Everything we love from Mr Porter's new label
When it launched in early 2011, Mr Porter quickly established itself as one of the go-to resources for style-minded men.
Thanks to an impressive stable of brands, in-house editorial, and a sleek shopping experience, it’s retained that standing for nearly seven years. And things are only going to get better, it seems. Because this week, the retailer is launching its own brand: Mr P. (There’s no period after the honorific "Mr"; it’s a British thing.)
The new line is two-pronged. On the one side, it’s designed to provide guys with the basics they want and need—great jeans, the perfect white shirt, the wear-with-anything sweater.
But it’s also got a fashion-forward edge, with standout pieces designed to add a little extra personality to your wardrobe that’ll drop throughout the year.
We chatted with Olie Arnold, Mr Porter’s style director, about why the retailer decided to launch its own line, the style DNA of Mr P., and what he’s looking forward to wearing from the new collection.
On launching Mr P.
The guys in the office love menswear. We geek out about like a collar or an amazing denim, it's a genuine passion.
We started in earnest about last September and we sat in a room talking about, ‘What would it look like? What would Mr P. be?’ We brought in some of our favorite things that we bought over the years and talked about pieces that we genuinely loved.
I feel like we all start talking about these things and what it would be like. And that all started like coming together and we formulated this idea.
We know our customers inside out; we have all this data that we can access. So we knew where we felt there were gaps. Like, “We feel that we’re not really seeing that in the market.”
So when you start putting those things together, you start to realize there’s a real reason we do this. We’re not the first to do our own brand, so I don’t think it came as a massive surprise to people. But we wanted to make it right and take out time to make sure we were doing the right thing.
On the design philosophy
We came up with this idea of having perennial pieces that a man could just own and replenish and have the ability to grow his wardrobe.
But also to have these drops that come in every couple of months. And those drops are supposed to be more like the icing on the cake—the more inspiring types of pieces that just give a little bit more like excitement and personality. It can be a bit more daring, so there’s this great balance between the two worlds.
On dressing the modern guy
We genuinely have tried to take what we do at Mr Porter and then bring it to life in our collection. So our aesthetic starts to build around that.
We looked at how men dress today. We made a chino—and you can talk about Paul Newman and Steve McQueen all day long - but we asked, “How can we make the fit slightly more contemporary? How can we make it a bit more tactile? How can we improve it?” And these little things aren’t massive things, but we really looked at bringing in more technical fabrics and things.
Not to say we’re a tech brand, but saying, “How is the guy in 2017 dressed?” We didn’t want to create a niche brand. We didn’t want to look back too far just to create things that look real vintage-y. There are elements of that look, but I feel like we’re really looking to dress the man today.
On the challenges of launching a brand
From a design perspective, we pored over how to make the best white shirt, for instance. The time and effort that we’ve put into making the line, that was definitely challenging. And we’ve learned to be a bit more decisive in certain things.
It’s a work in progress, but we feel like we’ve got a really strong launch. A few hiccups along the way, but we’ve learned from them I hope.
On the one piece he’s obsessed with
We’ve created this leather aviator jacket. We found one in a vintage store - this old flight jacket that’s just amazing. And we’ve made our own. It’s got this detachable shearling collar, it’s in black leather, and it’s so soft.
You put it on and it just fits perfectly. I’ve been wearing it around the office like and taking it out, and the production team gets mental. They’re like, “That’s the only one we have! Stop wearing it!” It just feels so good.
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