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Posted: November 27, 2013

Denver dudes get fashion forward

Hip Suitsupply hits Cherry Creek

Gigi Sukin

It’s not uncommon for Coloradans to tout their laid back style — a nonchalance that can visibly infiltrate the wardrobes of both men and women.

But when it comes time to for guys to get down to business about fashion, they can now outfit themselves with elegance originating from Europe, thanks to the Nov. 21 grand opening of Amsterdam-based Suitsupply. The new retail offering is set in the Cherry Creek shopping district, at the corner of Detroit St. and East 3rd Avenue.

Praised by Esquire and GQ for its affordable high-end apparel and accessories, the 7,000-square-foot Denver location is the seventh in an American store opening spree that kicked off in 2011, and has settled stores in cities from Philadelphia to Dallas. Suitsupply was started in 2000 and has grown to 45 stores total in Europe and the U.S., with plans to add stores in Houston, Seattle and San Francisco within the next year.

“Luxury is not about a price tag,” says Suitsupply’s vice president and “market maker,” Nishantha de Gruiter. “It all comes down to our product. If we have a high quality garment, then we can invest in the service and environment around that.”

De Gruiter, who splits his time between New York City and Amsterdam, attributes the company’s success, in part, to its vertically integrated structure that allows the business to produce high-quality Italian suits and apparel less expensively than its competitors.

His decision to plant a brick and mortar shop in Denver came to him while visiting the Mile High City roughly a year a ago. During he trip, he stayed at the Cherry Creek JW Marriot and “spotted a suit I liked and complimented the guy.” Turned out the man had purchased the Suitsupply garment from the New York City store. “I knew then there was a market for us here,” de Gruiter.

Shortly thereafter he landed on the commercial space he called a ““hidden gem.”

According to Suitsupply’s neighbor Terri Garbarini, who owns the self-titled women’s clothing and show store, Garbarini at 239 Detroit St., “The building [where Suitsupply is now located] has been vacant and a bit of an eyesore for awhile. Suitsupply updated the exterior, simply and beautifully.”  With new attention from national and international brands and businesses, “All of the sudden this block has blossomed,” Garbarini said.

De Gruiter called attention to three cranes within a short distance, visible from the floor-to-ceiling windows that line the eastern-facing side of his new Denver store.

“There are more international businesses on their way to Denver than there were three or four years ago,” he says. “It’s definitely growing and changing.” 

Bathed in bold, large-scale photographs of male models showcasing the textures and patterns of the Fall/Winter collection, the front of the store is currently “outerwear-heavy,” apt for the location and season. A curving, wave-like wall of suits displays the Italian fabrics.

“It’s designed to make shopping easy for guys,” de Gruiter says.

Though Coloradans often dress casually for business or pleasure, Suitsupply’s founder and CEO Fokke de Jong says, “Guys in Denver know that whether they’re skiing, snowboarding or mountain biking, it’s essential to have the right gear. The men of Denver are just as hungry for impeccable fits, the finest fabrics and smart details.”

De Gruiter adds: “We cannot change how people dress. But we notice that men will buy a piece or two from our collection — a shirt here, a pair of pants there. And they fit so well, they come in again and become a real customer … We feel we are filling a niche that was needed here.”

Suitsupply’s staff — trained for a month at a suit school in Manhattan — is known for its tailor offerings, prepared to make alterations at a moment’s notice.

“Well-tailored clothes can steal years off a man,” de Gruiter says. “My tip: don’t wear anything you’re uncomfortable in.”

Price Tag: In-store tailors charge by task. Shortening a pair of trousers, the lowest price alteration: $13. Tapering runs $17. On average, men who bring in suits can expect to spend roughly $100 while new suits start at $469.

Gigi Sukin is an Associate Editor at ColoradoBiz. She can be reached at gsukin@cobizmag.com.

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