Build and they will come. Sometimes if what you want isn’t out there you have to go create it. That is what Benjamin Capuano and Kyall Walker of Suit Your Style did. After noticing how hard it was to come across well tailored, soft cut but affordable suits, the duo set out to venture the Neapolitan tailoring world is less obvious place, Melbourne, Australia. We sat with Ben to get the back story on Suit Your Style and find out what’s really happening in Melbourne’s #menswear scene.
Corey Knight: How did you get into the world of fashion? Was it your first career choice?
Benjamin Capuano: It definitely was not an early career choice, I personally studied electro-technology. It just started as a keen interest, and kind of got out of control. I’ve been drawn to clothing and design forever, in any form – from architecture, furniture, art, clothing or cars – but considered it a hobby, not a business or working lifestyle.
CK: What’s the story behind SYS?
BC: We popped up around a year ago, as there weren’t really many options for guys seeking tailored suits that were cut soft and with unique character in Melbourne. We were getting a lot of referrals and started to grow from the demand. The business was essentially set up with no real proven market, we had to go out and create the market space that we saw ourselves occupying. The culture for made to measure, custom suiting just wasn’t so strong a couple of years ago (in Melbourne). It took a while to put together a model that hacked out all the conventional parts to a bricks and mortar business so we could offer high quality garments for a price point of under $700. It’s the marrying of innovation with modern technique. We’ve just streamlined the process to reduce the retail. We deal directly with mills to source our fabric and have implemented a killer process from the pattern making and tailoring through to the logistics.
As for us – Myself and my business partner essentially founded Suityourstyle then strategically put together the team of partners we have now. There are a lot of moving parts to modern business and I firmly believe in working on your strengths, not your weaknesses. If you can get someone with same vision as you but is greater than you in certain areas, bring them in, in the long run you’ll be so much better for it.
CK: What is your companies philosophy and what do you hope to bring to the market?
We’re simply trying to cultivate an attitude of tailored daily style, that is accessible and at a realistic price. We’re not trying to reinvent the suit, we aren’t offering a 3 armed jacket or anything, just modern Neapolitan inspired suits that are light, slim, soft shouldered & hand finished – in a variety of great cloth.
CK: How is the menswear scene in Melbourne & Sydney?
BC: It’s good – there’s a bit of a renaissance with how guys are approaching daily style. I think menswear has for a long time been overly contrived and tied to occasion… We really try to break down the stigma that tailored clothing has to be safe and left for the office or some special event. I think the fact there’s been a lack of good retail options and stylish role models in Australia has lead to the skinny jeans and t-shirt culture. But overall I think guys are starting to change, maybe this is due to the ‘micro blogging’ explosion with Instagram/tumblr and a wealth of great online publications putting the spotlight on the new ‘street’ take on tailoring.
CK: With starting a company there are always ups and downs, what’s the more important lesson you have learned so far?
BC: There’s a few things I stress on as being very important to us. Most important is customer service. This means being honest and communicating with your clients. This ‘format’ of shopping is proving to be really popular again, and its much more than just walking away with a suit bag slung over your shoulder. It’s the experiential way and manner guys are shopping. That is that the transaction never ends, essentially being someone’s ‘go to’ shop or tailor, is a relationship that only ends when your service dies.Though a lesson on the business side of things would be, don’t let your ambition outweigh your bank balance! We’re bursting with ideas that we want to pull together, and I really want it done yesterday, but the fact is things take time. You need to let everything grow organically and at a manageable pace.
CK: What’s on the horizon for SYS?
We’re working on having our online shop completed by Christmas, and adding to our range. Some accessories will start dropping in the new year too. In January we’ll be heading to Florence for the bi-annual Pitti Uomo trade show.