Free-spirited, open-minded personalities who enjoy an active lifestyle and recreational sports: such are the founders of Pinetime Clothing and, they say, this description fits perfectly their customers as well. The Hungarian clothing brand is committed to slipping the feeling of life of boardsports into the everyday streetwear culture with unique material technology and tailoring solutions. Their product range will soon be expanded with new practical and versatile garments, and if the pandemic situation allows, we can also expect social Pinetime events in the summer. Among the founders, we talked to Gergő Koczka and Péter Szalay about the last two years spent in retirement and future plans.
What do you think is the mission of Pinetime Clothing? How do you think it stands out from the Hungarian brands?
Péter: We make products that do not follow the trends of fast fashion, but become eternal pieces of your wardrobe, satisfying several functions at the same time. We make multifaceted garments—a Pinetime hoodie can be worn for snowboarding, a cold summer evening or, with an added layer, on the street on a winter day, too. We try to transfer the materials and technical solutions of extreme and active sportswear to streetwear.
Gergő: With our brand, we encourage people to choose responsibly and to rather vote for quality, functional and timeless products. As Peti pointed out, we want our garments to be “evergreen”—this is an important message from Pinetime, and the pine logo reflects on that as well. When we see our products from seven or eight years ago worn on the street, we see that they are in the same condition as when they were sold.
Who are your customers, what is a real “pinetimer” like?
Gergő: Regardless of age and gender, our target group consists mostly of those who represent an active lifestyle and a kind of free spirituality in their everyday lives. With this message, our products reach a young person in their early twenties in the same way as a more mature-minded adult over the age of fifty.
From the beginning of 2019 until the spring of this year, we heard little about Pinetime, you had no active communication. What was the reason for the shutdown, what happened to you during that time?
Péter: We were in deep hibernation…
Gergő: It took a little longer than we planned, but it was a conscious decision on our part. The idea of our brand goes back a long way, we laid the foundations in 2010 and in the winter of 2011 the first collection came out. We have grown organically, moving step by step, until by 2017 our products were distributed by more than ten resellers in six countries. Since we initially treated the brand as a hobby, we didn’t realize in time that we might have grown bigger than the amount of time and money we can spend on the project. Clothing production has a high need for current asset financing. So we made a difficult decision and stopped to stabilize our operations, both financially and organisationally, operationally. The MFB Group’s Hiventures Fashion and Design capital program has succeeded in finding fellow investors who believe in our brand, our history and our common future. In addition to the financial stabilization of the company, we have been actively developing our products over the past two years, contacting new partners, and developing new technical solutions that will allow us to return to the market in a renewed way.
Péter: We plan to return in September 2021, with the next fall-winter collection. Now our restock campaign is running, we are re-manufacturing and updating our previous bestselling products, and in the fall we will come with a new, updated product line.
Although the main direction of Pinetime is to recall the feeling of life of recreational sports through casual clothing, in addition to clothing, you have previously presented other works, such as prints and snowboarding in collaboration with the Drake brand. Can we expect other product types in the future?
Gergő: We continue to focus on clothes, especially outerwear, but we are always looking for cooperation opportunities with artists, international design companies, and even interior design products can be made from collaborations.
How often will you present new collections?
Péter: We mainly prepare with autumn and winter collections, but from 2022 we will also have summer capsule collections in our offer.
Gergő: As a small company, we wish to keep our flexibility and ability to reflect quickly, so if there is a good opportunity for cooperation, we will be happy to create some product series in addition to the autumn-winter main collections and spring-summer capsule collections.
Where can we meet your products?
Gergő: Our products are currently available in Hungary in Store13 and online, and the autumn-winter collection will hopefully be available in several other Hungarian stores and at resellers in neighboring countries. For the time being, we are still researching what partners and brands we would like to appear with. We want to reconnect with our former trading partners and expand our resellers, but the pandemic situation has also highlighted the importance of an active online presence.
Péter: Due to the changed market situation, we need to focus more on online shopping, but we also consider it important that customers meet the products in person, because we have many pieces with extravagant tailoring that is difficult to display on the screen, through photos. We are also currently working on our new website, with which we strive to provide the best possible experience for our customers, and where you will always be able to find out about interesting, current stories around the brand.