Video: Carl and Oliver of Rubato, in conversation
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:
- Tony Sylvester, on style and subcultures
- Ethan Newton, on the evolution of Bryceland’s
- Jamie Ferguson, on his career in photography
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…
Yes I am
great talk as always! love these guys.
does anybody have details on the field jacket worn by oliver?
It’s a vintage two-pocket US army shirt. I’m sure someone else will be able to provide the precise number, but they’re pretty similar to each other in terms of design and use
The Real Mccoys and Orslow do something similar
Thanks! What about the „Polo“ underneath?
That’s a Rubato workshirt, the new navy one
It’s a US Army P43 HBT jacket.
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!
You’re very, very welcome Will and so pleased you got so much out of it. Nice article idea on class/wealth issues around luxury clothing too
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.
Thank you Will
Hi Simon, can you tell us what jacket you’re wearing?
It’s one I haven’t covered, a new one by The Anthology in the PS Shetland tweed
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
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.
Lovely to hear Matthew. They’ve said there are no current plans for a permanent store, no
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?
This is a Rubato work shirt, not a bespoke one. Wonderful in many ways, but not with as high a collar as I would pick with bespoke
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 wear a Small, they do come up a little big. However, at any size I would have the body tapered – that would be the case with a lot of RTW shirts, though workwear-inspired ones are always going to be wider
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!
Thanks Mateusz, I didn’t think about that
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?
1) They do soften a bit, but they’re always going to be fairly substantial, because the material is.
2) It’s a Belgian Loafer
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).
Yes it does have that same body to it, it’s a thicker gauge than the Faloni, and a denser knit too
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 have, and it’s beautifully made, as you would expect from them. From a style point of view I found it hard to make up my mind.
The material is great, I love the stiffness of it and the practicality. The navy is also wonderfully dark. But I’ve never been a big fan of fireman-style jackets, unlike them and other friends of mine. This might change my mind, but for the moment I held off. Maybe I’ll fall onto their side of the fence when I see it being worn a bit more.
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!
I’d give them one wash before hemming. It’s definitely worth getting them chain stitched – they don’t look like jeans otherwise. Clutch Cafe will do it for you.
In terms of length, work out from other jeans or trousers what inside leg you need (measure the inside leg seam) and have them done to that length, plus whatever turn-up you want. I have a little turn-up usually, 3cm or so
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?
I do wear them sometimes as overshirts, yes. I’d keep the curved hem myself