Modern Fellows spoke with Warren Liao, one of the founders of online custom tailoring destination Black Lapel, who recently returned from a business trip to Asia. Below is a lightly-edited transcript of our conversation, in which Warren discusses how Black Lapel began, his inspiration for starting a business, and what the future holds for his company and menswear more generally.
I still remember the first dress shirts I bought out of college. In New York City, I went to the Brooks Brothers flagship store and bought several shirts with pinpoint collars and button cuffs. Technically, they were my size, but they billowed out uncontrollably. You could have stuck two of my torsos side-by-side in those shirts.
Who goes to the mall anymore? Between online deal sites, warehouse events and, increasingly, pop-up and other alt-retail events, savvy retailers and entrepreneurs are coming up with new ways to part men from their money. In Baltimore on April 28, Confirmed Stock held its inaugural pop-up event featuring “Menswear, vintage, dry goods, lifestyle.”
Sunday’s Washington Post business section included an article by Seth Stevenson of Slate.com who went, tongue-in-cheek, in search of “the world’s most exquisite dress sock.” Since so few people can afford $200 cashmere Zimmerli’s, let’s look at a few more affordable choices for everyday wear.
In an era of twitter and ever-declining attention spans, an increasingly-frequent tendency is to adopt generic, over-the-top shorthand to describe a relatively ordinary event. If everything is a “game-changer,” nothing is. When CNN suggests “breaking news” is happening 12 hours a day, it’s easy to tune out. So it is with GQ’s March “Style Bible,” which might more accurately be described as a style pamphlet.
The brief, bumpy journey for the Esquire-backed online men’s shopping destination CLAD has ended as the company halted sales of its deeply discounted inventory. Too bad. The site had potential and the liquidation sale was fun while it lasted.