Video: Carl and Oliver of Rubato, in conversation

Friday, April 21st 2023
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One of the things I enjoy about this series is the way each conversation drifts onto grander topics. Even though many of the people are similar, and the questions don’t vary too much, we always end up discussing abstract, interesting ideas. 

With Oliver and Carl of Rubato, those ideas included how a style becomes timeless - why certain traditions like Ivy style are so consistently reinvented, and resonate in different cultures. And how much you want to define your brand - why they don’t like to be considered Swedish, but why some definitions and labels are inevitable. 

I think you’ll really enjoy it. For the first time I’ve also included a contents for the video, below, where you can see the topics we discuss. This will hopefully help you work out which sections you’ll find most interesting, and help find those sections later on. 

As ever, thank you to Mortimer House for hosting us, and to all the lovely PS readers who attended on the night, and made Oliver and Carl so welcome.




  • 1:10 – How they started the brand
  • 3:00 – Trying to find a knitwear manufacturer
  • 7:00 – The cut of the knits
  • 11:00 – Making in Japan and product development
  • 14:00 – The style, the vibe, of Rubato
  • 18:00 – The first photoshoot, clothing and art
  • 23:00 – Ivy style, without the baggage
  • 27:00 – Swedish style
  • 37:00 – Being labelled
  • 41:00 – Question: Advice on starting a brand
  • 47:00 – Question: Knitwear for life
  • 49:30 – Question: Being your own customer
  • 53:20 – Question: Does London have its own style?
  • 55:20 – Question: Would you ever do tailoring?

Previous interviews in the series:

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Peter Hall

Very interesting and stimulating .Rubato are a Swedish as Volvo ! But, Volvo are well designed,long lasting and have a lot going on ,in a subtle and understated way. I speak as a Volvo driver,so embrace your heritage guys.

I eagerly await the Rubato sack suit.


Nice conversation! By the way, are you wearing Belgravia loafers in suede? I am considering them with rubber soles for the gravel-covered streets in Stockholm…


great talk as always! love these guys.

does anybody have details on the field jacket worn by oliver?


The Real Mccoys and Orslow do something similar


Thanks! What about the „Polo“ underneath?


It’s a US Army P43 HBT jacket.
Kind regards,


thanks so much! best from berlin


Hi Oliver, hope you’re well. I’ve got the V neck in vintage white / ecru and absolutely love it! I generally where it in the “lookbook” style you have on the Rubato sites (chinos / casual trouser options) and am very happy with it. Out of curiosity, if you were going to go with a “high / low” style or wanted to wear it as part of a more dressed down look how would you do that?


I was wondering when this would drop, great to catch up on via the recording!

Saturday Rubato Pop Up tldr:
Got to meet and chat with 3 top blokes. Bought a sweater (it’s as great as the one I got as a present) and almost walked out with a lot of other things.

It was really nice meeting and talking to you Simon on Saturday afternoon (I was the one wearing the baseball cap). Carl and Oliver you were both fantastic too!

If anyone is on the fence about going to the pop ups I’d really recommend it if you have the chance. I’m glad I decided to go on a whim with the added bonus of a nice memory with the brand owners which makes the pieces I have that more special.

At the Rubato pop up it was really nice to talk to Oliver and Carl about the different products available, as well as their recommendations on fit and styling. Very welcoming and the passion and enthusiasm they have for their product and their customers was very heart warming.

Simon was much the same – polite and welcoming (however, readers be warned your wallet might be at risk as he can really turn on the charm. Still thinking about the Donegal overcoat Simon!). Simon was very gracious to give a lot of his time answering and discussing my questions as someone still at the start of figuring it all out. Readers are probably also happy to hear Simon also hinted at more upcoming PS collaborations, but I will leave it up to Simon to officially reveal that.

Going to the pop up was quite interesting. There is often negative misconceptions associated with the luxury clothing and menswear world like social/wealth demarcations so it was nice to see that it was just a bunch of fellow enthusiasts happy to talk with others and partake in this niche interest that they enjoy so much – Simon I wonder if you have further comments about this part, which might make for an interesting article topic.

