Windsor custom clothing business offers suits for the most sharp-dressed men
April 19, 2013
It's no secret that the days of having a custom tailor are over.
Some men dread shopping for clothing, let alone shopping for dress clothes. Casual Friday at the office has visibly leaked into Thursdays — and sometimes Wednesdays.
Ron Wagner knows all of this, and he wants to change it.
Since the fall of 2012, Wagner has worked with his two sons, Ryan and Brett, to make waves in Colorado's custom clothing industry by selling high-end, tailor-made suits he promises will last a lifetime. With full suits beginning at about $700 and dress shirts starting at $125 each, he knows it's not a market for everyone.
But with decades in the industry, he believes it is the market for him.
"We're just offering products we feel make terrific sense," Wagner said, dressed in a snappy custom suit. "We've got this global market out here, and people are so easily aware. But when it comes right down to it, it's a matter of presenting ourselves every day."
Wagner's interest in high-end suits stems from more than 30 years in Colorado's clothing industry. From his early days as a salesman to a more prestigious managerial position at a local outfitter, he said he has built a cliental that looks for more than just an okay fit. They look for exceptional quality, and they're willing to pay for it.
To do that, he and his sons started The Bespoke Edge — BE for short — with hopes of turning the clothing store model upside down. Wagner acts as a travelling salesman, carefully fitting clients and helping them design their suit from the most minor of stitches. He goes to homes and businesses prepared with binders loaded with cloth swatches and samples. From high-end Egyptian cottons to Merino wools, clients work with him to design everything from the threading patterns to the cuff styles and — of course — the color schemes.
"Having the one-on-one, individual involvement is really important to me," he said. "We are creating a one-of-a-kind garment."
After ironing out the details, Wagner sends the plans to a tailoring house in Singapore, which he calls one of the best in the world in a city that is the "hub of fashion and business commerce."
Within a week, he said, the fabrics are cut, the designs are laid and the garment begins to take shape. The final product is usually in Colorado three weeks from the initial consultation, though the process isn't finished at that point. Wagner insists on seeing the final product worn before calling it a done deal.
Though he and his sons recognize the market is slim, Wagner draws on a hefty list of past clients and is working to attract buyers from across the region, stretching into Denver where demand is more visible and he sees a growing market.
That means a lot of driving and a lot of sales pitches, something he hopes to embrace long into the future.
"My life certainly has been in the clothing industry," he said. "I've reinvented myself."
As for now, his goal is to be readily available to help people navigate the admittedly confusing, and even intimidating, fashion world. By operating out of his Windsor home and spending life on the road, he's cutting down costs and working to start his business in the black.
Moreover, by maintaining a blog and updated website, http://www.bespokeedge.com, he has plans to include a web-based store that can expand beyond the borders of Colorado.
After all, he maintains, there's still an emerging market of young men and business professionals looking to suit up.
"We firmly believe that all of the dressing down went way too far," he says. "How you where that shirt, how your shoes are polished, whether you put on a nice pair of pants — that's what we can educate people about."