Meet Mr Porter: designer shopping for men
Mr Porter is the new guy in town. The recently launched e-commerce website, taking its cue from sister site and sponsor Net-a-Porter, targets designer menswear. In its first five weeks of existence, it has already made some decent sales – including 1,000 pairs of shoes and a leather jacket for around $5,000 at current exchange rates—receiving orders from more than 77 countries.
Labels featured include everything from Acne and Burberry to Viktor & Rolf and Yves Saint Laurent.
Natalie Massenet, chairman and founder of Net-a-Porter Group, was not originally on board with the idea of foraying into men’s; she preferred to make a site aimed at children. But female customers seemed interested in delving into shopping for their partners.
Pushing those sales, however, can be a thorny thing.
“You want the same things that you already have, and that was tricky,” she said to WWD. “How do you sell new things to people who wants the old things? So we had to wrap wet towels around our heads and say, ‘OK, we gotta sell stuff to these guys.’ ”
So it make its website happen, the company hired editor of British Esquire, Jeremy Langmead, to be editor-in-chief, an executive who brings a strong sense of what men want.
“We dress to impress our peers,” he said of men to WWD. “We’re a competitive beast. We want to look good, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
To know what you are doing in this biz of decking out men, you have to understand past trends.
“The Baby Boomers achieved much, but they left a generation of men uneducated about the basic rules of dressing,” Langmead remarked to WWD. “You can only break rules when you know what they are in the first place, which I think goes some way to explaining the curiosity of many today who want to look to the past to build or possibly even break with the tradition they’ve discovered there.”