I’m very excited to share this interview with Cherry Luk, Assistant Manager and Senior Wedding Stylist of InStitchu, with you today. InStitchu is such a fabulous concept and experience for grooms and groomsmen. Think tailored menswear with oh-so many choices of fabrics and customisation options, plus the ability to design your dream wedding suit down to the smallest detail. Their showrooms are something special too – transporting you into the realms of old school tailoring with a dedicated stylist. Plus they have an excellent online store and even travelling tailors for those who can’t make it into the InStitchu showrooms. How’s that’s for service! Read on to find out more about this menswear magic…
How did the idea and concept of InStitchu take hold and become a reality?
InStitchu is the brainchild of co-founders and friends James Wakefield and Robin McGowan. When starting out their corporate lives and building their corporate wardrobes, they both realised a large gap in the market for quality custom, tailored menswear that was both affordable, fashionable, and convenient. In 2012, InStitchu was founded, providing just that—the highest quality, custom, tailored menswear to customers both online through our website (where customers can design and order from the comfort of their home) and offline in our old-world tailoring showrooms where customers can meet with an expert stylist like myself!
Where are InStitchu stores situated (and why have you chosen these countries to have a presence in)?
InStitchu currently have nine Showrooms across Australia (in capital cities) and North America. You can find the details of our signature old-world tailoring showrooms here.
InStitchu is an Australian brand and that is where our showrooms started. More recently, InStitchu expanded into the US market, to our showroom in New York, the fashion capital of the world, giving InStitchu a global presence. InStitchu is now in a unique position because the InStitchu brand is now highly influenced by both the Australian and American market, with campaigns being shot in both countries.
Our styles and collections always maintain that Australian touch through our Woolmark certified 100% Australian Merino wool, but there is also an urban spin to our looks and designs.
Our showrooms act as an extension of our website and James and Robin take a data driven approach when considering opening a new showroom—looking at where online orders are coming from. We don’t just say, ‘Let’s open a showroom in Sydney’. We look at the online data and we test it out with pop-up stores and listen to our customers.
Images: Figtree Wedding Photography
How have you set up the showrooms to appeal to the fashion forward man? What is your point of difference?
It’s all about the client’s experience for us. Our signature showroom experience embodies old-world tailoring at its finest, where customers can enjoy a glass of whiskey and relax while our expert stylists go through our fabrics, measure the customer and offer style advice to create the perfect suit—whether it’s for a wedding, races, or for work. The fact that all of our garments are completely customisable and one a kind also appeals to the fashion forward man—they can create a garment that is completely unique to them and truly one of a kind and representative of their personality. All orders and measurements are saved to the customer’s profile, so customers can re-order from home, so we’re that perfect twist of modern and traditional which I believe appeals to the modern gentleman.
All your suits, shirts, jackets and trousers are custom made. What does “Buying new clothes in the way that it used to be done” mean to you and your customers?
We open the door to affordable, high quality, custom tailored garments to gentlemen all over the globe. We have streamlined the whole tailoring process where our clients can customise the style and fit of their garments and have garments that fit perfectly sent to their doorstep within 3-4 weeks. Again, all orders and measurements are saved to our customer’s profiles, so customers can re-order from home, so we’re that perfect twist of modern and traditional which I believe appeals to the modern gentleman.
What’s the experience in store like for your customers?
At InStitchu we offer complimentary initial wedding consultations where you and your partner or best man can meet with a wedding stylist to discuss your wedding plans, suit styles and pricing with no pressure to purchase.
If you would like to go ahead, the next step is to gather your groomsmen! Each individual wedding group is given a dedicated wedding stylist to guide them through the custom design process from start to finish. Enjoy an old-world tailoring experience with your groomsmen where your wedding stylist can take your measurements and guide you through our customisation options and premium fabrics while you enjoy a complimentary whiskey on us with your wedding party.
If you have groomsmen around the globe we can also help there—our Perfect Fit Guarantee ensures that your groomsmen can confidently measure themselves or measure their favourite fitting suit from home and add their measurements to their online profile with your wedding stylists’ helpful guidance.
Images: Milk Beach Creative
Can you describe the fabric choices for your core InStitchu range? Are you able to advise on the best fabrics for a summer wedding or a winter wedding? What would you suggest?
Our core range consists of Woolmark certified 100% Australian Merino wool, wool/linen and silk/linen blends. The best fabrics for a summer wedding are our linen blends. These blends will feel lighter than a 100% Australian Merino wool fabric, and will be less likely to crease than a 100% linen fabric, which is important for wedding photos! For a winter wedding I would recommend the opposite—go for an Australian Merino wool fabric and consider a three-piece suit including a custom, tailored vest.
Does this service mean that your suits are priced at a premium?
No, our custom, tailored suits are affordable without compromising on quality. Our custom, tailored suits start $499 for our core range fabrics and our custom, tailored shirts start from $89. All garments are crafted by our expert, Savile Row trained tailors and made from natural fibres including woolmark certified 100% Australian Merino wool, silk, linen and cotton, with no hidden costs. All orders are also covered by our perfect fit guarantee.
