We recently had the pleasure of visiting the showroom of Michael Andrews bespoke (MAB) in NYC. Mr. Andrews and his team have built a stable business over the last 5 years serving men in DC and NYC a like. This week our Menswear Dialogue Seriescontinues in a discussion with Mr. Andrews before his grand opening in DC. We're confident to say we're excited about the expansion of MAB into DC. It's comforting to see and hear that someone, somewhere recognizes that there are men (and plenty of them) in DC who dress well and are looking to patronize the services of a quality tailor. Well done, Mr. Andrews.
Image Granted -What was the beginning of Michael Andrews Bespoke? Where did the idea come from? What was the inspiration behind the business?
Michael Andrews -As a recovering corporate attorney, I wore a suit and tie to work every day for 8 years. When I couldn't find off-the-rack suits that fit the way I liked, I began having my suits custom made. And after trying a handful of tailors and still not getting the exact fit I was after, I decided to open my own tailor shop.
We started making suits for friends and colleagues and the business grew from word-of-mouth and client referrals. We are known for our modern fit that remains workplace appropriate. The majority of our team worked in office settings prior to now so we understand our clients’ needs better than anyone because we are our clients.
IG -We understand you were the designated tailor for Dan Trepanier AKA The Style Blogger's first collection. How did this come about? What was the process like working with Dan? Were you satisfied with the outcome? Do you have plans to work with other bloggers in the future?
MA - I met Dan when he first came in as a client in 2008 and he then began helping the team on a part-time basis while still in school shortly thereafter. We have a great working relationship and when he approached me with the idea for a small ready-to-wear collection that was well conceived I thought it represented a great opportunity for people who aren't in New York and can’t visit for appointments to have a small taste of MAB.
We don’t have plans to work with other bloggers – but are always open for collaborations and partnerships, especially for our accessories collection.
IG -Why have you chosen to come to DC? What about the area intrigues you as a tailor? What about DC intrigues you as a businessman? What do you see for the future of MAB in DC?
MA - As a tailor and a businessman, the first reason we chose DC was because we already have a great client base in the city and they kept telling us we should come down because there’s nothing like what we offer in the area.
As a businessman, DC was the perfect choice for a second location primarily because of its proximity to New York. We wanted to go to a place that was easily accessible without sacrificing service in New York. It’s easy for our new staff to commute back and forth from DC to NY. Our General Manager for DC has been in training in NY for a month. Our focus is making sure that our clients in DC get the same level of service that our New York clients are getting, and that our New York clients continue to get the same level of quality that they’re used to. As a tailor, DC is a perfect choice because it has such a strong suit culture. There’s hardly another city where so many people wear a suit 5 days a week.
Our growth plans are simply to grow as big and quickly as we possibly can without sacrificing a single bit of customer service. That could mean twenty locations or two. The future at MAB is exciting.
IG -How does the DC sartorialist compare to the well-dressed men in other cities in the country and around the world in your opinion? Does DC really deserve the stigma that there is no style here?
MA - I do think it might be true that the average guy in DC today is not as fashion forward as his counterpart in New York. DC has a more conservative culture overall and there’s less of a European influence in menswear. New York men tend to be more comfortable with color and pattern. I think part of the DC conservative culture though is a self-fulfilling prophecy. When we started in New York 6 years ago, no one offered slim fit suits – and now Brooks Brothers has a slim line. One of the reasons we’re coming to DC is because we believe there are plenty of fashionable gentlemen in DC who are eager for something better than what’s currently offered in most local stores.
IG -What else should we know about your brand and your offerings?
MA -Our goal is to help our clients look their best by providing wardrobes uniquely tailored to their individual needs. We do whatever is necessary to deliver world-class quality, exceptional fit, modern styling and exceptional client service, and in the process we have a lot of fun.