From the ashes of lockdown, rises a new streetwear brand. So says SWAY London Founder Mark Winter as he recollects on how he turned the tables on 2020 to finally chase his dream of launching his own fashion brand.
SWAY London is wonderfully inclusive and offers achingly cool streetwear styles for both men and women. “SWAY London is for everyone,” Mark says and rightly so. Its debut collection is 100% sustainable and is characterised by bold colours and prints, tied together by the brand’s emblematic Phoenix symbol.
The Phoenix, according to Mark, is not just a logo – but represents SWAY London’s unique origins and spirit. He says, “What better symbol to have embedded into the SWAY London brand than the Phoenix, a creature that is born from its own ashes.”
We sit down with Mark who tells the story of how he turned idle time during lockdown into the opportunity of a lifetime. He also talks about SWAY London’s creative inspirations, his commitment to sustainability, his grand ambitions for the brand, and why everyone should follow their dreams.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background, what inspired you to start SWAY London?
I have been working as a commercial consultant for the last 10 years, working with a number of professional sports clubs and associations as well as directly with the brands, mainly around partnerships, marketing and activations. When the lockdown first happened, I spent the first few weeks taking apart all of the activations and events we had planned for the year. Afterwards, I found myself with something I never really had — time on my hands. I’ve never been one to just sit around, so from there I decided to look at something I have always wanted to do, a dream of mine really, which was to start a fashion brand.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced as an entrepreneur so far?
I’ve always had a huge passion for fashion and have always wanted to chase my dream. I just never had to time to do it. Lockdown gave me that time, so I went for it! Working with the clients I have over the years, I’ve been very lucky to have made the connections I have, some of which played a huge part in getting SWAY London off the ground, especially on the production side of things.
Why did you choose the Phoenix as your logo? What does this represent?
Finding the right logo and designs was always going to be key, and it took some time to come up with the SWAY London name. SWAY for me just fitted well, but I was keen to add London to the logo being an SW London guy myself.
The Phoenix is a different story, I wanted to find a design and not a second logo – I wanted to find a design that could withstand the test of time. Something that we can grow and develop into what I hope will become an iconic symbol of the SWAY London brand. It also needed to have a story behind it, as I feel that this brings more to the brand.
SWAY London is a story of a business that was born from the ashes of the Lockdown, and what better symbol to have embedded into the SWAY London brand than the Phoenix, a creature that is born from its own ashes.
SWAY London offers both men and women’s ranges including a swimwear line. In your opinion what sets SWAY London apart from other fashion brands in the market today?
I strongly believe that SWAY London offers a fresh feel to the streetwear side of fashion, especially with our high quality materials, uplifting bold colours and our high build finishes. Not to mention that even as a start-up, all of our apparel products are already 100% sustainable. We believe that with our wide range of products, that we have something for everyone.
We heard that the SS21 line is made with sustainable cotton. How important is sustainability to the SWAY London design ethos?
Being sustainable was non-negotiable for me. It’s so important that we all do what we can to make a difference and starting out on the right foot made perfect sense.
SWAY London has a decidedly streetwear aesthetic – who is your target audience and what kind of person do you envision wearing your pieces?
Most people these days do have some kind of streetwear clothing in their wardrobe. For me SWAY London is no different, it is for everyone. I have designed it so that we have something to suit all situations and occasions, whether that’s a night out, a holiday or simply going shopping.
What’s next for you? Any new exciting projects in the pipeline?
All my focus is currently on SWAY London, but I do have some very exciting things going on at SWAY. Not only am I in the middle of finishing touches for the AW21 range, but I am also currently in the middle of producing our footwear range samples for our Shoot in July. Footwear was a very big part of why I started this as I am a huge trainer fan, so it’s very exciting…
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start their own fashion brand?
I’m always going to tell people to follow their dreams, so my advice to anyone who has a dream is to go for it – doing your homework is very important so that you can map it out, because having a clear roadmap to follow really does help at the start.