Marc Haensli - The experimenter
Marc Haensli and his small team at Capranea are constantly looking for new ways to combine traditional, high-quality with modern, high-tech materials.
Sometimes, it turns out these ideas are so time-consuming to manufacture, they cannot be run in a large series. Much to the delight of the clients – though buyers of Capranea aren’t into mass-produced goods anyway.
When the production gets underway, the 43-year-old likes to be on the spot. That way, he can immediately look for a solution when something doesn’t work out in the production run as it had been planned or test run. «More often than not, new solutions only emerge at the factory, as we assemble the separate pieces of a garment. That requires the utmost flexibility from all of us.»
Contrary to other manufacturers, Haensli’s collections aren’t made in China, but almost exclusively in Portugal. «We have known our supplier and many of his employees for years. Together, we get better and better with every collection and find solutions to almost any problem we encounter.»
The result speaks for itself: What was once an insider tip has turned into a brand with a growing fan community and, today, eleven years on, boasts re-sellers across Switzerland and abroad. Still, it is far from being a large company. «We are anything but big, luckily,» Haensli says with a grin.
We all have a field at which we excel, but we’re all all-rounders – and we all pitch in when there’s something that needs to get done.» At the Capranea offices, you will be searching for the glamour of the international fashion industry in vain. Here, functionality primes prestige. What stands out are the striking oversized photographs of mountain peaks of the Grisons on the walls.
Marc Haensli, who grew up in Klosters, spent the first years of his career in the sports and fashion industry and as head of sponsoring with a national bank. Eleven years ago, he founded Capranea. Today, he and his wife and co-worker and two kids live in Central Switzerland. «But my home is the Grisons,» he says unambiguously. «Every so often, when I lose sight of what’s important in life, I take two days off and head to the Grisons. Here, I can take a deep breath and hug a tree. The mountains put things back into perspective and give me direction. This part of Switzerland means the world to me.»
One will be hard put to find an industry that undergoes such quick change as does the textile business. In the midst of all this, Marc Haensli and his continuity stand out. The Capranea collections dovetail between seasons. Instead of throwing out all the colours and designs year after year, Capranea evolves. Once again, much to the delight of the clients: garments from different seasons will coordinate.
«Capranea has had a distinctive style for years; it is a conscious contrast to the masses,» says Marc Haensli, explaining his design philosophy. «Our clients very much appreciate the extra functionality, and the extra quality materials and finish. They have their individual styles and are not interested in the mainstream.» Capranea’s DNA stems from the sport of skiing; this ensures all the garments are highly functional and comfortable to wear – whether you’re on the mountain or roaming the city. «Capranea is like the ibex from the Grisons: it will withstand any weather, it is independent, and he fascinates people who get to know him.»
Speaking to Haensli, one always senses his Grisons roots. His conversation invariably drifts back to the mountains and his homeland. But, what does he do in the Grisons on one of his perfect days? «I prefer the snowstorm to a blue sky. My perfect day is early or late in winter – and it is snowing non-stop. I am powder skiing, or taking a walk in the woods, or shovelling snow in front of my house,» he muses. «Every time I pause, it is present: this absolute stillness that you only get when it’s snowing heavily. The only thing I hear is my breath, my heartbeat, and the snowflakes melting on the lapel of my jacket.»