Backstage OGER’s quality menswear

Oger is synonymous with top level menswear dressed for success from the Netherlands with a latin twist. Sander Lusink, son of founder Oger Lusink who left the company in the hands of his two sons to lead the way for a new generation, speaks with me on Oger’s new collections.

We are in a 40×30 m photo studio with a large catwalk setup where along with Martijn Lusink –  who is also RESPONSIBLE for the luxury with a flair style of the ‘’dressed for success collection” –  a make-up artist, photographer and several male models are also attending the set.
The ‘’ingredients’’ today: perfectly ordered racks and boxes with stylish handmade shoes, watches, ties and… suits.

Why this shoot?
Before we used all sorts of outdoor locations but we decided it was time for a studio shoot – we are far better able to use the material in different ways and present it as if we were doing a fashion show. In reality this is not possible seen the fact that we have so many possible outfits and combinations. We use a 39 megapixel Hasselblad- super sharp images that can be blown up to any extent.

What is the classic towards avant-garde spectrum of Oger?
The centre of our style is classic with a twist of modernism- we are trying to lean towards the edge of what is possible in relation to colours in a technical sense. The use of tone or colours is a key element.
I do fancy ‘’weakened tones’’ pastel-like tones – taupe, aubergine..

Are you not afraid this will be judged as too feminine?
Two years ago I would say yes. Today this has been generally accepted. It depends on how one combines them.

How did you grow up and what is the relation with fashion and clothing within the company and family?
When my brother and myself were little my mom used to dress us obviously. As she was professionally purchasing for the Society Shop (of which their father was commercial director from 1978-1986 ) we always were sort of ‘’tip top’’ and in the opinion of my classmates over the top. But it helped us to absorb and appreciate quality clothing from an early age.
My father Oger Lusink was founder and general manager of Oger and has been replaced by CEO/Managing Director Frans van der Kraan in 2009, a man with immense experience.
Martijn and myself  (31 and 33 ) are not really ready to continue the work my father did before – we are hoping to fully run the company in 7 years from now. My fields of interest are foremost marketing and communication and Martijn is the specialist in purchasing.

Why have you decided on Corneliani as a new  flagshipstore in Amsterdam?
Corneliani simply ‘’feels’’ very right for us. It has a warm attitude and approach. The basis for our company is the product and the service we make and give. Every now and then I step into a luxury brand store and I ‘m completely shocked by the interior and the floor staff!
My father calls them ‘’aquariums’’ ; shops that have an industrial grey tone feel and look with an emphasis on the products. One can easily duplicate a style like that. We tend to care for a classical warm touch, not too heavy and still being accessible for a larger audience.

I see- you need to be in control over who you employ and who is visiting the shop. It is the task of a ‘’tailor’’ to fully be at the client’s service. How do you deal with that issue?
First we do an intake – a sort of interview with a new client. I am curious about the way that person is used to dressing and what kind of occasion he needs a new suit for. For me that indicates also the possible price tag that goes with the choices he will make.
I make a selection of 3 suits, ties and shirts that I think are suitable for him and I generally ask if shoes are required with it – every now and then an overcoat and watch is added. Ties are most difficult to select.

How do you decide on the quality of a product?
My brother is the one who deals with these questions; form, colour and craftsmanship.
Some brands have an interesting price versus quality value. Although a particular coat of 300 euros does not have the handmade standards we know from handwork from Naples, it goes well with a 300 euro suit. We keep the spectrum wide.
We have a total of 52 brands in the stores in all price ranges.

How do you instruct the salespeople in relation to the international scale of possible clients?

For example : We have one who really knows how to use his ability in choosing what is right for a person in little time. He will say: ‘’You need this, this and that!’’ and then for example a Russian client will say : ‘’yes I DO need that !’’ And then: ‘’Ok: I will have them ready after retouch for you at five o’clock’’. Then that client will pick it up at five. Hard and fast business that is by getting your hands out of your pockets so to speak. It suits that particular client.

We can also make sure that a young man steps in and gets his first jobs’ suit. He might become just as successful as a well off business man who runs out with three Brioni suits of each 3000 euros. They all get the same ‘’egards’’ and treatment.

Oger photoshoot
Oger photoshoot

How well is OGER respected abroad?
We are part of  the IMG * group for 5 years. We just had our yearly meeting with all other companies in Berlin – it’s great to exchange ideas on the heart of our business with other top level companies of the world.

When did you once make the decision to wear the right suit in the wrong place?
Yep..! When I did an internship at Ajax as part of the communications team I was asked to be’’a bit more formal’’. The next day I wore a three-piece with suspenders and a funny pair of shoes. I guess – for a soccer club –  that was sligtly overdressed. It always is a match of the occassion and people you are meeting. But on a date with a woman ..always dress as you really are.

Oger has 4 shops in the Netherlands and one in Antwerp. A Corneliani flagshipstore was opened in autumn 2010 in Amsterdam. The stores also have a (smart) casual Oger Donna collection for women.

*The IMG is an exclusive group of like-minded family-owned and managed retailers who sell the world’s best and most stylish men’s and women’s apparel and accessories. The IMG shares ideas, information and friendship throughout the year. Only one member considered the best, most reputable and most compatible from each country is invited to join by consensus of the group.

Interview with Sander Lusink by Alexander Moust recorded in Amsterdam in 2010

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