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ESSENTIAL JOURNAL interview with DE&S

By Tom

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In the fourth part of our regular series, in which we chat to the folks in charge of our favourite menswear stores, we speak to the chaps at Manchester’s Doherty Evans & Stott

If the city of Manchester is a great ocean of casual, then Doherty Evans & Stott stands upon its shores as a beacon of sartorialism. Tucked away on Bridge Street, a few steps from the hustle and bustle of Deansgate, the independent tailoring and luxury menswear store deals in all things timeless. Specialising in an Italian-inspired aesthetic, but using British clothes, shoes and accessories, DE&S stands out in the North West as a uniquely personal and curated shopping experience.

Helmed by Andrew Doherty, Matthew Evans and Thomas Stott, the quaint corner store is an ode to their own vision of impeccable style and love of high-quality menswear. Offering a full made to measure and bespoke tailoring service, the store also curates ready to wear seasonal collections, stocking the likes of Boglioli, Fedeli, Incotex, Private White and Crockett & Jones. This month we popped in for a sartorial chinwag, discussing unique customers, the post-Gallagher male and the places to go when you look as good as they do. EJ

Essential Journal: Tell us a little bit about yourselves and the shop.
Andrew Doherty: The store’s been open now for six years. We all used to work for Gieves & Hawkes in Manchester, the top concession in the country. When they shut all of their concessions we started up a store ourselves. This shop came up and we realized we had to jump quickly. It’s always been an amazing menswear store, Richard Creme had it, Vivienne Westwood had it and then ourselves.

What sort of brands do you stock? What can customers coming into the store expect?
AD: We started off with tailoring as the focus. The hand-made is made through Caruso and they’re made in Parma, Italy. It’s beautiful and everything’s based around that.

Thomas Stott: That’s how we look at this, it’s all the same level. Caruso are the level for the tailoring and hand-made side. The shoes, Crockett & Jones fit with that. Then it filters down. Boglioli, Incatex and Slowear all fit into the modern, dressed down casual vibe. Incatex is chinos, you dress it up with a Boglioli blazer or add an Eton shirt for a casual look at the weekend. We try to check most areas really. Guys need a one-stop shop.

Do you have a particular type of customer? Do they conform to the Manchester stereotype?
Matthew Evans: We do get the more clued up, post-Gallagher football guys. But we do get creatives as well – people that are drawn to independent thinking. They have their own business, they appreciate ours and they know that we care about everything we buy for the shop. There’s not that many independents in Manchester, especially menswear. That’s key to it as well.

TS:[Men] that have done particularly well in their careers, that understand quality. Not too bothered about brands and labels as such. They want to buy something timeless. Stuff like Crockett that you can bring out for the next ten years, come back, get it serviced and go again. The brands have a very international look too.

Why do you think there are less independents in Manchester?
AD:Rent and rates, simple as that for Manchester. The city council is not doing any favours for independents.

ME:To be really central, with the best opportunities and the best location, it’s just too expensive. You have to be in the fringes, we have people coming here that’ve only just found us after six years and we’re just off Deansgate. It’s crazy.

Do you have any particularly interesting customers?
AD: Mr Fullerton. Basically an old boy in his 80s and he used to walk around Manchester in a bowler hat, a three-piece suit and a dickie bow, with an umbrella. He wore wing collar shirts, all made by us and he was basically Mr Manchester. Everyone knew him and he looked amazing. Unfortunately, he passed away last year. He wanted a black velvet evening jacket and we said, “Have you got an event to wear it for?” His reply was, “You don’t need an event to wear one of these!” He had this brilliant old-school mentality of dressing. He lived in an old folk’s home too. He’d wear a three-piece down to breakfast and a thousand pound silk dressing gown just to knock about the home.

TS:I think a few of his shirts went missing. They’d get dry-cleaned and not find their way back to his room, or he said guys would come through his room and just take a shirt and go. So he’d come back to us to get them remade. He used to have a certain walk too. A really interesting history as well. Art dealer originally from New Zealand, he was an economics tutor at Manchester University and he also wrote a cookbook in French and he got it published in his later years. He hand-wrote two out to give to us.

