Stories / September 2019

The Interview: The Armoury’s Alan See

Co-founder of leading classic menswear purveyor, The Armoury, Alan See says educated customers are coming to value Asian craftsmanship and style.

How have your tastes and approach to menswear evolved since The Armoury launched in 2010?

I think we’ve grown a bit more relaxed, become open to more ideas and taking in different styles from different tailors — but we’re still very much within that classic menswear sphere. Where we started was very much based on, at that time, all the rules that we’d listen to, and all the advice that we’d heeded from our tailors, like Antonio Liverano. And then all the books that we’d been reading — Alan Flusser, Bernhard Roetzel and all that. We had all these things to consider, and that was almost the basis of our shop: classic menswear, and following ‘the rules’ down to a T. And then over time, once you get to know the Italian tailors a bit more, and become familiar with that sense of sprezzatura, that’s when you begin cultivating your own personal style. I’d say we’ve become more relaxed, more comfortable with ourselves. Our shop and our approach to ‘the rules’ have evolved to become more flexible.

Has men’s appreciation for and understanding of tailoring changed over the past decade?

I’m glad to see a lot of the younger crowd out there slowly getting into it. They’re not necessarily going to straight away go for Florentine tailoring. But at least from that quality standpoint, today, they’re thinking a bit more. And then from that classic aesthetic point of view, more and more people are definitely adopting that look. We see a lot more of that today, which is really nice. Men in general are just paying greater attention to how they appear to other people, that’s quite important, right? Men are paying attention to how they look in a suit and how the suit should fit, whereas for a time there, they just accepted how things were, off the rack, so long as the garment had the right designer label.

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Christian Barker

Christian Barker is The Rake's Asia editor-at-large, a frequent contributor to this site, and an enthusiastic consumer of fine whiskies, sashimi and classic disco music - ideally in unison.