Though the sartorial renaissance has propped the world of tailoring up on a pedestal – conjuring thoughts of unrivalled resplendence, romance and opulence – the reality of operating a business within this realm is invariably different to what one may initially conceive. This is especially true of new entrants to the market, whose ventures don’t carry the weight of heritage or tradition, and are inevitably reduced to selling a ’solution’. Compounded by the fact that many are forced to reconcile their desires of grandiosity with limited resources, a great number of these ventures ultimately capitulate.
It is therefore, particularly exciting to witness the success of an Australian brand in the sartorial space. The Cloakroom have transcended the plight of many other new entrants to the whimsical world of men’s tailoring and made it to the ten-year mark. More than this, they haven’t merely ‘survived’, but have – especially in recent times – flourished.
Recognising that providing a tangible ‘product’ or simple ‘solution’ wasn’t enough, they adopted the philosophy of ‘experience’ – repositioning The Cloakroom as a destination one could frequent outside the world of menswear. Hence the inception of their cocktail lounge concept, The Cloakroom Bar, which now operates adjacent to their stores in both Montreal and Brisbane. Despite the long reigning synonymity between tailoring and the quintessential gentleman’s lounge replete with scotch and cigars, The Cloakroom Bar has extricated itself from such an aesthetic on the grounds of authenticity.
Despite the obvious parallels between tailoring and the stereotypical gentleman’s emporium – which would have undoubtedly resonated amongst the crowd of young aspirants and quasi-aficionados – the concept would have been bastardised. It would have been devoid of any and all originality and therefore would have expired soon after its inception. Instead, The Cloakroom’s DNA as a made-to-measure menswear business has been brilliantly transposed into their bar concept, whereby drinks aren’t informed by a menu, but rather the personal tastes of patrons.
The Cloakroom then, is no longer a store that sells menswear. Just as it isn’t simply a bar. It’s an ethos – a philosophy – that is capable of being transposed across different mediums in the luxury and lifestyle sectors. It’s success as a business is no longer hinged upon the fickle nature of men’s tailoring. Perhaps this is the future of sartorialism?