Gentlemen Rebels: Commonwealth Proper/ Fashion
From a promising professional soccer player to an authority on refined men’s style – meet the mind behind Commonwealth Proper, the custom suit brand that is making waves on the east coast of the US.
Please tell us a bit about yourself and the store. Where did you first get inspired to open a tailor-made suit store?
I was a professional soccer player for a few years and then practiced law for about 6 years. Living in London while playing soccer gave me a real appreciation for fine craftsmanship, as I frequented Savile Row, suiting’s Mecca.
Back in 2007, there weren’t a lot of slim-fit, off-the-rack shirts at that time that were also made in the United States. We began making ready-made shirts here in the U.S. using custom tailors, which naturally led to us getting into the custom market, which is now the primary revenue stream for our company.
We don’t just sell great-fitting clothes. We provide sartorial advice on a level that traditional retailers simply can’t compete. We give our Wardrobe Advisors hundreds of hours of style and fit training. The result is that our Wardrobe Advisors become trusted experts that our clients rely upon. So when they purchase, clients know they will look great and feel good. That piece of mind sets us apart. We have a very specific brand that is built on several key pillars – Quality, Timeless, Education and made in the USA. We see ourselves as “gentleman rebels” in the industry and we attract those type of clients.
Read Another Article – Top 5 Vintage Boutiques
Who are the style icons that inspire you and your business?
The late David Bowie for being the epitome of personal style and not caring what others thought of him.
Tom Ford for his commitment to quality.
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright for his innovative design and commitment to education. He was prolific in the magnitude of his work and also built schools to educate the next generation of architects. My father is an architect, so we went to places like Falling Water growing up rather than Disneyland.
You focus on the subtle details. What can a customer expect from a Commonwealth Proper suit?
You don’t have to hit people over the head with style. We like to say it should take people 15 minutes to recognize that you are the best-dressed man in the room. Details like colored thread through just one suit button or button-hole will give you more than if they all were colored. Less is more.
Read Another Article – Winter City Break Look Book
Why do you think it’s important for everyone to have a well-cut suit in their wardrobe?
A suit that is well-cut makes you look more dashing, fit and people will certainly take you more seriously. You will feel better too. I’ve seen it thousands of times over the years – men getting into one of our suits and a transformation happens, no matter what their body type.
Your original store is based in Philadelphia. How do you describe the city’s style?
Philly has and always will have a chip on its shoulder as a blue collar city – one built on hard work and hand work. But we are also the cradle of this country’s independence and democracy, so it’s also a thinking man’s city. That dichotomy provides a great balance. We’re a city that has traditionally been laughed at for our clothing decisions. We threw the gauntlet down years ago to change that.
What made you open the next store in Atlanta?
Atlanta is a city that has grown over the years and is the unofficial capital of the south. Men down there like to dress up, even more so than Philadelphia. So it seemed like a great place to open another showroom. And it has been.
You have recently started creating custom pieces for women. What prompted this new market?
Many times men will be accompanied by a woman – girlfriend, friend, wife, etc. – and the women would always say they wish there was a place like this for them. We waited and waited and didn’t dip our toe in until now because there was so much to do on the men’s side. There’s still much to do for the men, but we couldn’t continue to ignore the interest on the women’s side either.
If you could design a custom-made suit for anyone in the world, who would it be and what would the suit be like?
Owen Wilson. Classic black tuxedo, with a quirky lining, for his next awards ceremony – probably an Oscar for the new Zoolander movie. I see so many celebs step on the red carpet looking terrible. I want to make sure he’s on point as he’s one of my favorite actors.
Craig Arthur von Schroeder
36 – 45
Clean design, soccer and dogs.
Clutter, ill-fitting clothing, condescension
Every man is the architect of their own destiny.