Story by Christina Montford
“Would you like anything? Coffee, water?” It’s a strange question coming from someone who hasn’t been in the city for longer than an hour, much less had the chance to sit down and pour himself a glass, but this is the first thing Nishantha de Gruiter, Vice President of international luxury company Suitsupply, asks as he breezes through the door, more reminiscent of a GQ model than a VP offering libations.
Suitsupply’s Atlanta store is open, spacious and filled with sales associates who also look like they were ripped out of the pages of a men’s fashion magazine.
De Gruiter doesn’t take a moment to settle in, instead in true “Nish” fashion, he jumps right in, showing me around his brainchild.
“With a company like Suitsupply, it’s really a menswear data destination,” he says, running his fingers along the rungs of fine clothing. “It’s for guys that are really into menswear and want something special, but don’t want to pay extensive amounts of money for a suit.”
The company was founded in 2000 in Amsterdam by De Gruiter’s partner Fokke de Jong, and has now developed into an international brand with over 40 stores and a focus to bring fine menswear to the everyday guy.
The products range from affordable $300 suits to more lavish $1,000 toppers. And every suit that leaves the store is tailored to fit the customer because, according to the VP, an ill-fitted suit is a sin. “There is nothing worse than to see a man in a big boxy suit. That’s not attractive. So we do it fitted.”
But Suitsupply has a suit for every customer. There is something here for the accountant, the construction worker and the guy who just has a weekend wedding to attend.
It doesn’t stop there. There is no occasion that Suitsupply doesn’t have an ensemble readymade for. Rain jackets, jeans and even t-shirts line the walls of the store and fit right in alongside the suits. A returning customer on a time crunch can even call into the store, tell the associate where they are going and what kind of events they will be attending, and have a bag custom pulled, packed and delivered to them.
“Guys are not like girls,” De Gruiter leans against a counter of breathtaking watches and wallets. “Girls will go here and there. Guys want a one-stop shop. So the moment you get him comfortable and familiar with our concept he’s hooked.”
Think of Suitsupply as a guide. The average man’s Sherpa into the world of finely tailored suits and shirts that enhance instead of just kinda fit. Most men would be lost without them.
Unlike the majority of his first time customers, De Gruiter was never a stranger to fashion. Trained at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute and crafted in Italy, fashion has been a part his life long before he came to Suitsupply. He always knew this was what he wanted to do.
“This company was founded out of a dorm room. We were like the United States needs this and [Fokke de Jong] said if you are so sure about this, let’s do it together. And we started a business.”
It’s as simple as that. Supply and demand started the business and that’s precisely what keeps it going. And now, 14 years later, you can bet wherever there is a man in need, there is a Suitsupply around the corner, waiting with tailors ready.