Globalisation may have its downsides, but the last few years have marked a period of significant growth for independent menswear brands. Whether in New York or Gothenburg, boutique retailers are offering a more interesting and nuanced experience than many department stores or big-brand outlets.
“The larger a brand gets, the more impersonal it inevitably feels,” says The Armoury co-founder Mark Cho. “Men want to shop in a place where they feel a real connection to their environment, the product and the people selling it.”
These six stores are some of the style destinations we admire the most, not just for the way they champion small, high-quality brands but because they are run by passionate people. Check them out on your travels, or find them online wherever you happen to be.
Clutch Cafe: London
Clutch Cafe may have opened in London’s Fitzrovia last year, but the store is a temple to Americana. The Clutch team curates the very best Japanese clothing inspired by midcentury American style, and it’s worth a visit simply to discover new brands: Jelado, Calee, Soundman, Stevenson Overall and more. From authentic reproductions of printed Hawaiian shirts to outstanding denim jackets and horsehide coats, this place has the lot. There’s a great coffee shop, too.
PHOTO : ALEX NATT
The Armoury: New York, Hong Kong
The Armoury is the godfather of independent menswear stores, one of the first to set up shop and perhaps the best-known today. The brainchild of Mark Cho and Alan See, the boutique is all about their simple vision: “We aim to be timeless,” says Cho. “Our products are inspired by classic style, with extra care taken in design, detail and quality.” With the likes of Coherence coats, Carmina shoes, tailoring from Ring Jacket and Belgian loafers from Baudoin & Lange to choose from, we can’t argue.
PHOTO : COURTESY OF THE ARMOURY
Broadway & Sons: Gothenburg
“Vintage clothing speaks for itself. Why buy something modern that’s been made to look old, when you can own the real thing?” says Nathaniel Asseraf, one of three members of the family who, in Sweden, run Europe’s best military-surplus and vintage emporium. Along with his father and brother, Asseraf is responsible for sourcing a huge variety of rare vintage and ex-military menswear, curated with passion and flair. If you’re into high-quality clothes with character, this should be a place of pilgrimage.
PHOTO : COURTESY OF BROADWAY & SONS
Beige Habilleur in Paris
Founded in 2015, Beige Habilleur has quickly established itself as a need-to-know men’s style destination. The co-founders, Basile Khadiry and Jean-Baptiste Ménétrier, set out to stock the best of everything, from Scottish knitwear to Parisian tailoring, but synthesise it in a contemporary way—as evidenced by their chic biannual lookbooks. “We’re not into the fantasy of replicating a well-dressed man from the ’30s wearing a tweed suit,” says Khadiry. “We’re about dressing for today.”
PHOTO : COURTESY OF BEIGE HABILLEUR
Trunk: London, Zurich
Though Swedish Mats Klingberg of Trunk Clothiers is as compelling an advocate of Scandi chic as you’ll find anywhere, he doesn’t stock only Scandinavian brands. From exclusive Camoshita pieces (Japanese) to Lardini jackets (Italian), everything at Trunk looks cool and clean. Moreover, Klingberg has created a retail experience that takes the pain out of browsing. “Many of our customers don’t particularly enjoy shopping,” he explains, “but they do enjoy well-made clothes, so our aim is always to make your life easy.”
PHOTO : SAMUEL ZELLER
Bryceland’s has a deserved reputation for being one of the coolest menswear stores there is. Founded by Ethan Newton, formerly of the Armoury, the company’s two shops are packed with own-brand designs that range from rayon shirts to denim chore coats and Italian trousers. “We draw inspiration from the time periods we love, from 1940s southern-Italian tailoring to 1950s West Coast sportswear—nothing is off-limits,” says Newton.