The future unfolds: Serac
”I’ve been quite concerned about over-production and over-consumption. When you create a brand from scratch, you have an obligation to deliver responsible products.”
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SERAC Oslo, Norway
Tore has a checkered background. He has studied both design and entrepreneurship. He has had internships at NASA and in Silicon Valley (”my very first taste of the start-up culture”). Professionally, he has designed trolleys at Stokke, outerwear at Helly Hansen, and prior to starting Serac, he worked with the concept development team at Schibsted, Norway’s largest media house. The variation in jobs and positions is a good foundation for starting your own brand, he says.
— When I started at Helly Hansen I came from a lead designer role at Stokke. I had quite a struggle the first months feeling overqualified, as my role was more assisting others. But in light of today’s start-up challenges, dealing with all aspects of the business personally, I’ve come to realize that those initial three months was worth it.
The idea behind SERAC was to create outerwear that lasts over time. The first line of outerwear consists of the T-line, a series of down insulated winter products, developed in Norway and produced in Italy. The shapes are classic — the parka, the bomber — while fabrics and functionality are designed to make the wearer ”move with no restrictions but look the part for your urban every day”.
— Responsible products in my mind must relate to the very world we live in, both dependent on the wearer’s taste and style as much as on materials and quality. Responsibility for us means building products with functions you will cherish, a versatile style you can use in many if not all settings, a comfort you will prefer, and a lifetime which eventually contributes to a lower consumption.
What is the greatest obstacle you’ve had to overcome to create your brand?
— When starting up any business, budgets are strict, and you will need to do many if not all the work yourself for a period. You want this new brand of yours to excel on all aspects, but the day has only 24 hours. Acknowledging that you cannot do equally well in all areas at the same time is a hard one for me, and I’ve overcome this so far, both by narrowing our focus to a conceivable minimum, and by finding the very best skilled collaborators in an affective set-up for our business.
What is your perspective on sustainability?
— It’s really much more complex than using recycled material. Sustainability is a matter of looking further and having a totally holistic view on the manufacturing process. As an example: How sustainable is it to use recycled fabrics if you are doing contemporary pieces? You could use low impact materials produced in Asia, but you manufacture the finished good in Italy — how sustainable is that the total picture? For SERAC, the level of product refinement we would like to achieve in our developments going forward, it is quite demanding to figure out how to achieve it with as low impact as possible.
Tell us about the collection?
— The T-line is our core line, subject to evolutional improvements. We use a weather proof 3L waxed cotton from British Millerain, a fabric that will hold over time, and create patina individually moulded to the wearer.
— Then we have the DeTour line, which debuts Winter 2019, will contain more contemporary designs, and be our window to experiment with materials, aesthetics and technical solutions. DeTour is manufactured in Taiwan, whom along with Hong Kong has announced their goal to be the sustainable manufacturing capitals of the world, and we aim to source most materials from this region as well.
What are your plans for the future?
— For the next couple of years, we will focus purely on outerwear. The T-line, produced in Italy will evolve, and we are planning to expand it to a total of nine styles over time. My strongest motivation, and biggest challenge going forward, is to find the optimal balance between product and material qualities, and the expected lifespan with a feasible environmental impact.SeracHelly Hansen