In case readers might be interested in the fit.

If you have broad shoulders and a trim waist the sweaters they fit great:

1. Very comfy and the wool is nice and thick. True to their word when Carl told me they wanted it to be a enjoyable workhorse staple.

2. Fit is a V shape – a nice relaxed fit without being sloppy. Very comfortable to wear with no uncomfortable straining nice place like the back, chest, shoulders and arms, but without the awkwardness of excess fabric around the waist.

3. As Rubato has already stated. Best to wear with true high waisted trousers (12″+) at a minimum medium/medium-high rise (11″) in my experience.

Look forward to trying to make it to future pop ups and whenever Rubato stops by again. Thanks for bringing all these brands and people down to London Simon!


I really appreciate how much time you took out to chat too while helping out everyone else. A good firsthand experience where the rambling above might encourage someone that might feel they’re on the outside to get more involved with it all.

With things like going to prestigious institutions, the ability to access expensive/exclusive things, city jobs etc. it really easy to have certain prejudices coming in. However, it really does a disservice to the person and again hits home about the relationship building that you, Carl, Oliver and the others in the menswear industry talk about.


Hi Simon, can you tell us what jacket you’re wearing?


Really like the shorter knitwear aesthetic particularly when paired with a tailored jacket.


Looks great, doesn’t it? But the thickness is problematic, I’d love to see them add a sleeveless cardigan in a fine wool in the same cut, so it actually fits under a jacket

Matthew V

Another brilliant talk, thank you. Wish I could have been there and visited the pop up. I was actually in Stockholm the week before last, what a stylish city and nationality! A treasure trove for Menswear, but I can see the conservative element in dressing in Stockholm (and Sweden) versus more diverse places like London and New York, albeit it means everyone does seem well dressed. I wonder will Rubato open a bricks and mortar store one day?
Some great advice and insights into starting a brand too. A lot of the comments really resonated with me. Including the instinctive feel for what works or looks right in their eyes.

Alistair Bennet

Mr Compton
What has happened to your shirt collar? I thought you had a special way of making them so they didn’t collapse under a jacket?


On that note, what is your take on the sizing for these workshirts? They seem to be quite wide. Which size do you wear? And very interesting video interview.


I enjoyed this very much. Two sincere and likeable people, nudged with intelligent questioning to give interesting answers. I will definitely try to make one of these Q&As one day.
If anyone knows, I would be very interested to hear when the new chino colourway will appear on their website – I’m kicking myself for failing to organise my diary better to have allowed a visit to the pop up.


Apart from the conversation itself, really nice to see what all of you are wearing – Simon technically the smartest in tailoring, but the Rubato guys looking equally good, even though they’re in jeans and overshirts. The colour palette of everyone looks both very Rubato and very PS, love it!


Hi simon, 2 questions:

1) I understand you have the rubato workshirts. Do they soften in the collar and cuffs over wear/wash? They seem thicker/more structured in those areas than a normal shirt and I often like to roll my sleeves up. However, this is very hard with the thicker cuffs
2) What suede shoe is Oliver wearing?


Related to Rubato: Simon, what’s your take on their cashmere knitwear? Does it have the same body as their wool knitwear? I’d love something with a different hand than the thinner Luca Faloni cashmere knits I wear now (and of course, the Rubato cut is sublime).


Oliver honest question – do the knitwear and shirts fit you? You seem quite tall with a long torso for the shape, especially with the short body and sleeves.



They do! I wear an XL in most items being 190 cm tall. I wear a 52 chino and 34 jeans.

Hope this helps!


To build on that, at 194cm (and 96 kg) I think the Rubato knitwear is a perfect fit. It’s intended to wear with higher waisted trousers, and as long as you do I easily find it the most flattering knitwear I own. I don’t think the sleeves are short at all, quite the opposite.

I take the knitwear in XXL for a roomy fit, but could easily do XL as well.


Very interesting discussion, thanks! Simon, have you tried their new fireman’s jacket? If so, what do you think of it?


