Custom Menswear Brand Proper Cloth Opens a Fifth Avenue Showroom
Direct-to-consumer menswear brand Proper Cloth was growing out of its office-turned-showroom in SoHo just before the pandemic hit. So, the company leased a dedicated, 4,300-square-foot showroom at 681 Fifth Avenue, between East 53rd and East 54th streets in Midtown.
It hired architecture firm Fogarty Finger to design the space, which includes changing rooms, a lounge space, a small kitchen and coffee bar, and tailoring stations where customers can get their clothes altered. Construction was supposed to begin in March 2020 but was pushed to November, then completed in June of this year.
The designers decided to inject some architectural charm into what had been an
unattractive, white-boxed office space.
“We introduced this idea of a series of rooms that are separated by thick, massive walls carved into portals,” said Celeste Pomputius, an architect at Fogarty Finger. All of the doorways are rounded, in keeping with a general, midcentury modern design theme that encompasses details like large globe light fixtures, a white marble and blonde wood reception desk, and wood and rattan chairs in the lounge area. The 2 ½-foot-deep arches help divide the space and create corners for merchandise storage or displays, the architects explained.
Proper Cloth’s founder, Seph Skerritt, wanted the showroom to have an intimate feel.
“Lighting was very important to him,” explained Fogarty Finger’s Alexandra Cuber. “He wanted to create an intimate environment with low outputs. He didn’t want it to be overlit. Especially the tailoring portion on the left, he wanted people to feel like they had attention and private space, so there’s no direct lighting.”
Tall, freestanding mirrors framed in blonde wood separate the tailoring areas. Most of the furniture — shelving, mirrors, tables — is constructed from the same light-colored wood, both in an effort to give the showroom a relaxed feel and so that the brightly colored shirts and jackets stand out. Even the fitting rooms are painted a soft gray, and covered by long gray drapes.
“[Skerritt] wanted to keep the palette rather calm and serene, and let all his products be in color and pattern and give it the vibrancy the space needs,” explained Cuber.