Review: Asket's great ethical basics

Reviews

Article estimated reading time 5 min. read
Article date Sep 20th, 2018
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Introduction

I found out about Asket during an FAQ made by the French blog BonneGueule. Asket was recommended by Nicolo for their boxers. Turns out I was looking for an ethical brand selling quality underwear for the past year without much success. I wasn't asking for much, a price under 20€ per boxer, made in Europe with a good fabric. Asket was the one ticking all these checkboxes and more...

The brand

Asket was founded in 2015 in Sweden by August Bard Bringéus and Jakob Dworsky. The focus is on great basics made to last, the complete opposite of the fast-fashion.

As most brands these days, they started out on Kickstarter with a sucessful campaign raising 45 795€; a good 35 000€ over their goal. They started up with a simple t-shirt, the most basic garment you can find... But it wasn't that easy to find back in 2015; and it still isn't in my opinion.

Since then, they launch twenty more garments ranging from chinos to boxers and accessories. The current collection is a true statement of minimalism, a vibe synonym of Nothern Europe.

A permanent collection, meaning products will still be available next season. Improvements will be made over time based on customers feedback; a concept now called slow-fashion, though I wished it was simply called fashion.

Full Traceability

Have you ever wondered what trully lies behind the Made in XXX written on your garment's label?

If so, you are not alone. Asket decided to answer this by providing knowledge to their customers about their factories and each products that goes into the final garment.

Pictures, description, number of employees and average salary can be found for each factory used by Asket and you can learn where the buttons raw material was produced and where it was transformed to where the cotton was farmed and where the polyester used to the main label was spun.

This is a great initiative and I wonder if other brands will try and follow their lead.

My order

I was in great need of new boxers but since Asket offers a wide variety of basics I decided to add a few things, here's what my final ordered looked like:

  • - A pack of 3 boxers in dark navy
  • - A pack of 3 cotton socks in dark navy
  • - One white t-shirt
  • - One lightweight white t-shirt

I also wanted a good white t-shirt that I could wear in combination with a dressier outfit. I needed it to stay sharp throughout the entire day and be ethically made which wasn't an easy find.
Since the heat was at its peak in Belgium — think 35°C — at the time I ordered I decided to add their lightweight t-shirt to compare the two of them.

And since I always like having more socks to replace older ones, I bought their 3-pack in dark navy.

The packaging

I have to hand it to Asket, their packaging, while minimalist, is really great. Everything is individually wrapped in recyclable plastic and the rest of the box is fully made with cardboard. It will make shipping a product back to their warehouse care-free, especially with the pre-paid shipping label included.

The usual unboxing experience can be quite bland nowadays and it's always great to see brands going out of their way to make it better.

The boxers

Trust me when I say this, it is a pain to find quality boxers made ethically somewhere in Europe. I tried to find some for the past 6 months without much success, a few brands were branding themselves as ethically-made but without much data behind it.
It was time for me to change that, and at 55€ for three it was the perfect chance. It is still a budget of course, but when compared to Calvin Klein — a brand a lot of people seem to enjoy — it's not that far off.

Made with 93% Egyptian cotton and 7% elastane, the main fabric is nice to the touch and falls back into its original shape once fully dried. The waistband does its job, I ordered my usual size — extra small — and they feel perfect.

Both yarns are woven in died in Porto, Portugal and the construction takes place in the same city. You can learn more about the factory here.

The dark navy colours used by Asket is, well, dark. You could think it's black in lower light situations. It is a bit of shame since they do have a black version; I would enjoy having a simple navy instead.

I have been wearing them for a month now, washing them at 30°C / 600rpm without any issue. They stay on nicely for the entire day, my most comfortable boxers for now!

The socks

It is always nice to have a few pairs of plain casual socks to wear with chinos and jeans when you do not want to introduce fantasy into your outfit.
Asket's socks fall right under that category. But beware, the dark navy colour is really dark. It is only suitable for dark trousers; anything close to mid-grey, royal blue or lighter will look out of place.

The fabric used is a mix of 80% Egyptian cotton, 18% polyamide and 2% elastane is a great compromise between softness, durability and comfort. The cotton comes from the Giza, Egypt while the polyamide and elastane are yet to be traced. The fabric is twisted and dyed in Brescia, Italy where it is also knitted, hand-linked, washed and packed.

I am a size 39.5 which is why I took the size 39-41; No issue here.

My only real complaint would be the fabric's tendency to attract lint. Not much you can do about it but seeing white dog hair on your dark navy socks right after you put them on in the morning is not the best sight ever.

The boxers have the same problem, though unless you sit on the floor with them you probably won't encounter it.

The t-shirts

I am a big fan of Muji's organic cotton t-shirts, but the Made in China on the tag with not much information about the cotton's origin makes me uncomfortable.

Asket's t-shirt offering is outstanding, you can choose from 15 different sizes; from XS to XL and from Short to Long. I decided to take both the lightweight t-shirt and the regular t-shirt in XS-Short after using their measurements guide.

The fit looks flawless, the sleeves are just the right length to be rolled twice. The overall length is perfect for my style and the width is neither constricting nor loose.
Please note that I mostly wear high waisted trousers which is why I decided to go for an XS-Short instead of an XS-Medium.

Both t-shirts really have a premium feel, especially the regular one. It drapes wonderfully thanks to it's heavier fabric.
The lightweight t-shirt on the other hand wrinkles pretty fast but this is to be expected of course. It should make your days outside with a 30°C+ weather more bearable, and it does.

Conclusion

If you are looking for classic and durable basics do not look further. I truly believe Asket's offering is one of the best in the market right now, even more, when you consider the efforts they are making towards their Fully Traceable label.

Florian Husquinet

I am a web developer currently living in Liege, Belgium. My big resolution for 2018 was to have a more ethical wardrobe.

I will explore different options throughout my posts ranging from regular brands to second hand going into the details of what makes a garment ethical or not.

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