Leanluxe, a relatively new website focusing on the business side of fashion, has an interview with Mark Cho, a co-owner of The Armoury and Drake’s. The interview is short, although there are some nice excerpts:
On how The Armoury tries to keep tailored clothing relevant:
Our overall style and presentation. Trying to present tailored clothing as something that isn’t just formal or for work, but just a beautiful and wearable aesthetic with a lot of love and care going into the product. We purposely try to eschew a lifestyle presentation, avoiding imagery like playing polo on horses, lounging in your private jet, etc. Instead, we promote ourselves as a group of people and a sensibility that can be both more relevant and more able to allow the wearer to make choices for themselves rather than buy into a prescribed look.
On how he became a partner at Drake’s (and how other investors apparently wanted to water down the label):
There wasn’t much to it. I was buying from them and I loved the product. I met [CEO Michael Hill] and we understood each other. He had offers from people before but they would have shifted the brand downmarket and into very casual items and then look to make money on licensing. I wanted to keep the production, keep it British and keep it real, so I was a logical choice as a successor. It was a wonderful, healthy company that was making money and making its own products, I was and still am absolutely in love with the company. Michael and I met to discuss around April 2010 and had closed the deal about two months later.
And hints that another Armoury store may open in the near future?
Traveling a lot keep me on my toes. Frequent changes in scenery make you appreciate how different each of these cities are and how best to approach a varied audience. From simple things like understanding “New York needs more raincoats” to dealing with our best customers in person and on a very personal level. Our customers are very international people and their time is precious. We try to approach them with things that are not only special but also thought out in the context of their lives.
In terms of building The Armoury, we are not aiming to have many stores. A handful worldwide. I think if we could open one more Armoury within three years, I’d be very happy.
You can read the rest here. Leanluxe, incidentally, has a great online newsletter for those who want to keep up with industry-related news (you can sign up for it on their website). Even for those outside of the business, it’s a nice way to peek behind the curtain. Also worth signing up for Business of Fashion, although they only allow you to see so many free articles per month before you have to pay.