New shop, outerwear and trousers at Saman Amel

Wednesday, December 23rd 2020
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Saman Amel have a new atelier in Stockholm. It’s on the corner: a small, ground floor space with a plate-glass window, worn wood and patinated brass. 

Inside, though, is all tonal chic. Perfectly positioned lamps and designer chairs. A colour palette picked to match the style of the clothing. 

The upholstery is even from Holland & Sherry. Or some of it.

I describe it thus because, despite the gradual release of Covid vaccines, it will probably be a while before you can go there yourself. So I thought it would be nice to see and hear about it. 

I was there in October just before the furniture went in. I also spent a fun hour in the old space - which they are still using - experiencing their other big news: expansion into outerwear, machine-washable trousers, and chunky knitwear. 

The more commercial side of this piece is a description of those new pieces, and my thoughts on them. 

The new outerwear is all made-to-order, so there are few images of it around. But it’s fairly easy to summarise them. There are three pieces: the City Jacket, the Field Jacket and the Vest. (Each accounts for one row in the image above.)

All three are chic and simple, with the only detailing functional. As you’d probably expect from Saman Amel. 

The City Jacket, for example, is a thigh-length, raglan-shouldered, fly-front jacket with a turn-down collar. There are poppers and a zip, there are hip pockets with a side entry. But little else. 

It is deliberately stripped back and luxurious. The brand it's most likely to remind you of is Loro Piana. The advantages being that (arguably) it looks younger and more modern, and (inarguably) it is better value for money. 

The City Jacket is €1500 in nylon, €2200 in merino wool and €3000 in cashmere. Expensive, but Loro Piana or equivalent would be double that, and you’d be hard pressed to say how it was better quality. 

I have to confess, I’m not sure I’d wear the City Jacket. For that length and style of coat, I’d probably prefer a wax jacket. I prefer wool and cashmere for longer pieces, and wouldn’t wear the nylon. 

But I do admire it, and would recommend it to anyone for whom it is their style. In some ways, a piece like this is much harder to design than a tailored jacket: there is more freedom, more room to go wrong. Artful simplicity is not easy. 

The coats are all MTO rather than MTM: they’re designed to be in set sizes, with small adjustments to things like the length.

This is different to most Saman Amel products, which are MTM - and some outwear too, like my split-raglan coat

The other outerwear piece is the Field Jacket, different from the City Jacket in its four front pockets, drawstring waist, cuff and hood. 

In the image above I’m wearing it in the nylon, and its similarly pleasing and practical. Again, I probably wouldn’t wear it personally - as I’d only have nylon for a real outdoors/hiking piece - but again that doesn’t stop me recommending it. 

Interestingly, the thing that puts me off such pieces the most in the city is the hood. It’s obviously very useful, but it feels like the one thing that separates this from being more elegant outerwear. I’d always prefer some form of hat, even if it were a baseball cap. 

As I write that, of course, I remember the exception, which is a duffle coat. The only defence there is perhaps that a hood is integral to its look. Whereas on a field jacket you can do without. 

New item number three is the Vest. And you’ll quickly realise there’s a theme here. 

The Vest I’m wearing above is in navy cashmere - beautiful material, just the right shade of navy. Great length too, and the perfect weight to layer under a jacket. It is €1000 in nylon, €1300 in merino and €1500 in cashmere.

I also really like my look above, with the vest zipped all the way up. It has something in common with the elegance of a roll neck under a jacket. 

I’m not so keen on the vest when unzipped though. In much the same way as a zipped collar has always been my least favourite permutation of knitwear. The zip looks a bit too technical, and not as fitting with a tailored jacket as buttons, or just a crew neck. 

This last opinion is more subjective than the others, but I do also think the Vest is a slightly less useful piece. Navy is great over almost every colour of jacket, but not necessarily under one. You need more colours of knitwear than coat.

Speaking of which, the new chunky knitwear is lovely, and unusual. 

Saman and Dag have invested in a new, manual loom for it - the kind where products are referred to as ‘hand framed’. You can see images of them in my visit to Corgi knitting in Wales

This type of knitting gives a denser, more malleable feel, as well as flexibility of production. Because each piece is made individually, it’s easier to tweak designs or make adjustments. There are also fewer technical restrictions: SA are experimenting with using a finer yarn to make up these chunky knits, for example. 

The management of all this is helped by the fact that the machine is in Stockholm, rather than at the knitwear factory in Italy. That will make things easier to tinker with. 

I tried a crew and a V-neck, grey and caramel, and ended up ordering a V-neck in cream. Cricket-style, but not obviously so. 

