The Room by Basmatee, architectonically great store selling men’s clothing, is truly one of a kind in Prague. The interior was designed by Ondřej Volný from Skvadra studio and the varied choice of fresh original brands is in the hands of its two young owners – Honza Lichý and Jirka Svoboda. This fusion works perfectly!
The Room by Basmatee is not exceptional only for its interior but also for the concept itself. Opening a store with solely men’s high-quality fashion is rather brave, especially in the Czech Republic where Prestige shoes still remain number one fashion article. It did not take long, however, and the guys found their loyal customers, who visit the store regularly, also to attend various events that take place nearly every month. Night shopping is one of the most popular ones, as it combines special offers with chatting to the owners while sipping good wine.
It is simply a trendy store with all that belongs to it – top-notch interior, great visual style, original assortment, situated in the dead centre, just a few steps from Wenceslas Square. You’ll find brands such as Danish clothing Libertine – Libertine, Japanese sneakers Onitsuka Tiger or French bags Côte et Ciel. This portfolio connects the timelessness of the collections, which are a much welcomed alternative to clothes one buys off the peg.
Why did you decide to open a store focused on trendy men’s fashion? Do you have any competition in Prague?
Our goal was to set up a store, which would offer an alternative to anyone, who doesn’t want to shop in chain stores and at the same time looks for something a bit extraordinary and different. I think we’ve done quite a good job with that. The market in Prague is quite small and I wouldn’t say we have any direct competition. There are a few stores that offer strictly men’s fashion but the style and assortment is very different from ours.
How would you describe your typical customer? Do you get many locals or are they mostly foreigners?
I don’t think we attract a specific type of customers. They are often people doing various creative jobs, who are not tied by a specific dress code. However, we also get managers of international companies, students and pensioners. Simply anyone, who likes our style and personal approach. To answer the second part of your question, we get mostly Czech customers, although, a large percentage of our customers are expats. Tourists visit our store and actually buy something mostly after they’ve read about us online.
Would you say that the dressing standards in our country have evolved somehow? Is it still true what people say about Czech Republic being “a fashion hell”?
Sadly, it is still true in the European context. I’m definitely not one to feel the need to force my taste upon others and try to persuade them that it is normal to spend thousands on clothes. We should get our heads around the fact that the role of clothes is not purely functional but also aesthetic and that certain pieces of clothes are only suitable for certain occasions. I guess there’s not much point in reiterating that one shouldn’t wear an anorak and trekking shoes for a classical music concert, but it still happens. Despite that, I remain optimistic because it has been improving slowly but surely, mainly in Prague. It’d be a bit far-fetched to expect that we’ll be on the same level as Paris or London where good-quality and stylish clothes are a standard and not a luxury. The positive thing, though, is that Czech men are starting to actually think about what they wear.
How will men’s fashion trends evolve in the years to come?
That’s really tough question. Honestly? I have absolutely no idea. We don’t go to fashion shows or follow the newest trends dictated by big fashion brands. Our scene is a little different and it follows its own rules. We feel better this way. We are not fashionistas.
As far as we know the brands you sell are pretty much all foreign-based. Is there a Czech men’s fashion brand that you think deserves people’s attention?
Yes, there is. Sistersconspiracy is a great example of a brand, which has deserved attention for many years, now. Lately, the brand Pattern from Karlovy Vary has also evolved in an interesting direction. All such brands are mostly small projects fuelled by a bunch of enthusiasts, rather than a serious attempt to make it in the men’s fashion market (if such market even exists in our country). The collections of these brands are produced in very small numbers, which explains why the prices are so high. If we were to sell Czech brands in our store, the prices would be astronomical, which also explains why we sell exclusively foreign-based fashion.
What does your wardrobe look like? How would you describe your style?
Simple. I’m more into classic style than fashion fads. Surprisingly, I don’t have many things from our store. When you have to choose them, unpack them and then see them in the store every single day, you don’t feel like you need to have them in your wardrobe. That’s why I’m always hunting for new pieces on my travels in Europe. And I tend to value them more when I have to pay for them. I can’t define my own style, really. I prefer simple things made of high-quality materials, where the way they look makes it obvious that they weren’t made in a couple of minutes in a sweatshop. What I really take special care of are high-quality shoes. That’s why you can find at least one pair of goodyear welted shoes from a traditional designer in my shoe cabinet.