What’s the age range of your customers?
AD:We have customers from nineteen years up to Mr Fullerton, who was probably the oldest. It’s a real mix. We do shirts and chinos, that basically bring any age group in. We have this Private White bomber jacket here, guys that’re nineteen buy it and then we have really good customers that’re sixty or seventy buying it. Whoever puts it on looks great in it. Menswear doesn’t necessarily evolve crazily. It can do if you follow the fast fashion side, but stuff like this – the style remains constant.

Tell us about the British brands you stock.
AD: Around forty per cent of our stock is sourced from the UK. We try and get as much in the UK as possible. Those handkerchiefs are made in Macclesfield. There’s also Fox umbrellas, Pantherella socks, Crockett & Jones shoes and Private White is down the road. We’ve got Johnson’s of Elgin cashmere from Scotland. Cufflinks made in the UK.

Say a bloke walks in and he’s new to this smarter form of dress, how do you guide him? What are the essentials?
TS:It depends what he wants it for, we always ask that, whether it’s an event or something like that. A blazer and chinos is still a classic style no matter what. A guy needs a blue suit, a blue jacket and chinos, maybe a grey suit. Key things. If you buy a navy jumper, twin it with cream chinos, you can then put a navy blazer on top. Then have a white shirt, the white shirt will go with the blue suit, then you can link it all together. Start with that capsule, then you can go into the crazy checks, after you’ve got the basics.

AD:That’s an iconic look. It’ll never date, you can bring it out of the wardrobe five years down the line and it’ll still look amazing.

Individually, do you have any key style moments or influences? Are there watershed moments?
ME:The Ivy League thing is always there, hanging over menswear. The chino look from the 1950s, from the colleges. You have to give a nod to that.

AD:Prince Charles. He’s iconic isn’t he. Always looks amazing for tailoring purposes. You see him in safari things and he looks amazing.

TS:How timeless is it though? He’s not pushing boundaries or anything, he’s just wearing classic stuff. There’s pictures of him and he’s got a little patch on his suit where it has been repaired. His suit probably cost about six thousand pounds a piece, but instead of getting another one, he got a patch put on which is interesting.

These clothes carry a certain feel to them and obviously you should be able to where them everywhere, but do you sometimes feel like the places (and other people that frequent them) don’t match up effort-wise?
[Group breath and release, saying in unison] All the time!

AD:That’s what we’re saying about Manchester being a casual city. Still to this day and as much as we’ve tried to put it out there – and there’s been renaissances, people dressing up a little – it’s still a very casual city when you go out. I can’t understand why people spend £500 on a t-shirt made in China. The weather plays a part too. The weather here is glum, so people don’t dress up as much. It’s about dressing in layers, getting from place to place.

Are there any particular vignettes you can paint for the reader of where you feel most at ease peacocking in these clothes?
AD:Caffe Gilly in Florence. It’s where all the menswear crew go. Very ‘peacocky’. For Manchester, Hawksmoor or 20 Stories. There’s loads of places.

TS:A lot of the people that come into here want recommendations. Next door, Randall & Aubin’s has a London feel to it. Milan has so many places, so many little trattorias, you just have to walk down the street. You find that there’s a general standard. The average guy in a suit over there – the shoulder’s soft, there’s a nice lapel and the fit is fantastic. The trousers are shorter and that’s just on an average guy in his 50s. It’s normal to dress better over there. It’s all about the difference in attitude. In the UK it’s all about not standing out. About being understated, which is fine. In Italy it’s about being sharp.

Original article from Essential Journal

Doherty Evans & Stott; 64 Bridge Street, Manchester, M3 3BN
dohertyevansstott.co.uk

Words by Davey Brett
Image credit: Davey Brett / Courtesy of Doherty Evans & Stott

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