The founder series:
Stefan Pagréus

Behind A Day's MarchIn our founder series, we present the trio behind A Day’s March. Part-time creative director, part-time clinical psychologist, Stefan Pagréus also oversees the overall leadership and well-being of A Day’s March.

In our founder series, we present the trio behind A Day’s March. Part-time creative director, part-time clinical psychologist, Stefan Pagréus also oversees the overall leadership and well-being of A Day’s March.

After 15 years in the advertising industry, Stefan Pagréus wanted new challenges. Having put himself in the shoes of consumers while creating campaigns, he was interested to learn more about people’s minds through studying psychology. “My driving force in my career, from being a copywriter to co-founding A Day’s March, and becoming a psychologist, has always been an interest in people and how they work,” Pagréus says. Soon after leaving his job in advertising, he was quick to spot a big consumer shift together with his founding partners Marcus Gårdö and Pelle Lundquist.

“The boundaries between work and leisure was increasingly being blurred. Men had previously dressed up or down for work or leisure, a new era meant a suit one day and t-shirt and jeans the next. Whereas certain people had certain styles, it was now being mixed up. We wanted A Day’s March to reflect this. We wanted to update the classic men’s shop.”

Rather than adopting quick fashion trends, these men wanted essential, affordable pieces in high quality that would last over time.

“If you looked at other brands at the time, there was no understanding whatsoever of how a man would dress. It was completely based on women’s fashion, very trend focused, in constant motion. But men, including ourselves, tend to opt for a style that works over time. Now other brands are starting to realise this.”

How would you describe your own style? Has it always been an interest?
- I grew up in Viksjö, a suburban area in the north of Stockholm. It was Sweden's largest terraced house area, the epicentre of boredom. I was expected to play floorball and football, but I didn’t enjoy it. When I got older, I found music and through music I found clothes. At around 15, 16 I had a large interest in fashion and style, which later turned into a fascination for what clothes signal. From the beginning, my interest was connected to music. My first part-time job was at the concept store Nitty Gritty in Stockholm, which had a strong base in music and the modernist culture. It influenced me a lot. Clothes were still very connected to subcultures, something which has disappeared, partly because music has lost its role as the dominating hub of popular culture. Today it often seems fashion looks at itself for inspiration, thus creating a kind of vacuum. Nowadays, I’m personally more into style than fashion even though I would lie if I said I was totally immune to it.

Is there anything in the world of fashion that interests you from a psychologist’s point of view?
- I think it is interesting to read studies about clothing and what they signal. From wearing certain logos to dressing strictly or relaxed. It’s nothing I try to translate into creating garments, but I think it’s valuable to consider that clothes are a way of communicating who we are. I often find the current discussion around style and clothes superficial; It tends to say that this or that is trendy, but not often why. I think the questions are often more interesting than the answers. Why have people stopped wearing a suit and tie? What happens with the way we dress when the boundaries between work and leisure are being blurred? Why do skirt lengths change when the economy changes? It's fascinating.

Besides being a creative director together with Pelle Lundquist, you work to develop the leadership at A Day’s March. Do you have any tips to share?
- The view of leadership has changed a lot. The classic notion is that management should be strict and hierarchical. But research clearly shows that it doesn’t work that way. Power is not something you take, it's something given to you. You can’t force people to respect you in any valuable sense, instead, influence is gained through social intelligence and empathy. Then of course, for an organization to be healthy, individuals must feel healthy. A good starting point is the basics – get your sleep, do your exercise, drink moderately, eat well. And strive to live here and now. Every day I meet people struggling with depression and anxiety that are stuck in the past or too fixed in the future. Try to be more in the present moment.

The Founder Series is complete. Read the interview with Creative Director Pelle Lundquist here and CEO Marcus Gårdö here.


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