And finally - for some most importantly - the washable trousers. 

This is an area a lot of readers have been asking about recently, and I’m sure we’ll see more of in the next year: bringing together the fit of MTM/bespoke with the easy care of washable RTW. 

Stoffa have introduced a version of their trousers that are washable; I’m experimenting with a pair from a tailor with a simpler waistband; and chinos like those from Rubato have a similar mix of smartness and ease of care. 

I’m not sure the cotton Saman Amel are using at the moment is for me: it has 1% stretch, and an unusual horizontal weave. Dag said that the stretch is what customers expect, but I’d personally prefer them without. I also think it makes the trouser immediately more casual, as it takes away any possibility of a sharp line. 

But these are at an early stage, so it will be interesting to see how they develop. 

Of course, the advantage for Swedish readers is they can go and see the trousers in the new Saman Amel atelier, now. 

There’s a lot I could include about that interior decoration, including the Swedish-built furniture, the upholstery and the art. It was certainly something Saman took great pleasure in exploring. 

But that’s probably too much information for a post that has already attempted to summarise years of work and several hours of discussion. I’m sure Saman and Dag will be more than happy to talk all about it to anyone that visits the shiny new shop. 

Lastly, for those that can't visit, Saman Amel are putting together an online system for ordering MTO pieces of knitwear, trousers, and eventually outerwear too (not tailoring). That should be ready early next year.

Photography: Milad Abedi, except interiors shots, Wavy Studios (@wavy.se)

samanamel.se/pages/outerwear-aw20

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Matthew V

All so elegant. The clothes are pretty good too!

This kind of tailoring feels very relevant to our modern lives.

Gus

As commendable as these designs are, albeit from the photos, Loro Piana is the undeniable standard for quality both in terms of design and materials. After all, how many more brands are going to copy or tweak the timeless Loro Piana outerwear designs? Not sure it is worth quoting Oscar Wilde here…

P Johnson, Anglo Italian, Saman Amel… They have all tried and their products are or will be off whether it is the positioning of the collar, the quality of the zips, the positioning of the pockets, the slight piling of the cashmere. No wonder the Loro Piana prices are what they are! Some would say that it is value for money.

Then again, can’t Icers just go back to 2010 prices?!

Willem

Brilliant line: “that made me look like a 60-year-old man from the 1980s”. Might come in handy sometime. Hope you’re not claiming copyright on it.

Gus

Thanks for replying. A horsey jacket is quite an odd purchase for someone in their early 30s. A navy cashmere icer would not be though and is a jacket for life.

I am always prepared to be proved wrong – but on the basis of all the copies, reinterpretations or just pure plagiarism which I have seen and tried, I am confident that Loro Piana is still very much the standard. Unfortunately, and like most luxury items, it comes at an eye watering premium.

Giancarlo

I am pretty sure Saman Amel gear is made by Sartorial Carrara (which is half owned by P Johnson), no? Assume the quality would be about the same as PJ’s hand done range if so.

Giancarlo

Ah just read your articles, I am believing it is Saman Amels Toscano line that is made in Sartoria Carrara like the P, Johnsons so all makes sense, thank you for the reply. I know one tailor at Carrara so this is why!

Parker

Agreed, though I would add Brunello Cucinelli aswell. If you go through some of Cucinelli’s lookbooks from the late 90s to the mid-00s you can clearly see where the inspiration has been drawn from. Same colour palette, same style of knitwear, same fabrics and very similar outerwear pieces. Begs the questions if there really is a need for another itertaion of the same while the Italians still manage to do it best.

Rabb

If I was seeking a London MTM tailor for 2 10oz suits navy and grey, 2 tweed jackets and a single breasted warm weather blazer; who would you suggest for quality of fit, finish and value for money, house style not an issue?

Rabb

Just thinking of a capsule wardrobe that is based around the same silhouette. Regarding house style, fit is always the highest consideration and if you are recommending a tailor I would assume they understand the need for correct proportion, simply a classic cut. I don’t seek true bespoke because I’m looking at the real essentials.
Thanks for your guidance.

Jason

It is nice to see independent , creative brands develop specific looks.
In this case they are doing something really interesting.
I can see completely the parallels with Loro Piana albeit their look has a modernity and avant garde feel to it that is uniquely Scandinavian.
The look is not for me but I’m sure young aspiring Eurocrats will be lining up !

J

Hello,

Thabks for the post Simon. I’m just wondering.. Is there something about washable cotton trousers these days? Am I missing something? I don’t think it’s a big deal.
I have rtw and tailored cotton trousers and I have them machine washed all the time. It’s no problem. That’s just my opinion.

