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In part 2 of our interview with Black Lapel they discuss their fall 2013 line up as well as the measuring and fitment techniques that they employ for their Flawless Fit promise.
Toonari Post (TP): What are the key differences between wearing a suit in the summer versus the fall?
Derek Tian (DT): A summer suit can vary greatly versus a fall suit from the colors and textures to the fabric weight and even construction. It all depends on where you need to wear it and what your personal needs are. This is one of the best parts of building a suit wardrobe. You can have an all-seasonal core collection and selectively augment it with a few key seasonal pieces.
TP: What do you think differs in American Suiting fashion versus European Suiting fashion?
DT: Traditionally, American suits were known for their boxy cuts and their natural softer shoulders while European suits tend to be slimmer in cut with a slightly more structured shoulder. Today, most designers converge somewhere in the middle while slim is at the forefront of every ready to wear collection.
TP: What new styles are you bringing to the Black Lapel wardrobe for the Fall of 2013 season?
DT: We’re going to introduce some earthy tones for the first time for our Fall/Winter collection. Also new to our line up will be a couple of wool/cashmere blazers and some really fine wool flannel suits. My favorite is a light brown glen plaid suit we’re calling the Brownstone Glen Plaid Suit. The name is an homage to our NYC heritage and the collection will launch in early November.
TP: How quick is the turnaround from the time a buyer submits measurements to the suit being delivered to the buyers doorstep?
DT: Our turnaround is typically between 3 – 4 weeks.
TP: How do you come up with the shirt sizing based on the measurements a customer provides?
DT: We work with a team of extremely savvy master tailors who will translate a customer’s body measurements into a unique set of patterns for suits and shirts. The process is recorded in the customer’s measurements profile for consistency across multiple orders.
TP: What accessories can a man pair with a suit that emphasize the suit and the wearer?
DT: Every suit needs a pocket square. In fact, the pocket square is more important than a tie. It’s the single most underappreciated yet important accessory a man can wear with a suit after a great pair of leather dress shoes. A suit sans-pocket square is like a hotdog without ketchup. Sure, the dog gets the job done on its own but sometimes, the ketchup is the best part.
TP: What is one fashion tip that every guy should adhere to, but doesn’t?
DT: Wear your pants at the right length. Forgetting about the height of your waistband for a minute, pant legs that are too long can easily distract from an otherwise strong look. It can make even a well-fitting slim suit look disheveled. A good length for your pants is for them to form a minimal break as they reach your shoes.
TP: How does Black Lapel support the community?
DT: We donate all returned clothing to our non-profit partners at Year Up, Career Gear, NY/NJ Needs You, and the Salvation Army. With Year Up in particular, we work closely with the staff to find the right sizes for their students who often come from very economically disadvantaged communities. We also visit with the Year Up students a couple of times per year to mentor them on professional style and entrepreneurship.
TP: Where is the most exotic place you’ve shipped a Black Lapel Suit or Shirt?
DT: We’ve shipped to 73 countries at last count so it’s a bit tough to select one for most exotic! We got a kick out of shipping a recent order to Jersey (no, not the one south of NYC). The Bailiwick of Jersey is one of the British Channel Islands off the coast of Normandy France. And yes, that’s already more information than you needed or wanted to know!
TP: What do the Folks at Black Lapel do to cool off when you have down time?
DT: We like to BBQ, listen to good music and drink alcohol that our customers send us in the office (we encourage this).
TP: Where do you think the future of mens fashion is headed?
DT: Custom everything.
TP: What is the future of Black Lapel?
DT: Custom everything.
TP: Where do you want Black Lapel to be in ten years?
DT: We think BL will continue to evolve into a full scale lifestyle brand offering life-improving services and products to help men dress, live and become better every day.