How would you define your collection? Describe the Alfred Sargent man.
Alfred Sargent produces Goodyear welted footwear using the finest calfskins and suedes, built on updated lasts with sophisticated outsole treatments, and hand-burnished finishes. All are made 100% under our own roof in the UK.
I’d say the clients we meet more and more are those seeking to combine the quality of the past with the aesthetics of the present. Today’s consumer demands quality for the investment but doesn’t necessarily want to wear his Grandfather’s shoes. It’s critical to offer modern architectural lasts, elegant finishing, classic patterns with a twist and to put a lot of time and effort into the sole finishing, etc. Our guy pays attention to the details.
Which “must-have” item from your Spring/Summer 2013 collection will instantly update a man’s wardrobe?
Anything in suede. I think we are finally getting to the point where suede is understood as a year-round material and our Callaghan model is a fantastic suede loafer. We are even going to offer this as a combination with grained calfskin as a USA exclusive for S/S ‘13.
From where do you draw inspiration?
Inspiration is drawn from old catalogues between the years of 1935 and 1965. And my bank statements…
What do you consider to be the world’s best fashion city for men and why?
It’s hard to argue for any other place than New York. The sheer volume of stores, the availability of brands at every price point, and the magnitude of style options to satisfy any taste always amazes me. Whatever list of conditions you would come up with to determine “best,” New York would tick them all.
What do you think the next major shift in the menswear industry will be?
We are on the verge of seeing the rebirth of the small, independent retailer – or, at least, I sure hope so. I think people want to get to know who they are shopping with, whose family they are supporting, and the story behind what they are buying – it all fits to rebuild the small, family-owned retailer. Now, if the banks would just allow it to happen.
What is your favorite New York City hangout?
Wherever my wife wants to hang out. When I’m on my own and I have to choose one spot to sit, eat and drink, it’s Kafana in the East Village.
If you were not a designer or principal of this brand, what would you be doing?
I would be shining shoes…which I’ll probably be doing at the MRket show anyway.