Photography by Tom Griffiths & Julian Victoria.
Brits Tom and Will started L’Estrange — a menswear brand with a story for the future — in London. In pursuit of their passion to produce apparels with #WithLessDoMore aesthetics, rooted in versatility, the brand has found success through their elevated products. The duo was inspired to simplify men’s wardrobe — with cohesive colours and effortlessly smart styles — expertly manoeuvring the fine line between being overdressed and underdressed. In this interview, Londoners Tom and Will will also let you in on their dearest spots in the city.
Hi, Tom and Will! Tell us about yourselves – we’ve been looking forward to hear about it.
TOM: Will and I met at university in Scotland. We always used to chat about starting a fashion brand; I grew up in that world – my mum was a buyer at Harrods and worked for a brand called Margaret Howell for years. We used to chat about how the fashion system was broken and how we’d do it better.
I’m a huge fan of L’Estrange’s aesthetics. What’s the story behind the creation of your brand?
WILL: L’Estrange began with the Hood – a more tailored take on the hoodie. It began as a passion project to take an item that we loved, but was traditionally considered more scruffy, and elevate it so it was smart enough to be worn in any setting – an everywhere item. We quickly got stocked in some great stores from Colette in Paris to Isetan in Japan and the rollercoaster began. The Hood opened the doorway to us asking why the rest of the wardrobe didn’t function as easily – why couldn’t we have a range of clothes comfy enough to be the first you’d choose for a coffee with friends, but also would look great at a nice restaurant? That was when L’Estrange really started.
TOM: Every item in the wardrobe is built for convenience and simplicity. As well as being versatile, every item is machine-washable, the colours and styles work together without having to think. We design for longevity rather than fashion trends and we’re direct-to-consumer so we can offer Italian fabrics and manufacturing at high street prices.
Can you elaborate more on your tagline #WithLessDoMore? What do you think sets you apart from other brands?
WILL: #WithLessDoMore, in its essence, is about making fewer, better decisions. Better decisions, to strip away the noise and the things that don’t matter in your life, and create more space for what we really value. First step is to actually become aware of the decisions we’re unwittingly making everyday – the things we do, people we see, things we buy, etc. With L’Estrange, we want to start that conversation.
TOM: We see it as an evolution on minimalism. For us, the Doing More is just as important as the With Less, because stripping away allows you to throw yourself into things that you love, are passionate about or make you a better person. You can strip back everything, but ultimately, your life would just be dull!
It’s different for every person. I have key pillars that I need in my life to feel great – from enough sleep to exploring new parts of the world to spending time with my family. I strip away so I can focus on those things.
WILL: I love wearing great clothes but we were fed up with the complexities of the fashion system – seasonal cycles, clothing being available one year, gone the next, fashion trends, retail markups, the list goes on. Great style and good design can be timeless, but also shouldn’t consume our attention in the way that it does. Our aim was to simplify that whole process – fewer, more versatile items in your wardrobe means less decisions of what to wear and how to wear it, and more time for the rest of your life.
Does travelling play an important factor in the growth of L’Estrange?
WILL: We used to travel more when we had stockists around the world – we used to go to New York City, Tokyo, Paris, to visit stores. We also travelled for tradeshows in Florence and Paris. So, until we open our global network of hybrid retail stores (*wink*), we’ll be travelling for pleasure.
TOM: Gone are the days of packing massive suitcases of wardrobe changes. With L’Estrange, for a weekend away, for example, you only need one pair of trousers - the 24s - and wherever you are, they’ll work for you. The versatility just makes travelling so easy.
What’s your go-to style from the shop? Surprise me with a look!
TOM: Our staple L’Estrange looks are similar because we have such a concise wardrobe, but we style them differently with sneakers and jewelry etc:
All Day Shirt: Since we created the collarless, it’s all we tend to wear. The fabric is like being in a cloud!
Tailored Tee: Little tailored details like a pleat and a curved hem. It’s an essential in any look.
24 Trousers: The only trousers you’ll ever need!
WILL: Agreed. Black-on-black features more heavily for me than Tom. Paired with white trainers is a go-to. Looking forward to getting more of our evening shirts though - they’re made half of stretch cotton and half of an airtex polo shirt type of material. Love the texture.