CSQ&A with George Zimmer, Founder, zTailors
The fashion entrepreneur on his made-to-measure venture that he dubs “Uber for tailors”
In 1973, George Zimmer launched Men’s Wearhouse and built a successful national chain on the simple premise that, “You’re going to like the way you look,” followed by the gravelly yet succinct assurance, “I guarantee it.” Zimmer stepped down as CEO in 2011 and left the company in 2013 when the Men’s Wearhouse board dismissed him as executive chairman. His new venture, zTailors, launched earlier this year, brings style directly to the home or office with a tailoring on-demand service. With roughly 600 tailors currently available in 16 states, the company expects to expand nationwide to 1,500 tailors by the end of 2015.
CSQ What was your inspiration for zTailors, or “Uber for Tailors” as you put it?
George Zimmer After four decades of working hand-in-hand with tailors and being a champion for their craft, I saw an opportunity to combine the artistry of their work with the power of technology. zTailors was built to recognize tailors and help propel the age-old tradition of tailoring into the next generation. Inspired by services like Uber and Airbnb, zTailors is disrupting the industry by combining high tech with high touch. We are empowering and honoring hardworking tailors around the country with more income-earning opportunities and flexibility than ever before, universalizing access to their craft, and preserving their profession for the future.
CSQ Your very public exit with Men’s Wearhouse had many wondering what you’d do next. Is zTailors an homage to your tailoring and styling roots? Or an itch to compete with your former company and disrupt the game?
GZ zTailors is certainly an homage to my 40-plus years in the retail industry. During my time at Men’s Wearhouse, I always made the tailors a priority. Their craft is the heart and soul of the business and I believe they should be valued, respected, and given new opportunities to succeed. With the launch of zTailors we are offering tailors the chance to double their income by delivering new customers and modernizing the way they do business. When recruiting tailors to join the network, we always say, “Don’t quit your day job,” as most of them can now use zTailors as a second job for added revenue and customers.
CSQ You’ve mentioned in a few interviews that zTailors could change the way we dress in the modern age of Casual Fridays. With the ease of getting the custom fit through your service, what does this mean for the luxury market?
GZ My philosophy is, you shouldn’t need to have a million bucks to look like a million bucks, and tailoring shouldn’t be a luxury afforded only to the wealthy. With zTailors, customers can have an expert fit whether on a $100 pair of pants or a $1,000 suit. What the customer buys may not change, but how much of their closet they actually wear certainly will.
CSQ In addition to the big national launch this summer and partnerships with Bloomingdales and Macy’s, what’s next?
GZ The possibilities are endless. I never close the door to a new idea, so I’m excited to see zTailors continue to grow. We anticipate having over 1,000 tailors in the network and being available nationwide by the end of the summer. And, I’m an entrepreneur at heart, so you’ll have to wait and see what’s next!
Local Brands on the Verge
With an explosion of great California style concepts like Related Garments and Aether Apparel, LA is spawning a handful of vibrant labels that could give the Big Apple a run for its money.
Mike Appel and David Appel, Co-founders
The last frontier in men’s curated style is not accessories, it’s the stylish concept of matching boxer briefs and dress socks. For the man who wants to be ultimately coordinated from the inside out comes an emerging concept from Related Garments.
Developed by fashion mastermind siblings Mike and David Appel (from NBC’s Fashion Star), this fashion-forward line is the only brand to offer men packaged matching boxer briefs and dress socks. Revolutionizing the way men get ready in the morning, Related Garments helps men undress to impress through stylish coordination.
Jonah Smith and Palmer West, Co-founders
With the makings of a true Hollywood story, Aether Apparel co-founders Jonah Smith and Palmer West were former established producers (both were behind Requiem for a Dream among other films) before starting their high-tech and high-performance clothing brand in Los Angeles. Not satisfied with what was out there in the world of technical, weather-proof clothing, the two long-time friends set out to create a functional line high in style but minimal and modern in design.
With stores in San Francisco, New York City, and Los Angeles, Aether Apparel prides itself on being a pure expression of form and function. Now offering a women’s collection and accessories such as sunglasses and travel gear, the company’s blossoming retail offerings are indicative of truly versatile performance.
Salvatore Ferragamo celebrates the iconic men’s Driver Shoe now made to order
Coming on the heels of Ferragamo’s successful custom campaign of its iconic women’s shoe, the Vara, the brand’s classic driver for men has now followed suit with their new MTO (Made to Order) Gancio shoe.
The legendary Italian fashion company recently introduced the MTO Driver. The online program lets buyers customize the material, color, Gancio metal hardware, and sole construct of their shoes.
Commemorating the essence of Ferragamo’s legacy of personalization, inherent classic style, and global lifestyle, its offerings are as ergonomic as they are luxurious. Flexibly constructed with tubular technology and craftsmanship, they also come in an array of luxurious materials, including crocodile, ostrich, condor calf and suede mink. From hardware to sole to finish and personal lettering, the new MTO Driver leaves no detail unmastered and ranks as this season’s ultimate gift to the man who seems to have everything.
“We are always working on new, customizable products because this is something that is very important to our customers and the lifestyle our products represent,” says James Ferragamo, men’s and women’s leather product director.
The MTO Driver customization program is available on driver.ferragamo.com. Custom drivers range from $750 to $2,400 depending on materials of choice.