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A Q&A with Sebastiaan Vadasz, Pelikamo’s CEO & Co-Founder.
What inspired you to start Pelikamo?
We launched Pelikamo 10 years ago in Zurich. We were already running a concept store. There were few exciting menswear shops and most retail experiences weren’t satisfying. In addition, when I finally found great-fitting chinos and returned to buy more, the style wasn’t available anymore. We set out to change all of this.
What’s the philosophy behind Pelikamo and its products?
We produce everything in Europe and work directly with artisanal workshops, which mainly work for luxury brands. So we can offer quality on par with the best brands but at lower prices. We have an extensive perennial collection (navy blazers, dress shirts, knitwear basics, etc.) and a frequently changing seasonal collection. At the end of the day, we like to create beautiful things that we personally enjoy wearing and maintain a sense of humor in everything we do.
How do you approach design at Pelikamo, and where do you find inspiration for new products?
We run our own stores. Most designs stem from discussions with our clients on making things better. It is a great asset to launch new styles and get immediate feedback. One week after launching a product we track sales and are able to place re-orders that arrive within a few weeks. Another unique feature is that every second product at Pelikamo is made-to-measure or made-to-order. We are pushing this much further than most. We can now produce the majority of our collection from sneakers, jeans, and outerwear jackets to knitwear on a made-to-measure or made-to-order basis. This means that we have data from thousands of men regarding sizing. We actively use this to design our core collection. To name one example, we have developed our signature cut for trousers based on thousands of data points, which fits 70 – 80% of our clients perfectly.
What public figure, past or present, do you feel best represents the overall style of the brand?
We like James Bond, not primarily from the films but the Ian Fleming novels. We admire the universe Fleming has created and the healthy dose of humor that is more present in the books. We also try to build a Pelikamo universe in our stores. We have our beer and our own coffee roast, and everything from the perfect shade of grey for the walls (we call it Elephant bum) to a comically overengineered sound system (we work with Piega) is there for a reason.
We think of our products as apps. Our trousers are already in version 5.4. We constantly think about how we can improve every stitch and detail. We are also growing in size and are looking to open new stores beyond Zurich and Basel.
Where does Pelikamo manufacture its products?
We produce everything in Europe. 80% in Italy, Switzerland, and Portugal.
What is the relationship between you and the brand’s suppliers?
We work with over 60 suppliers, most small family-run companies. The design and vision are ours, and they offer the technical expertise. We also help them implement the capabilities to produce MTM and MTO pieces for us, with all the IT, processes, and quality control needed.
How much do you think sustainability is important in today’s fashion industry and how does it fit with your vision?
Sustainability is crucial. We are constantly testing and implementing new technologies. Still, the best strategy is to buy less but better clothes and wear them longer, precisely what Pelikamo believes in and stands for.
Leave us with a motto that the company will always believe in.
Stay hungry, stay foolish, stay curious.
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