Aimed at male urban professionals, Pelikamo is showing that good clothes can have all the production-value of high fashion with none of the frivolities
Established in 2011 by Christian Hunziker, Sebastiaan Vadasz, Urs Wietlisbach and Mia Zeltner, Swiss brand Pelikamo makes both business and casual-wear for male urban professionals. And perhaps the quickest way to get to the heart of this Zurich-based clothing brand is in its own words: ‘We make clothes, not fashion, and offer timeless essentials that will be yours for years.’
‘We really wanted to get away from short-term fashion trends and mass production,’ says co-owner Mia Zeltner. We have seen similar positioning – ‘essentials’ rather than ‘fashion’ – elsewhere, such as by the likes of ARKET. But Pelikimo also focus on a very Swiss frame-of-reference: ‘high-quality.’ And more specifically, Zurich and all the connotations which that city carries: wealth, classic, understated. Everything is designed in Zurich and the flagship store is right in the heartland of their key target market – the banking district. All products are crafted in Europe, mainly in Italy and Portugal by family-run businesses, using the finest materials from some of the oldest fabric houses in the world, such as Loro Piana and Vitale Barberis Canonica. There is also a tailoring service in the Zurich and Basil stores, as well as a ‘flying tailor’ who you can book to visit your office. At Pelikimo they want you to be well aware that their clothes have all the production-values of high fashion with none of the frivolities.
The understated clothing is mirrored in the branding, and both appeal to the modest tastes of Swiss men, but also of global, well-travelled professionals. No surprise then that in Pelikamo stores they also stock a few other brands, besides whom they clearly wish to position themselves, such as Mismo, Barbour and Monocle (the actual bible of the global, well-travelled professional man).
So, while on first sight a clothing brand distancing itself from ‘fashion’ seems a surefire way to lower one’s premium, Pelikamo are proof that clever, original positioning can enable you to dictate your own frame-of-reference. One that is unique to you and in which you can grow rather than be drowned out in the crowd. The next step for Pelikamo is likely to be expanding its global offering. The next test will be continuing to stand out when swimming in a much bigger sea.