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fall 2009

Men's business wear for the ones who think alternative

In October 2009, the Graz (Austria) based brand Dresscode21 has presented itself with an interesting concept: creating men's business wear that express alternative ways of thinking; in fashion as well as in business. A good reason to investigate further.

Swedish born, since two years in Austria living Evelina Lundqvist, CEO Dresscode21, has answered the questions about the founders, the idea behind, the designers, the elaborated website, the product names, and if Dresscode21 plans to offer shirts for women too.

Question: Dr. Reinhard Willfort und MSc. Renate Willfort have founded Dresscode21. On your website you are listing several partners such as BIOMED d.o.o. - for material testing and design development, FH Joanneum - information design for surveys, research and service design etc. Why are these cooperation partners important for a product such as men shirts?

Evelina Lundqvist: Dresscode21's core competences are design, marketing and business development. Our partners represent competences which we don't have in the company but are essential to our ideas. For us, the best way of moving fast is to do things we are good at yourself and getting support from others to do the things they do better. We highly value our partners and the ideas and feedback they give us since our Business Shirts are a new product on the market.

Question: When have you started to develop the idea of Dresscode21?

Evelina Lundqvist: The idea was born in 2007. Dr. Reinhard Willfort, the founder of Dresscode21 is working within knowledge management and he didn't feel authentic presenting new ideas and talking about the future while wearing a tie. For him, a tie symbolises old ways of thinking and doing business and he wanted something to wear which made him feel and look good at the same time. He took his idea to the Modeschule in Graz and some students there developed the first sketches of what the new tie-less shirt could look like.

Question: Who is the designer of the shirts?

Evelina Lundqvist: The designs of the Business Shirts is developed by the Dresscode21 team in cooperation with the designers Marietheres Stegmüller (AUT) and Sanja Veličković (SLO) and the material testing expert Dr. Daniela Zavec Pavlinić (SLO).

Question: The shirts are looking very comfortable.

Evelina Lundqvist: They are very comfortable! The textile is a mix of cotton and the Austrian invention TENCEL, which is similar to viscose - but a lot smarter. The moisture management is perfect. No sweat and no bad smells. Perfect for the busy travelling business man. You don't even have to iron the shirt.

Question: When was the first shirt produced?

Evelina Lundqvist: The first prototypes were produced during the autumn of 2008. We're constantly developing the shirts to fit the needs of our customers. A new version of the long sleeved shirts will be released later this winter.

Question: Your website is very modern; you have an own community where male protagonists are portrayed with statements about fashion, you have a twitter feature, a blog. How important is the internet nowadays for brand building?

Evelina Lundqvist: The most important mean of marketing is relationships. That's where all marketing begins. Storytelling between people spreads the message. Internet is just a marvelous extension of all relationship possibilities. For us, this means, that we can reach a lot more people in a shorter time than we could've done before the Internet. And moreover, they can reach us. Successful Internet business models are always about two - or more - ways communication. The feedback which we get from our customers via Internet and face-to-face is what keep us developing and building our brand. So, to answer the questions: Internet is superduper important for building a brand - but relationships and people are more important.

Video Austrian computer scientist Hermann Maurer, Professor at the Institute for Information Systems and Computer Media (IICM/Graz University of Technology) with research areas like digital libraries, usability, or e-learning is author of scientific articles and books as well as science-fiction. In the video, he speaks about his clothing style (he wears since many years no tie) and that he likes the idea to find easier shirts that fit to his style.

Question: One of your shirts is called ‘Viralism’. Another one is called – only for Austrians easy to understand – ‘Murinsel’, and the third one is named ‘First Generation’. Are these shirts the`’First Generation’ of a collection of men’s wear? Why have you chosen these names?

Evelina Lundqvist: The names Viralism and First Generation are actually the result of a name competition we had on Dresscode21's opening party last year. Viralism stands for Viral as in Viral marketing with an -ism attached to it. First Generation states that this is the first version of the Business Shirt. We named the third one Murinsel after the artificial island in Graz where we held Dresscode21's opening party.

Question: Do you plan shirts for women too?

Evelina Lundqvist: We always get this question. Personally I think we should. But as a marketer I'm sceptical. I think it's good for the marketing to stick to a simple concept which is easy to explain to people. But there are many opinions about this in the office... we'll see what happens. One of the reasons we started Dresscode21 was also because there are so many alternatives for women already. As a business women you have a wide range of options. Ditto for men is very limited... t-shirt, polo shirt, shirt or shirt and tie... quite boring. Dresscode21 is a fresh breeze for those looking for an alternative.


Source: Original article with image on


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