GQ TALKS TO FOUNDER JOEL ANTHONY ABOUT THE MARKET FOR MEN’S LUXURY DESIGNER SUIT HIRE.
If there’s one item of clothing you can count on hanging in every man’s wardrobe, it’s the suit. Whilst some will favour designer labels and luxe fabric, others will be the discarded tux worn at the end-of-school formal – a tangible memory of your awkward teens, horrendous pick-up lines, and pre-pubescent body you no longer have.
The fact is, there are no shortage of occasions where a suit is the dress-code must-have, but if your job doesn’t require you to wear one daily, there’s a strong chance that your knowledge of fit, tailoring and style are slightly dated. Enter Joel Anthony of Mr. Fierze.
Born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Joel’s background is one of fashion and beauty. Having worked across Perth Fashion Week and AVEDA-based hair salons, Joel found himself organising many a fashion event whilst sharing his passion across social media channels.
Joel seemed destined to break into the market of suit rental, having worked on multiple fashion shoots and shows, as well as managing influencers and fashion partnerships at the races & fashion week. With a keen eye for tailoring and inherent knowledge about what looks good and works in terms of fit, length, colour and shoe choice, Joel shares this with the clientele of Mr. Fierze.
GQ sat down with the Joel Anthony, director and founder of Mr. Fierze, to find out more about men’s luxury designer suit hire and what makes his vision such a successful one.
GQ: How did the idea of Mr. Fierze come about?
Joel Anthony: Having worked in the fashion and beauty industry and attending numerous events over the years, I found it hard to keep up with the demand of attending multiple events without burning a hole in my wallet to purchase a new outfit every single time. Not only that, me being me, I liked pieces that were unique and different, which lead me to buy an outfit only to have them sit in my closet after one wear. I thought surely there must be a better way to do this!
At the time, I had a close friend in Perth who owned a womenswear designer rental store and had constant conversations with her on how it all worked in the background. As we all know, rental with womenswear is very popular and with that I started to study the hire market. I sought to see what was out there for men in terms of designer suit hiring. The offerings were not designer-based, and they were stale looking.
So I decided to give it a crack and see if there was indeed a gap in the market for a men’s designer hire concept. I had a fashion designer as a best friend who I discussed the idea with, and together we went around town and scoured for 20 suits that I could start hiring out. Little did I know that fast forward a year later and I’d have grown from 20 to 150 suits, stock a whole range of accessories, boast a whole showroom within my house, and have a loyal set of male clientele.
Design rental has been very popular in womenswear, why do you think it remained such an untapped market for men?
I think simply because of the stigma that men don’t care as much about fashion and designer labels as women. There’s that traditional notion that men usually rustle up something last minute from their closets for an event. To be honest, it was also a big concern of mine on whether men could be bothered enough to set an appointment, and plan their outfit in advance to hire, but that notion was completely shattered from the moment I started Mr. Fierze.
Granted, so many men are still last minute beings but I work with that element. The other big factor is the fit and tailoring. With women’s dresses you can get away with not tailoring the hems of the garments, but with suiting you just cannot get away with bad fits and long/short hems on the sleeves and pants. Hence, am very careful with the suits I bring into the store, and also offer hemming services to make sure it looks like it was made for them.
Whilst men prove to be avid consumers of fashion, they’re also renowned for being last minute in their fashion choices at the best of times. How do you navigate this challenge?
Very last minute indeed, but I pride myself in growing with the demands and meeting needs. I knew that meeting these last-minute appointments would be crucial to my business and so I work with that. I have an overnight turn-around with my hires.
In fact, I have men that have come in to see me only a few hours before their event just because their suit didn’t fit anymore or they just left it too late. I do what I can to accommodate my clients’ needs as much as I can, and that’s why they come back.
A crucial component of suit styling for men is the fit and tailoring. Can this still be achieved with design rental?
Yes, I did a lot of research prior to starting out on how I would offer men the best fit even thought it was rental. I went to a number of hire places prior to opening that let me walk out of the store with no alteration option and I knew I didn’t want to replicate that. So, I have put in place temporary hemming solutions for the jacket sleeves and pants. Apart form that, I am also very selective with my suit fits – they’re not too slim but also not standard fit, giving a broad range of body types a good fit.
What do you think sets Mr. Fierze apart from its competitors and others on the market?
My key differences within the designer hire space is my designer labels, the style of the pieces I stock, the elements of it being different but not too out there as to scare gents away and also the one-on-one styling experience that comes with the hire.
Unlike a normal retail store, my clients don’t come in and flick through the racks picking an outfit out. I operate Mr. Fierze like a showroom, so the moment a client enters they are invited to sit on our lounge and talk about the event they are attending and what look they intend to achieve. They are then styled to the nines and given a few options based on the consultation. This is not what makes our experience ‘luxury’ in the hire space.
What is the process involved when it comes to hiring a rental?
My tagline sums it up: ‘Fit, Wear, Return – It’s that simple’. I make the whole process as seamless as possible. A client sets up a time to come in and I allocate a whole 45-minute slot to them.
You sit down on our beautiful chesterfield couch and you tell us what event you are attending and the look that you envision achieving. We then give you a few styling options. We style you up to the nines so that you don’t have to worry about what pairing accessories to pair up. This is the fun bit because gents loosen up during the process and begin to try on suits they would never have normally tried on. This element here is crucial and why our clients love the service; they don’t worry about pairing looks together; they are styled in a few looks to the nines, and they merely have to select the option they want.
When they attend their events, they are so proud to wear the look out like as if they put it together themselves. After the fitting, we then reserve the outfit. One day before the event you pick up at the door, ad you return it the day after. Dry cleaning and alterations are all taken care of by us within the price. It’s so simple!
The best part is once our client has been in and tried a few different suits, they remember the various outfits and message me direct on my mobile to have various suits reserved for different events. It becomes even easier with the direct access to me and the sizing records/profile card we have of each client.
What are the plans for Mr. Fierze in the future?
I started form my house a year ago and now the space has outgrown my whole living room. We will be opening our first store within the coming months, and it will be a beautiful space for you to come and unwind, have a play with fashion, style, tailoring and hire.
Eventually, I would love to release our own line of Mr. Fierze suits that you can still hire or purchase. We will also eventually delve into the made-to-measure arena as we already get asked all the time if we could produce suits for our loyal clients. Mr. Fierze has big plans to eventually evolve into a one-stop shop that encompasses the best of fashion, grooming, barbering, and more.
Watch this space.
Hire your statement look today at www.mrfierze.com
Article grabbed from – https://www.gq.com.au/style/style-101/everything-you-need-to-know-before-hiring-a-luxury-suit/news-story/e249f94ad0a68b4665dc43dc6da606cc