“With ‘What Makes A Man’, we are exploring the brand’s legacy in today’s context, by projecting the initial vision of the founder onto the world of today – and the future. There is fashion, of course, but we are trying to tell a story in addition to it.
“Today, if you want to have a conversation with the people who are interested in a brand, or its potential customers, you have to be honest. This is why we don’t speak about any subjects that we don’t relate to, and also why we don’t want to attach any labels onto the brand if it was never so. The idea is to open up, and show who we truly are.
“The campaign begins with a question, and we’ve seen our online engagement go up by about four to five times because of it. It’s always very nice to see both supporters and detractors because the question of ‘What Makes A Man’ goes beyond fashion, and when you have different opinions, a discussion takes place. Their respective views may be unchanged at the end, but each has already explained his or her own stance and added to the conversation. In fact, we didn’t moderate the comments on our social media accounts, so what you see are all the actual comments that we’ve received. We want to provide a platform for such a discussion. It’s like a forest, where each tree is someone’s personal opinion.
“The idea of masculinity differs across cultures, and the opinions expressed have varied accordingly. The concept of masculinity is reflected in our clothes, but we do not design a collection to suit a market – we need to have our own style and our own opinions, or we’ll become very market-driven and lose the brand’s essence.
Instead, what we are offering to different customers in different markets are our services and experiences. In some places, we have customers who want to buy everything quickly and leave immediately. In others, a man can spend two hours just to pick a single pair of socks. We are evolving how we operate in the individual stores, so each has its own personality to meet the needs of the customers that visit.
“On another level, we are also reacting to the changing needs of our customers. For example, you could be spending $10,000 with us three years ago on shirts, suits, and shoes, like sets of uniform. Today, you may be spending as much, but the composition of your wardrobe has changed. Maybe it’s just one suit, but you will throw in a trench coat with it. And because our customers’ needs are becoming more varied, we want to create a more personalised experience. We have invested a great deal into our made-to-measure and bespoke departments to do this. It’s more important to give you the best that we can offer based on your needs – completely customised if you want – so that you can be yourself.”