. But so the idea of that came first before I even had a name. And so what are the early steps that you take when you get the designs? Is it the websites? I mean, how what are the kind of stepping stones you take when you really get a brand of this like this off the ground? Well, I mean, we started obviously, like I said, if the Phoenix came first it was kind of an idea of I want to I never wanted to Phoenix to be the logo, the Phoenix was always the design, I wanted to design was versatile, something that we could use different colour ways, different ways that wherever we multiply it, put it in large, pretty small, various areas, duplicate it, across the garments, and so on. But the logo itself was a process. We went through lists of different words, different names, trying to find something that fits well. I always wanted to have London in the name. I mean, I'm a South London Southwest London boy myself, Richie from Putney. And so I wanted to incorporate London in there to make sure that everyone knew it was a London brand. And then sway sway was born so suede was one of them on the shortlist of maybe one of our five and I won't go down the other one It kind of when I look back now that it wouldn't have worked, and and beyond that it was just a matter of looking into it make us doing our research due diligence on on the brand on the name, making sure we could use it for starters. And then of course the the trademark is ideal. And what are the obstacles you faced? Most when you start a brand in a pandemic? What are the ones that kind of surprised you? In terms of Crikey, I didn't expect to have to do this. I suppose not so much like I didn't have to do this as opposed to the type of things, the challenges we've had have been around production. Obviously, the shipping side of things at the moment we've we've packed with, with a pandemic and Brexit and the to come in at the same time that has been a bit of a headache at times. But finding the right people to work with. I mean, coming from the industries I've worked in before, it's all about work, making sure the team that's around you is the is the perfect team. Do you can you've got that kind of connection between your day everyone knows their roles, and there's no other no going back as far as anyone literally no. As far as what's the word? micromanaging? There's no micromanaging there. So but yeah, those were the those are the small challenges. But again, I think we see a small challenge. I mean, I've worked with all sorts of brands that have given me headaches beyond belief. So this was a real nice challenge to have. And did you have an idea before you started of where the clothes were going to be made in terms of the the mills or the factories, etc? Well, we're working and working around sort of various brands I have before I had ideas of who I could speak with. And one of the first people I brought in was someone that actually runs his own manufacturing side of things on production houses, he has access to factories across the world. And so that, believe it or not, most people might find hard that was arguably the easiest part. But I've known him for a long time. There's a lot of trust there a lot of synergy lot connection, so we get on very well. So I found out I found that quite easy. I think when people start up brands, the biggest difficulty they have is not deep enough Rolodex, like they might just go, Well, I know how to design a website. But yeah, I don't know, a designer, what was it? What were the other things that you kind of thought Crikey, this is we're gonna have to do a lot of research to get this going. Again, I've been quite lucky in my career, for the last 10 years, I've worked as a consultant for I know, when you say consultants, quite broad, but I've mostly consulted within sports industry. So I've worked with both brands that are sports brands and brands that are not that work on the peripherals of working with the clubs or events, associations, stuff like that. So you get to meet a lot of different types of brands. Whether it be design, whether it be for the for the website, whether it be production, manufacturing, marketing, PR. So I suppose my Rolodex, as you say, is actually quite quite fat. But like I said, I've been very lucky with that I've worked across many different brands before. So I was very lucky with I had that to start with. It was always always a time thing for me. It was never so much the connections or even the means to do this. It was always the time I never had the time to do this. And you had the lockdown. It gave me the opportunity. And what are we talking about? Are we like six in the morning? Are you kind of the morning guy or the night owl? Do you have to do both? I think both. JOHN, I'm not so much. I mean, I've done it wrong. I will sleep in when I get the opportunity. And I can wake up and most people always hate me in the mornings because I'm I smile. I laugh I joke, but I did the same at night. Jeremy I I've I've I've lived for years on two or three hours a night. Some clients some projects. This one I do sleep a lot more strangely. But yeah, I mean, I get up early in the morning, I wake up, sometimes I think what I do is I actually lay in bed, and then jump in the nine ball. I've got an idea. And I keep a pad by the bed and I start writing it down. I don't know if that's a good idea. What's the next step for you now, Mark? How's the reaction been? I've noticed on the site, you've got a few garments, quite a few items that have sold out already. So what do we do we've done is obviously due to some of the problems that we spoke about a second ago. And the production and the delivery side of things has delayed us a little bit. We were due to launch in first of April. But we've had to move it back into the 10th of May. But doing so we already had various things in planning, marketing PR. And we've we've we're in the new perfect magazine, which just come out. And we've got Volk articles and both of these infographics in GQ coming out next week. But we couldn't we couldn't move those back. So what we have to do is we kind of have to decide what we have to launch still. So we've launched on a pre order, right. And yeah, we've all sort of pre ordered last Monday. Don't select diamonds select once, we've got release dates for things like our swimwear, which is a little bit further along. But we have got some pre order things on the website already there. So with this, it's doing well. Like I said, it's a great website, great idea to do the pre sales as well, because I mean, this kind of same position where I'm trying to get a project launch. And it's getting pushed back and pushed back. It's just so crazy to try and tie anything down to a deadline at the minute because we're not living in a sane world at the moment. So trying to put like a sane, infinite amount of time on something that's always moving underneath us just so hard. It was it was a it was a decision we made. I mean, we don't fully expect to sell our Of course, our new brands, I mean, pre pre sales is something you'll see that a lot of high end, long stuff that brands have been around for a while that would do. Obviously, we're a new high end brands where people have to get to know us get to us to us, and get to