Luxury fashion retailer, Edit., has long been serving customers the boutique shopping experience that Newmarket is best known for. Stocking a curated selection of luxury international menswear brands, Edit. has marked itself as a destination on the menswear map. Zara Overton sat down for an interview with owner, Luke Crowther, about men’s fashion and how it all began…
N. Can you tell us a bit about the story behind Edit.? What led you to open the store?
The GFC in 2008 really impacted local retail – particularly multi-brand retailers which I personally find the most interesting. At that time I was working as a menswear buyer and was travelling to Europe several times a year. I felt there was a gap in the market after so many stores had closed, so in 2009 I started importing Italian menswear and opened a few pop-up shops in Auckland, Wellington and Melbourne. By 2010 we had settled into a few locations and Edit. was born. We currently have stores here in Newmarket, Vulcan Lane in the central city and in Wellington.
N. What sparked your interest in fashion?
I have been interested in fashion for as long as I can remember. Even in primary school I had Chuck Taylors in five different colours. I never seriously considered it as a career until, whilst studying Fine Arts at Elam, began working in retail and caught the bug. That was over 20 years ago.
N. Have you noticed a change in how New Zealand men dress, from when you first opened Edit. in 2010 compared to today?
In the wake of the financial crisis it was widely predicted that men would return to more formality in how they dressed. Suits were picked to dominate the workplace where it was felt men needed to exude professionalism. What has actually happened, at least at our end of the market, is that men have rejected those ideas of conformity and chose to inject personality into how they dress. Over the years, this has seen the softening of garment construction, more relaxed silhouettes, the sports-luxe and streetwear phenomenon’s, and casual clothing generally becoming more accepted across a wide range of industries.
N. The rise in the streetwear trend has encouraged a more casual approach to dressing, especially when it comes to formal events. Do you think that the rising visibility of streetstyle blogs, fashion influencers and celebrities has had an influence on the way men dress themselves?
I think it’s important to note that streetwear has filtered through to the top end of the market and is no longer seen as just a young, anti- establishment way of dressing. This look has been widely adopted by the fashion circles and the big houses have each put their spin on it. Sneakers have become commonplace and this has seen the slowing of the leather-soled shoe market, denim has taken a back seat to athletic- inspired, synthetic fabrications, formal jacketing has been replaced by technical outerwear and so on. So now streetwear doesn’t always denote young and/or cheap. I guess it is a reflection of the times we are living in where perhaps the guy wearing the suit works for the guy wearing the (expensive) sneakers and t-shirt. The words “streetstyle” and “influencer” didn’t really exist when we started but they now both play a big role in communicating trends, hype brands and fashion generally. Through various social channels there is so much exposure and those that have an interest in fashion now have access to millions of images, so there is really no excuse not to be inspired.
N. Do you have any personal favourite blogs / influencers? If so, who?
I don’t follow any blogs as Instagram offers enough inspirational imagery to wile away many hours. Dany Dos Santos (@alkarus) – Creative Director of Drôle De Monsieur (a brand we carry at Edit.), has cool, effortless style and I really like Dan Roberts’ (@danrobertsstudio) feed of beautiful, streetstyle imagery.
N. What advice do you give to customers who come into Edit. with little fashion knowledge when it comes to building the basics of their wardrobe?
If you have little fashion knowledge but understand the need to present well in certain situations, my advice is to invest in quality. If you don’t like shopping, it makes sense to buy garments that are well made and won’t need to be replaced often. Also, trust us. All of the staff at Edit. are knowledgable. They all love menswear and they all know their product. We pride ourselves on our service and want to make what can be an intimidating experience for some, as relaxed, enjoyable and informative as possible.
N. When buying for upcoming seasons, who is the Edit. customer and how do you buy for him?
The Edit. customer is someone who cares about what they wear each day. They care about quality, they care about fabrication and they care about design. They are not defined by age but by attitude and know that their wardrobe choices say much about their taste and lifestyle. I travel to Europe four times a year to ensure our customers get a unique, dynamic shopping experience and are exposed to brands they may never otherwise see. We currently work with brands from Milan, Paris, London, Tokyo, New York and LA and are always looking for new and exciting additions. The brand mix at Edit. is constantly changing as we flex our offering to reflect what is happening in menswear globally. This is important to me as I don’t like the idea of being known for just one particular brand or style. As we’ve discussed, there has been a push towards a more streetwear aesthetic of late and that is reflected in our current offering but, (as always with fashion) this will naturally change and I want the ability and flexibility to change with it if I wish.
N. Who are your favourite NZ designers?
Edward von Dadelszen is making beautiful clothes for men and women at the top end of the market and I really respect him for creating a brand that genuinely stacks up against the worlds most luxurious. I also like what Simon James is doing with both his furniture and retail spaces.
N. And international?
80’s-90’s Giorgio Armani is unbeatable, but Craig Green and A-Cold-Wall* are currently doing amazing, contemporary things with menswear which I admire. Also, Deveaux, a brand we have recently picked up from New York (landing late August), epitomises the relaxed, sophisticated style I love.
N. How would you describe your personal style?
It somewhat depends on my mood each day but my style is fairly casual with comfort being a priority. I’ll usually be wearing sneakers but I always try to dress with consideration and an element of sophistication – essential as I get a little older!
N. In a retail environment that has become increasingly challenging with the rise of the digital age, how does your bricks and mortar store compete with online shopping? Customer service is a nice way of distinguishing ourselves from a computer screen. As I touched on previously, the staff at Edit. are there to offer advice and to make sure you walk out with the right garment in the right size. Also, many of our customers share in our obsession with fabrication and fit so touch, feel and trying on are all important parts of the buying process. Finally, ensuring our pricing is aligned with global recommended retails is vital. You simply cannot afford to be more expensive – although I think there needs to be more consumer education around duty, GST and customs clearance charges as these are not immediately obvious when just doing a general price-compare online.
N. What are some of the upcoming menswear trends that we can expect to see instore?
Menswear typically follows womenswear in terms of colour palette and silhouette, so as with womenswear, you will see oversized fits, slouchy, fuller trousers and the continuation of sportswear-inspired garments. Unisex clothing is a relatively new concept which we support and has proven very successful from certain brands we carry like Y-3, Drôle De Monsieur and Monitaly.
N. You have a highly curated and fine-tuned aesthetic when it comes to Edit.’s Instagram page, which has become ever so important in reaching an audience or customer. How has social media or blogging changed the way you work/do business?
Social media, particularly Instagram, allows us to communicate visually how we intend our clothing to be worn, which for me is very important. Mixing brands and styles has become a signature of Edit. and it’s great to have a platform to showcase that. The immediacy is also very beneficial. No longer do we need to rely on electronic mailers to be designed and coded before we can inform our customers of new arrivals or promotions – we simply communicate what is happening in store directly to our followers through various social channels.
N. What is Newmarket’s best kept secret?
Obviously Edit.! But The Candy Shop is a culinary gem recently opened in Osborne Lane.
N. It’s 10am on a Sunday morning, where will we find you and what are you doing?
At home with my amazing partner and our beautiful 1 year-old son playing with toys in the living room.
N. What’s next for Edit.?
Firstly, we are excited to launch our e-commerce website which will allow those not living in either Auckland or Wellington access to our products. And secondly, I am currently in Europe for the menswear tradeshow Pitti Uomo in Florence and for Paris Fashion Week sourcing new and exciting brands for SS19 as we continue to evolve and refine our offer.