by Jordan King
Posted 7/29/2013 12:00 am
Updated 9 months ago
Designer Jamie Davidson has recently announced the debut of Strong Suit, a collection of men’s suits and sport coats that will appear in 20 stores this September.
Strong Suit represents two years of work on the part of Davidson, whose ongoing Tre Vero clothing line is sold in more than 160 Dillard’s stores across the country, and fellow designer Leslie Dennis. The collection features a slim-fit style with high-end construction for less than $600, a combination Davidson said is unrivaled.
Davidson explained that his new suits have a canvas front within the chest that forms to the wearer’s figure over time, a feature he said is rarely found in suits that cost less than $1,000.
Among the stores chosen to carry Strong Suit are two of the top 10 stores in the nation as rated by GQ — Stag in Austin, Texas, and Context Clothing in Madison, Wis. — and The Independent, a Little Rock retailer. All 20 were carefully selected by Davidson, who emphasized the role that the stores play in the overall success of Strong Suit.
“Our reputation is really tied to their reputation,” Davidson said. He said that the way consumers view a new clothing line is directly related to the credibility of the stores in which it debuts.
Davidson said he hopes to sell 1,000 suits this fall and an additional 2,000 this spring.
In return for selling Davidson’s designs and influencing the fashion conversations that surround them, retailers benefit by attracting fresh pairs of eyes to the sharply dressed mannequins that populate sales floors. Davidson said the Strong Suit line will help independent retailers stand up to larger competition in the fight for a new generation of suit shoppers.
“We’re not really selling suits to people that have to wear them; we’re selling suits to people that want to wear them,” Davidson said. He said suits are becoming less of a requirement in the workplace and more of a personal statement, so the “look” of his suits was given special consideration.
The Strong Suit line is expected to appeal to customers interested in the emerging fashion trend of “sprezzatura,” which Davidson described as the mixing of tailored and casual apparel.
Davidson said Strong Suit’s price allows men to experiment with sprezzatura with less of an impact on their wallets. “You can take that chance and try something new with a lot less money,” he said.
All members of the label’s leadership team are from Little Rock, so their “Arkansas roots will be integrated into both the garments and how the product is marketed,” a Strong Suit news release said.
Davidson said that while he enjoys traveling around the world, a requirement for his chosen profession, he values the quality of life offered by central Arkansas.
“The thing that I enjoy the most is that I can do this from Little Rock … I really do feel grateful to live in a place that I really love so much,” he said.