the point where we will have limited items, limited edition items. But like I said, until we are very well known, I don't fully expect us to be hugely popular in the preorder side of things but saying that we have we're doing quite well. And it's only been a week since How did you raise the capital to get the brand going most people do crowdfunding and Kickstarter, was that something you consider I'm not so much on the crowdfunding now. Most of the funding in the beginning came from myself and my one of my business partners. I brought him on shortly after I kind of mapped out where I wanted to go. Powerful the brand so on. And then we born another shareholder. So we kind of combined we combined there but by that point we'd already been moving forward. And that was it really I mean, that's how we got going. So it was again a painless process really it wasn't wasn't that difficult. So again, hold my hands up we were quite lucky here we've ever we've been very lucky with this. We're in a lot of support Awesome. Well I encourage everybody else to show some support and head over to the website it's suede dot London is where people can go and check out all the garments and get some some really good stuff like so you got stuff for women on there as well as guys, swimsuits streetwear hoodies and and all sorts going on and also on the Instagram people can check you guys out sweat at sway London you enjoy all the social media stuff is that is that a fun element of your life working on that right now actually we obviously we were meant to be launching we now we're launching in May we've kind of moved our social media activity back a little bit and we're going from more of a bigger launch in May now is more I suppose our soft launch but yeah, we will be the last social media activity we have got on social media right now. It's not it's not it's not very big at the moment but he sees gathering momentum. But then our influences warm Will I be staying in the first week of mates. Okay, and how are you quite hands on with your own social media Do you think you'll you'll find that out? I try my best not to micromanage but it's very difficult. So I am hands on with if I'm honest with every aspect of the brand and until the brand is fully launched and then we've got everyone in because obviously we haven't got every position filled yet we're still looking for the right people in certain areas. So I will always be there looking at various things and social media is one I am looking at as well so awesome. Well, Mark thanks so much for your time a great talking to you. My dog my dogs just walked into the room. This is the door and I was thinking just come back. But yeah Best of luck with the brand looks great. Again, suede at London's place people check it out, it will be coming out 10th of may access rights as well. Great. Take care yourself mate hope Arsenal find some winning ways for your own sanity and optimism. Let's not talk about this. It's a very sore subject. But it's important that you have a good eight games stretch now to show promise for next season. That's what they say, isn't it? You know he would be it'd be a good one game stretch that happy one game one week. One more Arsenal do tend to finish Well, at the end of the season. I just don't see it this season. I mean, we we looked awful, his Liverpool so I thought I'm not I'm not. I'm not confident. A little bit. So we'll have to wait and see. Well, this is what I say to my mate who's a Westham support. Now, Westham are having a good season this season. But normally they're kind of just always mid table mediocrity, aren't they? This is what I tease him with anyway. Just so you don't have a journey and you season you're not going up. You're not going down. You're not you're not in the running for anything. You just kind of sitting there in the middle. I mean, at least Liverpool? I guess Arsenal as well. Most seasons always go into the top four. We've always got a journey. So you know, this is this is a bit of a weird season because everything's upside down. But yeah, we'll always have something to fight for. Give or take. Right I see. I keep telling everyone i'm going to become a Crawley town fan. Currently townies is not By far for me it's like 20 minutes drive from here 45 minutes drive from me I mean, arguably Crystal Palace saying that far annoys red Hill. But I think anyone at the moment is better than last. I mean, I've been also found my whole life right Yeah, tell me my man that got me on to becoming an arsenal fan. And it's a every season it's the same thing every transfer window is the same thing that I'm always maybe this is the one this is one where we're going to assign someone we need not someone we don't need well Jeremy said your bounce back may arsenal arsenal were up there. I mean, they've had they've had such a good time in the last what 1015 years with awesome Bangor just always being there and there abouts. So, you know, we haven't won anything in 12 years or something like that when I say anything I mean the leading Yes, yes, we went in the FA cups and stuff which is great. Don't get me wrong, but it's the league the league in the Champions League. We ain't in the Champions League or we ain't winning the Premier League then we are no longer that team in the top four, top five wherever you Jeremy we're not there at the moment. And I don't blame our tetun at all. I think it's the players they're not playing for him or whether they're just not good enough. I just don't I think a lot of more capable of playing the way he wants. I think that's the case they want they can't play they don't have the ability of playing the way he wants. Some of them do Don't get me wrong, not all of them. And I love a Bama Yang but a poor guy. I think he just needs to began getting any better. Right Jeremy? He's, you can't blame a banner. It's been amazing for us for years. Has he hit his ceiling? I think they just need to give him a bit of a break. Pull him off and bring on martin daily for a while right? We build up Batman's confidence but you keep putting them on playing like that Yangon to get Yangon. So I'm going to get you about a probably better shoe. I've told the missus I am doing a work call. She won't believe me. You just been talking football. I'm gonna leave you in a cage. She's gonna say to the World Cup. Honestly, I have to play back the tape. great meeting you. honestly love the brand. Best of luck with it and hope to catch up with you more loud out of our traps. Yeah, definitely. Thanks a lot. Yeah, thank you. So thank you, Mark. Yes, the Phoenix not the eagle. Is Monkhouse used to say we all make mistakes. That's why they put rubbers on the end of pencils. Thank you Mark for being such a good sport. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of The menswear style podcast. If you like what you hear, why not leave us a review it does help my ego. Don't forget to check out the show notes for this episode and all content pertaining to fashion, watches grooming and lifestyle over at WWW dot menswear. style.co uk and we're on the social as well at menswear style. If you want to be a guest on the show. Maybe Tell us about your brand your journey you can email us here at info at menswear style.co Uk okay until next time