Are people able to buy from you online? What is the process involved if ordering online?
Definitely! Ordering online is a very simple process—customers can design from scratch or from our collections. Once they complete their design, they then enter their measurements following our simple video instructions or by measuring their favourite fitting garment. Our algorithms will pick up any anomaly measurements and a stylist will get in touch, otherwise all orders are covered by our perfect fit guarantee. Our tailors will then create the garments according to your specific design and measurements and your garments will arrive within 3-4 weeks later, and if you have any fit issues, we are only a phone call away!
Images: Milk Beach Creative
If ordering online, what is a key part of the process to ensure that everything fits as it should?
The most important part is the measurements. We have a step-by-step guide (instructional videos included!) on how to take your body measurements at home. Alternatively, you can measure your favourite shirt/suit and we can replicate the exact fit, or you can send your favourite fitting garment to us to measure for you! All orders are covered by our perfect fit guarantee and our online algorithm picks up any out-there measurements. Our tailors also QC check measurements before getting started.
You mention that you have travelling tailors who can come to the customer. What does this involve (and where does this service extend)?
We understand that not all of our customers can get to a showroom, but they still want that premium made-to-measure experience. Our experienced travelling tailors bridge this gap and will come to you. Of course, most of our wedding customers prefer to be fitted at a showroom for that beautiful old-world tailoring experience with their groomsmen! But we do offer a travelling tailor service for this reason.
One of your key points of difference are your wedding stylists. What’s their role and what they offer to the groom and groomsmen?
Our wedding stylists are here to guide new couples through the process of selecting fabrics, as well as offer style advice to design the perfect suits for their special day. The process involves a one-hour complimentary consultation with our stylists, a measurement session to measure up your wedding party for their new suits, and multiple suit fittings to ensure the suits are perfect for your big day!
Image: Mint Photography
Do you have any advice about the fit of a suit, e.g. jacket length, pants length, etc?
The general rule for jackets is to have a centimetre of shirt cuff showing at the sleeves and jacket length just below the backside. If you like slim fitting pants, you would be looking at a tapered pant leg, with the hem just touching the top of your dress shoes. Every client has their own tastes regarding the cut of their suit and our stylists are here to suggest the fit that is best suited to your preferences and body shape—that is the beauty of going custom, tailored for your wedding day, your stylist can work with you on a design that you have always dreamt of.
How does the groom stand out from his groomsmen? Are you able to offer ideas for grooms to consider?
There are a couple of ways to make the groom shine on his big day:
- Three-piece suit for the groom; two-piece suit for the groomsmen (I highly recommend this option! The vest will make the overall look more formal, and will make the groom stand out even with his jacket off.)
- Tuxedo for groom; normal two-piece suit for the groomsmen.
- Bow tie for groom and ties for the groomsmen.
These are only a couple of ideas. Meet with our wedding stylists to create unique looks that will work best with the theme and colour scheme of your wedding.
Are grooms staying with colour to ensure their suit is unique, or do you see more grooms choosing fabric with patterns to emphasise their point of difference?
That all depends on the theme of the wedding. The most popular and the safest colours are blue and navy. Usually if going for a more traditional navy, Grooms will opt for something with a fine crossgrain or a nailhead texture, so the suit looks more unique for their big day. But we see a range of different styles, really depending on the theme of the wedding and the personality of the groom!
Images: Milk Beach Creative
Are you able to advise the groom about the perfect accessories?
Whether the groom is wearing a tuxedo, a suit, or opting for a more casual sports jacket on their day, a pocket square is always a nice touch to complete the look. You can always add a bit of colour with a pocket square to brighten up your wedding look or to add a bit more flair.
What solutions are you able to offer in the way of alterations or remakes?
At InStitchu, we have a Perfect Fit Guarantee, which does exactly what it says. If a customer’s suit doesn’t fit absolutely perfectly every time, then we’re happy to make alterations free of charge, or even completely remake a garment. If there’s ever going to be a day when you want your suit to be perfect, it’s your wedding day—so we guarantee the perfect fit!
In what time frame should we expect a garment to be delivered?
We like to have a minimum of 12 weeks for weddings to ensure all garments are perfectly tailored in time for the wedding. When you take into consideration the groom and sometimes multiple groomsmen can be on different schedules, we do just need at least 12 weeks from order placement to final fittings for an entire wedding party.
What do you most enjoy about your job as Assistant Manager and Senior Wedding Stylist at InStitchu?
The best thing is seeing my clients looking amazing in their perfectly fitted suits on their wedding day. I love seeing the wedding photos my clients send through after their dream wedding!
Image: Milk Beach Creative
Thanks Cherry for inviting us in to the InStitchu world. What an excellent service and experience you offer for grooms and groomsmen. We especially love the old-world touch. To find out more about InStitchu and their incredible custom, tailored menswear, head to the InStitchu website.
Headshot courtesy of InStitchu