About the 1 procent stretch.. My experience is that they bag a bit les at the knees and hold a crease better if there is a bit of stretch in them. As far as fading go’s in the cotton trousers: I never noticed any difference, 1 or 2 procent tretch or not.

I’m sure these guys are very passionate about there product and put a lot of thought in it. Still, I don’t really see wy you have to pay that much money for a product like this. It feels like Prada/Dior like to me.

Sorry for sounding so negative I’m just wondering what you think and trying to understand. I’m not here to push buttons or anything like that. 🙂

Cheers!

Ben R

So the SA washable trousers are MTM, and not MTO? Just wanted to make sure my understanding was correct.

Are they only available in the stretch cotton? Or can you specify another cotton material when ordering?

mauser

Sometimes I do find it a bit unfair to bash designer clothing as some of my purchases from ten+ years back hold up so well like no other, just like the usual PS Brands. Not talking about handwork etc though. Of course the price point back then was lower but OG Helmut Lang prior to 2006 and, for example, Gucci prior to 2010, likewise Prada, McQueen etc that I still wear are, if not pristine, still reasonably smart and the garments look great also in quality. I recall similar bashing already ten years ago for the big brands but on average, in my experience, the price back then equalled to a fairly high quality and not an irreasonable price quality ratio. Could be different nowadays.

Fatih

I appreciate the creativity and in some way the elegance as well. At the same time, all their stuff is too clinical and technical. The same for their new rooms. I can‘t see any character.

Fred

I have to agree. If one already has a navy or grey jacket, I don’t see why they would need to ever shop here again. It’s all as bland as the decor.

Raphael

Hi Simon,
The jackets look lovely and as a fan of the Loro Piana aesthetics and style, I appreciate a younger brand picking up this look and adding their own twist to it. I find the pricing to be a bit aggressive though with 1,500 EUR for a nylon jacket and more than double of this for the cashmere version. Many good bespoke tailors will be happy to produce a bespoke overcoat at this price point and in my view a RTW garment should be priced below this bespoke level. With Saman Amel being available at Mr. Porter now it feels a little as if the brand is shifting towards more high-margin products such as denim jeans for 500 EUR or cotton trousers at almost 600 EUR- all RTW. I hope they will overthink their pricing for those new outerwear products over time. Loro Piana may be at a lower quality level than Saman Amel but it is still Loro Piana, a brand with an enormous status and retail shops that are second to none. A status that I think Saman Amel still has to earn.

A Borda

Having spent time looking at the photos of the models in the lookbooks of the Swedish brands (Saman Abel, Berg & Berg, Rubato) that have been featured a lot lately on PS as well as the photos of people behind those brands, I can’t help but having the impression that they are trying too hard. I appreciate this is deeply subjective, but the Swedish look to me comes across as quite affected and unnatural.

A Borda

For me, the impression isn’t that much different than the too short trousers, undone monk strap, unbottoned cuff look that has somehow become synonymous with Italians. (However, truly stylish Italians don’t dress that way.) clearly it isn’t the same but it makes me have the same reaction.

Perhaps the deeper issue is featuring people who work in the industry and need to act as a model for their brands. In that respect it would be interesting to see more people featured on PS who aren’t somehow part of the industry.

Merry Christmas Simon.

Bolaji

Hey Simon, Long time ‘no comment’, compliments of the season. Love the details on your chinos, which I always call: ‘look, no belt!’ But you need to have the waist to pull it off. Enjoyed your crossover into interiors too which is an extension of exquisite craftsmanship. Such a shame you couldn’t pull off the pop-up this year … but a piece on what 2021 has in stock for us all will be a great start to the new year … or how we should approach it from a business/entrepreneurial perspective and buying decisions (clothes) should the WFH trend continue. Has 2020 changed the the way we dress, work and socialise forever? How are you going to be approaching 2021 and beyond with the pandemic in mind? Apologies, I’m just in a retrospective mood! B

Diego

Hi Simon – good post.

I like your comment about the hood putting you off. I have the same issue and my style is as casual as it can be, whilst keeping some degree of dignity (e.g. no tracksuits nor similar). However, hoods are incredibly practical. I am currently trying to buy long jacket/coat and can’t decide between a raglan and a hooded Mac. Raglans are great but I just think that I will not use it as much because of the lack of hood. On the other hand, the hooded mac just does not look as well. A classic function vs style conundrum.

MB

The offering looks very nice. I think I’d also greatly prefer the field jacket without the hood but it’s very tempting (although I couldn’t see a price for it). The knitwear and trousers look great and I’d be interested to see where the pricing ends up on those too when trunk shows become a thing again.

