What Would They Know? Paul Kanat of Wolf Kanat

by | Fashion Wisdom, What Would They Know?, Wisdom


Polka Dot Bride

Over the years we’ve seen mens’ fashion becoming more colourful, playful and a real expression of the man himself. At Wolf Kanat  there is an emphasis on a well fitting suit for a perfectly groomed groom and his groomsmen, and also touches that reflect his personality whether it be in a coloured jacket, shirts with colours or patterns or socks that would – well, literally blow your socks off with their brightly coloured and wild patterns. Carrying on the proud and hard working legacy of a business that started in the 1950’s can be a heavy responsibility, but the present Wolf Kanat family members have honoured their heritage with a flair for design, moving with the times, and a pride in their profession, all the while celebrating the great legacy of the man who started it all – Wolf Kanat. Here’s their story.

Can you please give us a brief history of Wolf Kanat?

Wolf’s family originated from Russia, and after many generations, his parents left there as a young family seeking a better life and traveled to Cyprus at the turn of the century. Wolf lived there into his teens. He was educated there and upon leaving school, spoke 6 languages. He traveled to Australia arriving in Melbourne in the 1920’s. Based on his time living in Cyprus, Wolf spent his days in Melbourne, walking in and around Lonsdale St and quickly found work there. After holding down a number of jobs Wolf commenced a tailoring vocation studying tailoring and design, and working in the industry located in Flinders Lane.

In 1951 after Wolf had started the Flair Menswear company, Wolf relocated from premises in the city of Melbourne to High St Preston to its own dedicated building. From there he built a new premises in Bell St Preston. His company continued to grow. In the 1960’s the company moved into the high tech space introducing new pattern grading systems. In the 70’s & 80’s the company invested heavily into state of the art equipment, comprising of automated sewing machines, computerised cutting machines and computerised design systems, which paved the way for the future. The company is led by four of Wolf’s grandsons, and now boasts a couple of fourth generation family members.

Image courtesy of Wolf Kanat

What has characterised the Wolf Kanat brand from its earliest days?

The Wolf Kanat brand’s hallmarks are based on its tailoring heritage. Design and quality are key pillars and the patterns have be honed over 9 decades.

What legacy did your grandfather leave future generations of your family? How are you carrying on your grandfather’s legacy?

Wolf’s legacy is having the family business culture modelled on his strongest values, being hard work, honesty and integrity. Wolf often said “the harder you work the luckier you get.”

Image courtesy of Wolf Kanat

Do your European roots and history bring a sense of timelessness to Wolf Kanat?
Although we strive against the mundane we do not intend to overpower the Wolf Kanat customer and man. Our focus is on broadening and expressing the personality of the person wearing our clothing. That is to say the clothing and style is an extension of his personality and reflects and complements the strengths and character he possesses.

What do the words ‘impeccable style’ mean to you?

Impeccable style for Wolf Kanat is a man that understands how to mix and match pattern, colour, day, night, formal and casual looks. The most important element is to master the basic components of your wardrobe first understanding what works for you and your daily life, skin colour, work and leisure. A man with impeccable style is then seamlessly able to connect all the components with ease. He is the guy you know that manages to never look over or under dressed and can break the rules and get away with it making it all appear as easy as 1, 2, 3. A lot of men need assistance; we see that as being an important part of our service to our customers.

Image by Marco Marroni Photographer

What, in your opinion, are the hallmarks of a well fitting suit?

A well fitting suit is the art of tailoring. This is not something that happens by chance. In our case we have perfected our pattern work over many decades of refinement making sure the final shape is both on trend and complimentary to the man being fitted. As men can be broadly grouped into slimmer or more solid types we have always ensured we offer a few different silhouettes to suit the individual. The ultimate goal of a well fitting suit is to provide shape and style without compromising comfort.
Then there are the final adjustments of length that can be attended to at the point of sale. The final result will be a suit that has clean shoulders, perfect back drape, nice shaped chest and a waisted silhouette and lastly sleeves showing just enough shirt cuff.

Image courtesy of Wolf Kanat

What constitutes the ‘black tie’ look?

Strictly speaking, Black tie is Black tie although there is room within this formality to show more variation in style and looks than there has been historically. As business dressing has become more casual there has been an increase in design offered for formal, special occasion and in particular wedding options for men.

Image by T-One Image

We see variations with the black tie look – e.g. satin lapels, fabric lapels, self-tie bowties, bowties on a neckband etc. Are there any ‘rules’ to adhere to if we really want to look formal?