I recently picked up the Rubato fireman’s jacket. Leaving a review here, since Google brought me here when I was looking for opinions. I was thinking about the jacket for months and had the good luck of trying Carl’s at the NYC pop up. In short, it’s the best in class (water resistant, light weight jacket in natural materials) for me, a mid 20s guy who dresses mostly ivy. 
Contenders I have experience with are the PS wax Walker, Barbour Bedale and Rubato fireman’s. 
Wax Walker – I tried it at the pop up, even bought it, but returned in the end. It’s excellent in quality and design, and I think good value vs the market, but wasn’t a perfect fit for me . It’s heavier than I wanted even without the wool lining, but mainly, the style didn’t suit me. I thought of it in the same way I think of overcoats with set in sleeves – looks beautiful in general but a bit odd on me. I thought the length was a little too long and body too trim. Too structured, almost, due to the waist cinch (even fully undone) in combination with the shaped back panel. It’s a design I think I’ll love in 10 years, but not now. PS – love my PS raglan donegal, bought after trying at the pop-up. 
Bedale – looked good, but a couple (irrational?) things kept me away. First, the ubiquity. It’s vain, but I like that nobody else Is wearing the exact same thing. Second, the hole in the collar for the throat latch fastening. Painfully bright and asymmetrical right next to the face. 
Fireman’s jacket – It’s expensive for a cotton shell, but like everything else I have from Rubato, impeccable quality. Great fabric, beautiful chain stitched seams, excellent trimmings, etc. Most importantly though, I love the style. It works great with everything else I wear (straight cut jeans, army style chinos, even shorts, boots, loafers, canvas sneakers). The product page doesn’t do a great job of showcasing the style – when it’s not actually raining I like to fasten one clasp and slightly pop the collar; the fabric is the right mix of pliable and structured to look great while in motion. I thought the lobster claw clasps would be a bit of an affectation but they’re so practical and fun to use. At this point I implicitly trust the brand to deliver that elegant, casual look. One thing I would change though – the throat latch is sewn in one side of the collar and it flops out a bit too much with that side of the collar up. A flap that could be unfastened completely and stored separately, like on the PS donegal, would have been great.
Options I thought about but didn’t try – Tom Beckbe Tensaw (seems great if you like the style), Drake’s Coverall (I’m still a little too value conscious for Drake’s), a vintage 90’s Polo RL fireman’s jacket (couldn’t find one in a cut I liked) and the Real McCoy’s fireman’s jacket (probably same manufacturer as Rubato’s, but lined, more expensive, and not my preference in cut or color).


Evening Simon, I’m pretty much the same height/waist as you and took your advice on sizing when i recently purchased my rubato jeans. I’ve worn them a dozen times, not washed them yet but was wondering about how much to hem them by and where you would recommend? Could you tell me about chain stitching? How much have you had yours taken up and do you wear them with a cuff or without? Loads of questions…Sorry!


hi simon i know you own the rubato workshirts. Do you wear them like overshirts? I intend to and it is currently way too long for me. I’m meaning to shortern it and was wondering if i should keep the curved hem of the shirt or make it straight. What do you think?


Hi Simon, which workshirt by Rubato do you own? This one could be either a cream denim or the one labelled as alabaster and in linen I think.. Thanks, and great talk by the way.


Hi Simon,

have you tried on the Rubato Ware sweatshirt? What do you think of it? Any recommendations on size?


Thank you!

Your regular size is M?!

I usually wear M but in Rubato’s Standard Knotwear I wear L, because otherwise it’s a bit too short for me. Do you think M is better in this case, as it is cut longer?


Great, thank you.

Yes, I think L makes a flattering, more athletic look (slimmer and a bit broader, but without being too bulky).



Sweater arrived. So far I like it a lot and the fit is good (only the RW logo takes some time getting used to. Just out of interest, do you know the source of their reference for that logo?).
Did you notice any shrinkage when you washed it?


Hi Simon, Do you happen to know where I can get socks similar to the ones that Carl and Oliver were wearing that evening? Many thanks