I also like the vest. Not quite sure I can justify the space in my wardrobe but it’s very pretty…

Do the outerwear items use any wind/water resistant layer with the merino/cashmere options?

JB

Simon, on their Instagram SA has indeed shown the city jacket in water repellent wool, so I believe it’s at least an option.

J

Thanks for your comment Simon.
I understand you point about the cotton trousers. Thanks.

It’s interesting how you mentioned that Loro Pyjama 😉 is probably twice the price.
For me personally it doesn’t matter how (insanely) expensive a different brand makes a similar product. It’s still a rtw nylon jacket. I just can’t get my head around prices like this.
There are people who buy it just because it’s expensive, and that is what I ment with Dior or Prada ect. I know they are not there for quality but they do sell rtw products for insane prices too. There is a type of person that’s just there for the prices and “luxury feel”. This feels a bit the same to me.

Cheers.

Victor

I’ve been a customer since 2016. They have made my two suits, three pairs of trousers and a couple of shirts. Every purchase has been a delight. You get a lot more than just the product. You also get their excellent eye for fabrics, styling and measurements, things which have been deficient in other services I have tried at similar price levels.

I own a pair of the cotton trousers that are discussed in this article. I wear them with knitwear, and they are excellent for that purpose. If you want something exceptionally smart, you can choose other fabrics.

Tamaki

Hello Simon, thanks for another article!
Where would you put the garments from Cifonelli, not the bespoke products but those RTW that he offers? I see some very nice and interesting articles they offer that appears really nicely made (though hard to tell to much, from a mere photo). And in terms of style, while not all of them are appealing, there are some very nice designs that I think are on par with Loro Piana or Saman Amel being very “chic”.
An example I find very interesting is both their turtle neck, a very thick and knitted brown turtleneck, and his cashmere bomber.
I believe you didn’t cover this RTW knitts from Ciffoneli yet so in what is your opinion on them?
Cheers, merry Christmas

NHan

The nylon hooded Field Jacket seems like a riff on a Stone Island parka – albeit Saman Amel’s version is stripped back and with better finishing.

However, I seem to remember seeing an old photo of Saman actually mixing Stone Island with tailoring – now that was fresh. His brand for sure has many qualities but it feels a little “Rakeish” and has become homogenised with slightly naff Swedish influencers and their general herd mentality when it comes to dressing.

Also, £450 for a pair of their denim jeans on Mr Porter is frankly ridiculous when they are not really able to properly articulate the value proposition for that product.

Sean S

What shirt are you wearing in the bottom photos?

Ram

I wonder how you might compare these to RTW offerings from a brand like SEH Kelly, acknowledging that the styles are not quite the same yet there are some similarities to the outerwear and possibly even trousers?

Also, if I might say so, the title almost sounded like an advertisement provided how often you have talked about them recently. The content indeed strikes me as balanced, as usual, but I feel that you haven’t always covered other brands with such regularity?

Ram

Of course, I never felt that was the case, more of a question of whether your personal affection for the people behind is bringing too much of a highlight compared to some other brands.

If possible, I would like to ask for more details about how you would compare the make and finishing of these MTO Saman Amel pieces to outerwear from Ring Jacket, Chrysalis, Private White VC and SEH Kelly. Just trying to understand if they’re superior in those regards of it is more of a question of the use of dense, fine knits of cashmere and the like which drive up the prices.

Not that there’s anything wrong with going for a luxury pricing but I have a hard time putting the prices in context for some of those.

Ed

Hi Simon, I really like the aesthetic of brands like saman Amel, but I find it hard to take the jump and order anything from them as the product pictures aren’t clear enough for me to see exactly whether I like the clothes enough. Lutays is the same . I really want to want one of their jackets but what can I do if there are no pictures that help me understand the length or cut. Several recent purchases happen to have been items worn by Greg at no man walks alone in his weekly drop videos – because I can see what they actually are. Regards,

JB

Simon just a curious question: any reason in particular why the shots of you trying the jackets on are cropped in a way you can’t see the full garment? Would’ve been nicer to see the design in full.

Rups

Hi Simon was interested in finding more about pieces in the 3rd and 4th photos from the bottom. Where is the grey(?) jacket you are wearing from in that photo you are pointing with your diary in hand? Anthology? Also what kind of cloth is Saman wearing in that double breasted? Do you know the book its from by any chance?

Neville

Need to indulge. Way off Savile Row! But I’m so impressed. So their feature in departures magazine and just have to get a suit