|Posted by manofthehour on January 3, 2012 at 1:00 PM|
The fashion industry is a tough business for young male designers to get into, with a mission to help others look and be their best at all times. Future designers often labor at fashion school and attempt to establish their design representation through established ranks. Yet there is always an exception. And in the case of Albert Shyy and Ming Chang, that exception is all the more true.
These designers graduated from UC Berkeley with degrees that could not have been further from the world of fashion than a mathematician would be from becoming a Broadway actor. Yet, as you will learn in this interview by the founders of the bespoke design label AlbertMing, life has a way of leading you down an uncharted path to success.
Man of the Hour: As graduates of UC Berkeley, with degrees in Business (Albert Shyy) and Computer Science (Ming Chang), this would not seem to be a pathway into the fashion industry for either of you. Most future designers labor through design schools and work under well-established fashion houses before venturing out on their own. What’s your story?
Naked Suits by AlbertMing: We sort of ventured into the fashion industry by accident, after spending time globe-hopping due to a mix of work and a desire to explore the world. From living and working in places like Singapore and Shanghai, we saw a need in the market for more versatile tailored clothing that you could wear comfortably at work or to the club. After shopping forsuits in many retail and department stores in the States, we also found a dearth of suits with a slimmer cut that we both liked so much overseas. We wanted to create clothing that guys in their 20s and 30s can identify with, that lets them beat the weather conditions while looking sharp.
MH: “Naked Suits” is a curious and interesting name for a suiting line. How did you come up with the name? What does it mean?
NSAM: We wanted the first line of AlbertMing to reflect the inspiration for our clothing—suits so comfortable that you wouldn’t even feel like you were wearing one.
MH: Now there are numerous suiting makers out there from giants like Armani or Ralph Lauren to retailers like Banana Republic and Zara whom have staked their claims in the market. What makes Naked Suits different from what is already out there?
NSAM: Naked Suits by AlbertMing is positioned at the intersection of fashion and function in tailored clothing. Today’s generation of guys are leading active lives with greater mobility than ever before—think weekend in Vegas, client meeting in DC, and returning home to San Francisco by Monday evening. We wanted to create clothing that fit with our lifestyles, and look good while doing it thanks to our slim, modern cuts.
From Left to Right: The Prince: $895; Granite Chief: $845.
MH: Your suits are water-resistant. What’s the secret behind this?
NSAM: Nanotechnology—it gives our suits Gore-Tex-like performance but without compromising the look or feel of our wool fabrics.
MH: Quality and durability is something every gentleman is looking for in a suit. How would you say Naked Suits by AlbertMing measures up?
NSAM: We’ve really emphasized creating suits that can stand the test of time by using the best materials we can find, made by tailors we’ve personally met with and selected out of over a hundred that we vetted. We think our suits measure up to those at least $2,000-3,000 in price, as we use fine wools (think Super 140’s and above), true Bemberg™ lining, and have a floating canvas that naturally adjusts to each individual’s contours over time.
MH: As we are moving toward a more sustainable future, how is your product eco-friendly?
NSAM: Creating suits that we believe will last a long time—rather than fast fashion, we believe a man should buy high-quality pieces that he can enjoy wearing many times over.
MH: Are Naked Suits by AlbertMing ready-to-wear or bespoke?
NSAM: We offer both ready-to-wear and made-to-measure options, to satisfy the needs of men who can wear off-the-rack and men who can’t.
MH: For the gentleman that is still ambivalent about purchasing a custom-made suit, can you explain the difference between a bespoke and an off the rack suit?
NSAM: The main difference in having a custom-made suit is, of course, something tailored to your specific body dimensions, eliminating the risk that the suit won’t fit you. We offer a 60-day free return policy on our ready-to-wear suits to let customers make sure the suit fits them, leaving the sleeves and pant lengths un-hemmed in order to give customers a way to customize one of the most variable parts of the fit.
MH: For the average college graduate entering into the workforce or navigating through their first 10 +years of their career, a suit is going to be one of their biggest investments. How does Naked Suits by AlbertMing meet the needs of this consumer and what can he expect to pay?
NSAM: One of the best investments a guy can make is in a well-fitting, well-constructed suit in a style that they like. First impressions often lay the foundation for building a good working relationship, and wearing one of our suits can help you look sharp, confident, and comfortable in your own skin. Our suits sell for less than $1,000 but provide the look and feel of a suit 2-3 times that price, and it will wear and look great over time.
MH: You mentioned in previous interviews that you aim to bring the suit to the next generation. In what ways do you feel your product will engage and satisfy the emerging man?
NSAM: We believe our products are strongly aligned with the active lifestyle and versatility needs of today’sman. By providing both performance and style, our clothing helps him feel confident stepping into in any situation and owning it.
MH: In the last decade, we have seen the return of the dapper gentleman. He cares about how he looks without being pretentious, is polished without being flashy and adds a personal touch without trying too hard. Share your thoughts on this resurgence?
NSAM: We commend it—it’s a great way to express oneself without going gaga on everyone.
MH: In your opinion, which one celebrity and/or prominent figure effortlessly is the embodiment of what a gentleman should aspire to when wearing a suit and why?
NSAM: George Clooney is a great example of someone who makes style look both timeless and effortless.
As for someone younger, Lee Min Ho is another actor overseas who we feel fits the look and feel of our brand as well. Look at what he wears in the TV drama “City Hunter”.
MH: What are you reading right now?
NSAM: Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely.
MH: What garment or accessory can’t you not live without?
NSAM: [Albert] Besides suits? For me, it’s my watch—a good timepiece is still one of the few accessories that can define a man’s style, and I feel naked without one.
MH: Ipad or tablet computer?
NSAM: [Albert] Ipad. Ming is ex-Apple, so his allegiances are pretty clear.
MH: Theme song to your life?
NSAM: Kanye West - Stronger.
MH: What does “man of the hour” mean to you?
NSAM: A guy who owns the moment, no matter the situation.
For purchasing information and to learn more about Naked Suits by AlbertMing visit the website at albertming.com
Categories: Style: Dialogue