A little while ago I featured a unisex t-shirt as part of an outfit post which was created by design collective Teeeshit. Started up by entrepreneurs Jennie Weglin and Razi Kantorp this Stockholm based duo are creating a collection of unisex pieces of fantastic quality, green consciousness and beautiful design. Girl in Menswear caught up with them to find out a bit more about where their inspiration comes from, why Sweden is championing gender-neutrality when it comes to fashion, and what their personal tomboy tale looks like and how its influencing their brand moving forward. Please introduce yourselves. Razi Kantorp CEO and Designer and Jennie Weglin Creative Director and Designer for TeeeSHIT based in Stockholm, Sweden.
Jennie, you’re a fashion designer and Razi your background is graphic design – how did the idea of joining forces to start a clothing label come about? The idea started one and a half years ago when we first met. We spent a whole weekend drinking beers on Razi’s dads balcony and discussing endless possibilities for creativity. We came to the conclusion that we should create a unisex clothing label, and after about a year we finally decided to go ahead with it, and so we printed a few t-shirts with our illustration designs. As Razi could make our webshop it was pretty easy to just get started straight away.
Why did you decide to create a unisex label, rather than an exclusively womenswear one? We are both very passionate about tomboy styling and are both inspired by it. We decided to order our prints on menswear tee’s and not exclude men wearing our stuff too. But our focus is more for women with a tomboy flavour. We both shop for clothes in the menswear sections and we felt underrepresented in womenswear stores. People seem to get more and more non-gender conscious and we aspire to present and push this trend with our brand.
What does it mean to be a design collective versus a brand? One important thing for us is to promote the talented designers we work with and give them credit for their great work. Being a collective also makes all parties more engaged and passionate about what we are doing and so we all play an essential part in the brand itself. There are so many great designers and artists out there that will never even get the chance to do anything, sadly mainly due to a lack of funds, or just the fact that some artists find it difficult to brand themselves.
What are the biggest challenges you have faced, and continue to face launching Teeeshit? Working from home has been the biggest challenge so far. Firstly, living in a small one bedroom flat and liking a LOT of stuff (!) means our house is very crowded! Secondly, it is easy to continue working all night long, rather than dividing time for work and time for rest. This can be positive too though, as working with something that you love is great; There are many late nights, but with with a lot of fun too! Another challenge has been when girls ask for the “girl version” of a tee for example. This isn’t our core customer, and we need to reach a smaller and more niche crowd that likes the concept of pure unisex clothing.
How would you describe your personal style and to what extent is this reflected in the clothes and accessories your create? Razi has always been a tomboy at heart. I think she’s worn a dress once in her life. Jennie has a great interest in girls in menswear (!) and keeps a regular inspiration page on tumbler called black-smith.tumblr.com
The result is that all the clothes we decide to make we would wear ourselves, and we try to fill that hole in the market that we think is missing.
You’ve both travelled and lived in numerous countries, do you draw inspiration from these experiences when designing your range? Living abroad for some time and experiencing other cultures has definitely opened our eyes to the different androgynous ways of dressing, which looks different in Sweden than in other places we have lived. It feels like the unisex way of dressing goes hand in hand with the social matureness of the location.
Everyone is talking about Swedish brands and designers at the moment – what do you think makes Swedish fashion (in particular menswear) different from other countries? The high level of equality between sexes in Sweden, is reflected in what people want and wear. Its ok for women and young girls to be tomboys in many parts of the world, but if boys are feminine it is seen with more conservative eyes. Sweden recently introduced a gender-neutral pronoun for people and objects that don’t identify with a specific sex, this word is hen (not he/han, not she/hon). One of our friends from England was shocked by “all the lesbians in Stockholm” when she first came here. Now she knows they are just Swedish (probably straight) women! Who are your favourite menswear designers and brands? Any Swedish menswear labels we should keep an eye out for? Hope is one of our favourites, for both menswear and womenswear. Others include Local Firm, Whyred, and the more affordable Cheap Monday. We also love London based Peter Jensen’s quirky prints.
What are the origins of your love of menswear and tomboy style? Razi was often taken for a boy growing up because of her tomboy style and interests. For Jennie the love for menswear clothing came later in life when she did her fashion degree and started to think more about what she wore. Being gay probably also plays some part in the equation for both of us.
Do you read blogs? Any we should stop by? We mostly read blogs web and graphic design blogs (we are true nerds). But for style inspiration we generally just find things on the internet and store it on our tumblr: black-smith.tumblr.com
What’s next for Teeeshit? Our winter collection Original Vintage will soon be available in our webshop. The focus is now to create a wider collection of pieces, rather then only t-shirts.We are also about to present a really exciting collaboration with Realstars, Fashion for fair sex- against human trafficking. We have been working on their t-shirt and web design. And finally, we are moving our head quarters away from our small flat to a real office.