Rescheduled weddings, graduation ceremonies and other events that were postponed during the pandemic have given a major boost to retailers selling bespoke clothing. Add to that the fact that many men have started returning to their desks, but not every day, but at least a few days a week now before a potentially more regular return after Labor Day and the situation has improved dramatically. for the dressier side. of men’s clothing.
This was historically the week that men’s clothing trade shows were held in New York City, and although they were postponed again this year due to the pandemic, many specialty stores have nonetheless made it to the city to visit the showrooms on their own as they aim to increase their income by helping their clients refresh their wardrobes after more than a year of telecommuting.
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And the best bespoke clothing brands are reaping the rewards. While challenges remain including slowdowns in production outside the United States due to plant closures and staff shortages due to the lingering health crisis, the general mood is optimistic among manufacturers, who also have rotated to better suit a customer looking for attributes of comfort and performance in clothing that can serve them for a variety of occasions.
At Samuelsohn, a successful limited launch of its Vue collection earlier this year led the Montreal-based company to expand the line for spring 2022. Vue is a hybrid collection of sportswear and raised clothing intended to suit both the office and home. The line launched with just six items and will expand to 18 for the spring season.
We decided to aggressively expand Vue after seeing the collection’s tremendous adoption by retailers who reacted strongly to the versatility and speed of the designs, said Stephen Granovsky, CEO of Luxury Mens Apparel Group, company. mother of Samuelsohn. Our sales have been strong and we have sold out a number of items. We plan to take this window of opportunity to position Samuelsohn as a go-to resource in independent stores and as an exciting new resource for doors like Nordstrom.
Aliya Morehead, Creative Director, said that among the most popular items with retailers buying for spring were the utility jacket and drawstring pants, as well as the stretch cotton seersucker, an overshirt and a lightweight knit vest. The collection also includes a new technical single-pleat suit with a deconstructed jacket. Many men still work from home and are just starting to return to the office, she said. And that’s the perfect uniform for that.
Granovsky said the shift from manufacturers of bespoke clothing to more casual offerings was nothing new, but Samuelsohn went all out by using its custom clothing factories in Canada and training staff to execute this new assortment. . As a result, he stated that Vue is able to offer a sportswear style with the quality and craftsmanship of traditional bespoke clothing. These are very sophisticated, beautifully made and more casual clothes, he said.
In addition, Vue gives retailers the option of a zero-inventory retail strategy, where specialty stores only need test models in stock, eliminating a full inventory position, Morehead said. .
All told, Granovsky said that heading into next spring, he expects 20% of Samuelsohn’s sales to come from Vue and the rest from more structured bespoke clothing. As customers walk into the showroom, Morehead said, they haven’t wanted to see costumes for many seasons, but they are looking at the costumes again. But in the option of tailored clothing, the trend is towards softer jackets and pants.
Luxury Mens Apparel Group is also licensed for Hickey freeman and for spring, the line will offer a new program called Hickey freeman On Demand, which will expand both bespoke and in-stock options. In addition to expanding the assortment of fabrics for the bespoke clothing line, the brand will launch New Essentials, an in-stock program of suits, jackets, pants and evening wear with fabrics from the Carlo Barbera factory.
Granovsky said the company has seen a very impressive rebound in its business over the past few months from customers wanting a refresh. But he tries not to hope too much. Concern turned to when things would rebound to whether its persistence. There are such massive delays in receiving from China that it boosts sales to North American producers, but we don’t know how long that will last.
Dan Orwig, president of Peerless Clothing, has also seen sales increase significantly, but is concerned about lingering delays in the supply chain. Vietnam, India, Indonesia and Bangladesh are all facing issues related to COVID-19 impacting their factories where many bespoke garments are produced.
It really puts a wrench into the system, he said. The challenge everyone faces is the supply chain and the different countries that are stuck because they don’t get the vaccines fast enough. If we could get the goods, we would sell them immediately.
Despite the challenges, he remains optimistic. It’s a much better problem than what we had 15 months ago, Orwig said.
So while there may be some delays which are holding the spirits back, Orwig said that overall the situation has improved rapidly over the past few months. Over the past three to four months, we’ve seen a steady rise in business, he said. While he hoped the situation will eventually improve as the pandemic situation clears up in the United States, the rebound came sooner and was much stronger than expected, he said. And we continue to be excited about velocity on a weekly basis.
He attributed it to the rise in weddings and other events that had to be rescheduled from last year, as well as a planned return to offices, and he expects these to continue to boost sales until 2022.
He said retailers were primarily interested in the real costume, from the traditional Lauren to the high fashion skinny fit for young men, he said. But it’s not the same old costume. It’s more comfortable, performance-oriented and versatile, it’s what the customer wants in their post-pandemic wardrobe.
Jeff Jones, vice president of merchandising for WHP Global, which owns the Joseph Abboud brand, has also seen an increase in interest in tailored clothing. In the United States, Abboud bespoke clothing and sportswear is exclusive to Tailored Brands, the parent company of Mens Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank.
Tailored clothing has rebounded in a very big way, he said, highlighting the return of special events, interviews and the planned return to offices after Labor Day. There is a huge demand for classic suits and tuxedos, he said. But they’re a little more expressive than in the past, it’s not just the classic black or midnight blue, its brighter undertones, textured plaids and even earth tones.
For the office worker, Jones said he’s had huge success with separate suits that allow men to look universally refined, yet still comfortable. They can mix them up with the athletic pieces they’ve collected over the past year and wear them with a quarter-zip sweater, turtleneck, or even a fleece sweatshirt.
Fortunately, Jones said the Abboud brand has not experienced significant delays in production and shipping, but the company is still struggling to keep up with demand. We can’t get the inventory fast enough, he said. It sells out the minute it hits the ground.
Jones doesn’t see demand diminishing anytime soon. I see it continuing, he said. There is a constant evolution of what we know to be bespoke clothing. He said soft dividers will continue to gain traction for the spring, as well as parts offering performance characteristics such as four-way stretch, water resistance, hidden elastic waist and others. special details.
Athleisure is definitely making strides in the bespoke world and we need to add more of these pieces in the future, Jones said.
Interest in bespoke clothing is also impacting bespoke brands such as Proper Cloth, which recently opened a 5,800 square foot showroom in Midtown Manhattan. The brand, which was founded in 2008 as an online custom shirt maker, has since expanded into suits, athletic coats, outerwear, and some athletic wear such as chinos, t -shirts and shorts.
Company spokesman Daniel Zisman said when the pandemic hit clothing sales fell more than 50% from 2019 as demand for bespoke clothing declined overnight. The company quickly turned to creating masks, which have grown to account for around 20 percent of sales. But when interest in this category waned, Proper Cloths’ commodities began to rebound.
Zisman said that starting in the spring, the brand has seen a great deal of interest in back-to-work clothing, mainly suits and shirts, and now they are also seeing an increase in more hybrid options such as sports coats. patterned and casual wear. pants.
The post-pandemic man dresses differently, he said. It’s more of a happy medium now.
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