Today the tuxedo can be Black, Navy, and Silver, Ivory / White or burgundy with either tone on tone silk lapels or contrast. Shirts can be white fly front or bib front with bow ties and pocket squares in matching patterns/ colors. Today there are less constraints in black tie looks which can make it a lot of fun to put the outfit together.

Image by Marco Marroni Photographer, Image by T-One Image

Is there any room for unique accessories with black tie?

The accessories can often provide the relief from formal dressing by adding quirky cufflinks, pocket squares and bow ties. A set of wolf’s head cufflinks can be a real talking point to finish off a Wolf Kanat black tie outfit.

What are the appropriate shoes, belts and socks to wear at a black tie occasion?

The best shoes to wear are either round or pointed toe derby patent leather shoes. The mirror finish really lifts the look. The belt should be tone on tone to the shoes or pants where as the socks can be playful and quirky. Wolf offers a unique range of socks of which a portion is designed specifically for formal and black tie, matching back to shoes, shirt and suit colorations. Our socks are often a talking point of our customer’s looks and quietly make a bold statement. Wolf’s accessory offer makes this process easy and if you are unsure, one of our team will assist in the selection process to ensure you have the right look for the right occasion.

Image by Tin Drum Photography

What is meant by ‘white tie’? When is it appropriate to use this dress code?

White tie is full evening dress and usually consists of tails for men. It is rare that this dress code is expected as its application and rules seldom apply to contemporary requirements. As celebrity and media based looks have increased in importance a strict dress policy has subsided allowing more personality to be on display. The main issue to note however is, if you want to break the rules you need to know the rules first.

What has online shopping bought to your brand?

Online shopping has been a blessing for those that want to do some research online before going to try clothes. For those either not keen on bricks and mortar or can’t get there then they have the convenience of shopping from home.

Image courtesy of Wolf Kanat

How can grooms ensure a perfect fit when ordering a suit or shirt online?

Most suits need an alteration at the point of sale so it’s better to have an expert attend to this in store if possible or alternatively clothes bought on line can be taken to a local tailor to be altered.

What role do your tailoring specialists offer the groom and groomsmen?

Our tailoring specialists offer the groom and groomsmen an important range of services outside of the normal range of offers including colour consultation with the bride, styling of look, product and services to the type of wedding, custom made services down to final fitting and grooming on the day. It is not uncommon for our team to receive an invite for the all-important day, which is how seriously we take our service.


Image by Sophie Baker Photography, Image by Fresh Photography

Are the groom and groomsmen still wearing matching outfits in 2018, or are you seeing more variety?

It is not uncommon for the groom and groomsman to wear matching looks often separated by satin lapel finish and bow versus long ties to separate the groom from the groomsmen. However an increasing range of customers are looking for a stronger variation in looks, which we cater for from a wide range of ready to wear and also custom made services. Our colour matching consultation with the bride and groom allows greater flexibility of final looks while ensuring nothing is left to chance.

How do you advise on the perfect colour combinations to suit the groom’s wedding theme?

This is a critical part of our service. If the bride can’t be present or the groom prefers she isn’t part of the consultation we offer a take away consultation pack, which includes swatches of cloth to ensure the overall wedding themes, and colours are considered and catered for in the final execution.

 Image by T-One Image

Formerly, we used to wear black shoes with a grey suit, and black shoes with a black suit. What colour and fabric trends are you seeing in 2018 for wedding attire?

The biggest change has been the emergence of Blue, which has then made way for Silver, Ivory and burgundy reds. The rules have completely changed and there is a wider range of self-expression and fashion-ability within the final solution. The location of the wedding bears a stronger influence also. Weddings are now taking place in the country, beach side, and lunchtime weekdays through to the traditional formal occasion.

What are your favorite fabrics for summer and winter – that help the groom look his best throughout the wedding day?

My favourite option is the emergence of ivory with a nod to classical Gatsby appeal but perfect for winter and summer weddings alike. It’s fresh, new and traditional all at the same time.

Image by Marco Marroni Photographer

Is Wolf Kanat stocked Australia wide and in overseas locations?

Wolf Kanat is stocked nationwide through Myer, independent menswear specialists and our flagship Mid-city store in Sydney. Although we have no offshore distribution currently we have a large number of customers that purchase our product when visiting Australia and often have online customer enquiries. Our digital presence allows us to reach globally while our focus currently remains on our Australian distribution.

Thank you Paul for sharing your story. Whether for a black tie wedding or a beachside event, the groom can now have fun with colour and accessories to make his look unique, and the best bit? They are stocked Australia wide! To find out more about Wolf Kanat visit the website.

Headshot courtesy of Wolf Kanat.



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