Swedish retailer Weekday has arrived in Amsterdam. Having taken up residence in a majestic 19th century townhouse in the city's centre, the shop's innovative light fixtures and graphic wallpaper well reflect its unique offerings. Along with its five in-house brands, Weekday features seasonal collaborations with independent designers who share Weekday's progressive design ideas, resulting in a signature synthesis of high fashion and streetwear.
Weekday Amsterdam Entrance.
Weekday describes itself as, "An unconventional and uplifting place where good music, great garments and high spirits meet." Unconventional is the key word for avid trend seekers, who are moving away from mass produced apparel that is easily recognisable by their peers. Weekday's customer base want to stand out - preferably by paying less for great value.
Such sentiments are precisely what Ōrjan Andersson, co-founder and a designer for Weekday, had in mind when he created Cheap Monday, a hip denim line at an accessible price - originally exclusively available at Weekday stores. Andersson felt there was a gap within the denim market and, "A need for cheaper, but still fashionable, jeans," an attitude that extended beyond denim.
In 2000, together with Adam Friberg, the creative duo opened a small second-hand shop in suburban Stockholm named Weekend (the shop was only open on Saturdays and Sundays). From those humble beginnings, Weekend gained popularity and opened its first big shop, Weekday, in central Stockholm in 2002. While Weekend stores no longer exist, the move was a successful jump for the company while still retaining its primary goal: to stock a mix of high end labels and smaller, independent fashion brands at an accessible price (second-hand merchandise is still up for sale, under the label Weekday Vintage). Weekday now has 21 locations in six countries and, in 2008, became a subsidiary of Swedish retail giant, H&M.
Weekday's current residence in Amsterdam has a regal history of its own. Built in 1883, the building was previously home to Prins Hendrik der Nederlanden during his marriage to Queen Wilhelmina, the longest reigning head-of-state in the Netherlands. The interior was redesigned by Berlin-based duo, Pierre Jorge Gonzalez and Judith Haase, who were progressive and experimental in their approach, while still maintaining functionality and sophistication - a perfect match for Weekday's own concept.
Among recent partner collaborations with Weekday, Christophe Lemaire is a name that stands out: head designer of Hèrmes and, more recently, of his eponymous label. Lemaire's preferred way of living reverberates in his current Weekday collection. Featuring, "uncluttered basics," with a "cozy fullness," in an interview with Weekday, Lemaire emphasised the importance of "mixing elements to create different silhouettes," for a collection that is both timeless and convertible.
Currently, Weekday retails five in-house brands: MTWTFSS Weekday, Weekday Vintage, MTWTFSS Collection, Cheap Monday and Storemade. In addition, independent labels and designer collections are refreshed each season, intentionally following a seasonal contract with Weekday and are not otherwise related to the store.
MTWTFSS Weekday is a collection distinguished by sharp silhouettes and features shoes, underwear and accessories, where as Weekday Vintage is a careful selection of second-hand garments, which are reminiscent of the store's concept from its early days. MTWTFSS Collection is based on tailored design, with a selection of updated classics for both men and women with a strong focus on quality materials such as wool, silk, cashmere and fine cotton. Cheap Monday began as an in-store brand and established itself as an independent label, currently being sold in over 35 countries. It is best known for its affordable denim collection, and is arguably one of the first brands to have introduced the "skinny" into our wardrobes - I am convinced we all have one pair, somewhere.
Garments labelled "Storemade" are hand-made by staff in-store at every location, featuring original prints each week. The shop's latest project, aptly named Zeitgeist, is weekly collection of unique prints that comments on current societal issues and events. A recent politically-inclined print that referenced long-time Spanish mayor, Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo, sparked a small controversy. The print, "Food to the Poor. No world hunger. Juan Manuel Sanchez Gordillo," resulted in Weekday's parent company, H&M, issuing a public apology to those who were offended by the message. Remaining shirts were pulled from stores, but the print can still be viewed on Weekday's website.
Denim at Weekday Amsterdam.
When haut monde meets affordability, the Dutch are rather pleased - as long as value remains intact. A close comparison can be made with the Danish label Won Hundred. Its founder, Nikolaj Nielsen, was very confident in his decision to place a flagship store in Amsterdam. It's quite simple, really: the Dutch, like the Danish, are roughly the same height, follow similar street style trends, and share a similar history and culture.
To the dismay of non-European followers, Weekday's merchandise is not available for sale through an online store. The good news is that there are plenty of Cheap Monday retailers across the globe - 1,800 to be precise. If you're an avid lover like myself, there is still ample opportunity to get your hands on their "Second Skin" model. Ladies, put away those leggings, it's back to basics once again - every day of the week.
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