An Interview with Sven Signe Den Hartogh of The Stranded Sailors

Now just over a year old, mens lifestyle website, The Stranded Sailors has been gathering pace to become one of the go-to destinations for men’s style inspiration. After meeting founder Sven Sign Den Hartogh during Amsterdam Denim Days, Stylesight’s denim team speaks to the young entrepreneur on his humble beginnings working in denim and how it drove him to start the lifestyle platform.

Once reserved to monthly magazines, men’s style guides can now be found through a plethora of dedicated blogs on the Internet. From dandy tailoring, to urban streetwear, sneaker culture and denim specific sites, there is something for every style conscious gent. While it’s said the blogosphere is over saturated, every once in a while a new title will arrive providing a fresh angle to men’s sartorial style. One of those is The Stranded Sailors, a lifestyle platform dedicated to authentic style, craftsmanship and superior design.

With timeless products like denim and leather as its focus, The Stranded Sailors provides a daily inspiration feed that shares its love for indigo through photography, film and in depth interviews with some of the most inspiring men in the fashion and creative world. Founded by Sven Signe den Hartogh, the Dutch site has quickly gained momentum over its debut year to become one of the best menswear blogs in the country. Sven and his team have been gaining a great amount of attention from local media, having made appearances in national newspapers, magazines and television.

A true reflection of the forever growing heritage lifestyle aesthetic, the site features in-depth pieces on some of the coveted brands out there. So far for denim alone, Sven has compiled interviews with denim legends like Jason Denham, Mike Hodis of Rising Sun, Blue Blanket’s Antonio Di Battista, as well as vintage enthusiast Jacques Grosz of Paris’s infamous Kiliwatch store. With the brand recently celebrating its first anniversary, we thought no better time to speak to Sven and reflect on the past year and discuss future prospects for the site.

For anyone who is unaware of The Stranded Sailors, can you tell us what the website is about.

We describe it as an online lifestyle collective focussed on men, where we share our love for style and craftsmanship through video, photography and art.

Who is involved in The Stranded Sailors team and what are their roles?

We’re now with seven, bunch of bearded friends! Everyone has their own role: we’ve got two photographers, one guy who is doing the videos, two who are writing articles and one who is representing the Stranded Sailors on location, spreading the word! And of course there is me, I’m responsible for the website/Facebook and I make the most of the plans.

With so many men’s style blogs on the Internet today, what is it you felt that was missing, and what drove you to start the site?

When I started it, it was just for fun, purely out of inspiration! I’ve gathered so much inspiration from Tumblr and also my job in a jeans store that I felt I needed to share it.. so I did, and before I knew, it started to grow, so people asked me, ‘What are you planning on doing with it?’ And I was like, ‘No clue!’ I had no idea. So we did some videos and interviewed a few gents who’d inspired me and that way it began to become more of a ‘real thing.’ We always stick to our motto of, ‘Out of inspiration to inspire.’

Amsterdam is now a key destination and home in Europe to some of the most directional denim and menswear brands in the market. As a young creative always in the city, how has this influenced your brand?

It hasn’t since I don’t live in the near of Amsterdam, haha! I live in a small town in the centre of Holland, so it hasn’t influenced me at all since a lot of brands are focused more on fashion, whereas we try to stay away from the word ‘fashion’. We focus more on individualism, and of course denim can be a big part of that! But what’s happening in Amsterdam is great, so many good events and a pretty fast movement in the denim industry as ‘denim capital’.

You have a strong focus towards handcrafted products, and jeanswear in particular. Which denim brands have you worked with so far? 

I’ve worked with Lee and Denham pretty closely on special projects, and of course we’ve written about other brands such as Ori Jeans, Livid Jeans and Rising Sun when we interview them.

You used to work in the Netherlands’ oldest denim store, De Rode Winkel in Utrecht before you started SS. What type of denim and brands did you buy the most, and did this influence your attraction towards menswear products?

It really did, I used to most of the time buy Lee and Levi’s, the more authentic brands, but I also liked Nudie Jeans and Armor Lux a lot! The reason why I bought mostly Lee and Levi’s is because of the price/quality ratio which is really good, but I had loved the brands since I knew the story behind them. After so many years in the business, they are still a major part or still leading in the denim industry. I have massive respect for that!

Is denim something you continue to wear today, and if so, what is your favorite piece you own?

I try to always wear denim, now I’m continuously wearing my custom Lee 101 Jeans I got as a present from Lee when The Stranded Sailors celebrated its first anniversary! But my favorite pair is also my first pair, which is a Levi’s 510. I’ve worn it for 14 months non-stop and it’s sort of my ‘first achievement’ (still need to frame that one though).

Are there any upcoming projects or features to the site that we should be looking forward to?

Well, we’re aiming on traveling a lot in the coming years to capture some amazing artists and craftsmen, also we’re having a stand on the upcoming edition of the Modefabriek and we’re working on a webshop! So plenty of things!

Head over to Stranded Sailors to explore their inspiring content and to read more on the brand.

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