After-market watch straps keeps growing as a trend, with men and women looking for “new shoes” for their watches to change or freshen up the look of them. If you follow any lifestyle, menswear or luxury watch blogs, you’re sure to see various boutique brands offering new, creative or more affordable alternatives to the watch straps offered by the watch manufacturers. We’ve even covered a couple boutique brands already on our blog.
One brand that instantly grabbed my attention over the holiday shopping blitz was NYC-based SUIGENERIC. Just launched last summer, they’ve already seen plenty of hype and praise for their original designs and craftsmanship. With their website’s “about us” page creating more intrigue than answers, I was able to get a hold of Mike from their team for an interview:
Simon: Hey Mike glad to discover your new brand. To get us started, what’s up with the name?
Mike: Hi Simon, Suigeneric is a play between the Latin phrase “sui generis”, which means ‘one of a kind’ and Generic. We want to reinterpret and put a unique, fresh twist on otherwise generic objects – such as watchstraps, hence the name.
Simon: What’s your role and who else is part of your team?
Mike: We are a small upstart that’s based in NYC and I have a partner in Seoul, Korea and we do a little bit of everything together. I have a sales/merchandising background so I do more of sales and branding and my partner, who studied fashion design, is more invested in the design side of things.
Simon: What the story behind Suigeneric?
Mike: My partner and I are childhood friends who go way back and we always wanted to do something together at some point. We were both fans of military inspired watches that with replaceable nato straps and found that the straps you would find in the market were either striped nylons or expensive leather ones. Not that anything is wrong with either of those but we felt we could bring something new to the table by applying diverse patterns and new materials, and ultimately bring more of a lifestyle concept to the strap market with reasonable price points.
Simon: What makes your straps unique and what’s the process behind them?
Mike: We take pride in the fact that we are the first to incorporate waxed cotton – a water-repellent fabric that was used by sailors back in the day to coat vessel sails – into watchstraps. At the same time, we wanted to push the envelope when it comes to the designs and patterns and used different patterns such as leopard prints to digital printed photo images on the straps. We also paid a lot of attention to quality and detail and we carefully hand wax finish each piece.
Simon: Do you plan to explore new materials in the future of just focus on your specialty for now?
Mike: We are planning slowly expand our line while retaining the same creative approach behind our name. Small leather goods are definitely something we are thinking of and we’re going to release a small capsule collection of t-shirts this summer. Our focus will stay on combining inventive design approach and quality together and will stay true to our original vision.
Simon: Your Inaugural Collection put you in the spotlight, with detail, style and color like no other straps I’ve seen. Can you share the highlights with our readers and what inspired them?
Mike: One of the main inspirations for the inaugural collection was a series of paintings by Josef Albers called ‘Homage to the square’. His use of color and precise proportions heavily influenced our blanket stripe models. Also we tried to reach a balance point by offering a wide spectrum of designs from more daring leopard prints to subdued horizontal stripes.
Simon: You also have just made your pre-spring collection available that includes some classic colors and patterns I’m sure our readers will enjoy, please fill them in.
Mike: We took more of a refined approach this time by applying classic plaid patterns such as houndstooth and herringbone. Colors were also more understated reflecting the season. Although they’re under the name ‘pre-spring collection’, I believe they will become a staple in our line as the response has been tremendous and we plan to keep them and also come up with variations of them continuously.
Simon: Since those are your “pre-spring” straps, can we expect more to be released for spring?
Mike: Yes we will release our spring collection soon and it will have more nautical-inspired designs and brighter colors – white, blue, and red are the primary color palette. We did some bold photo image digital prints as well and we are very pleased with how they came out.
Simon: You mentioned to me some collaborations with two very cool brands, can you share a bit about these projects with our readers?
Mike: We met with the guys from French surf brand Cuisse De Grenouille last summer and they loved our straps. The collaboration – which will be release this month, will have their interpretations of our blanket stripe straps and their own signature wave patterns. Please check back on our website for the release. We are also working with Swiss watchmaker Speake-Marin as well. We’re going to supply the straps for their new MKII watches. The owner, Peter Speake-Marin is originally from the UK and the watch will be a reflection of his background. Under this theme, we took inspiration from British Royal Air Force and made special zulu-style straps for them.
Simon: Thanks for your time Mike. I’m excited to see what you guys come out with next, so make sure to keep us updated.
Mike: Thank you so much! Really appreciate it.
For more details, ordering info and stockists, please visit: SUIGENERIC.com.