There's a new place for stylish men to shop uptown : Abbeydale is now open at 4th and Tryon streets.
The store held a soft opening Thursday, and has a grand opening scheduled for Thursday, May 30. Owner David Watkins said he hopes to grow both his new ready-to-wear line and his bespoke suit business in the new retail space.
"I have a lot of clients that wear suits and work uptown," said Watkins. He started the company two years ago, and had previously worked with clients by appointment at a studio in Plaza Midwood.
A native Charlottean, Watkins, 38, named Abbeydale after the east Charlotte street he grew up on. Watkins had worked in advertising for about a decade, but didn't want to stay in that field forever.
"I just kind of got burned out on that," he said. Watkins decided to do something he's always been interested in, designing men's clothing, full-time.
Now, he sources clothing for his new line from around the U.S. and the world. He sells denim from Virginia, ties from Italy, suits from Hong Kong and the U.S., shirts from New England and knits, such as polos, from California.
His look is an "American aesthetic," Watkins said. His suits tend more to the European, Italian style than the British. "Nothing too structured," he said.
With the new retail store, Watkins hopes to make headway selling his ready-to-wear line of clothes, which is arriving at the store now. But he said he remains focused on bespoke suits and custom apparel, created from scratch for each client.
"Our core business is still custom," said Watkins. "The Abbeydale product is a true custom product."
The most important thing, and the reason for all the attention paid to custom clothing, is how the finished garment actually fits, Watkins said.
"Our focus is on fit," said Watkins. "If it's ill-fitting, you're still not going to look great" even in a suit that cost thousands, he said.
|Abbeydale storefront, from the store's Tumblr|
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