The influence of Aaron Levine, Club Monaco’s new VP of Men’s Design, is evident when walking into The Men’s Shop on St. Francis Street. Fresh off his stint as Head Designer at Jack Spade (he spotted my own JS Green Anchor wallet as I was rummaging for my business card), Levine has so far steered the brand’s menswear signature look towards a more rugged urbanism, and away from the ultra-clean European mod “yacht club” look which has defined Club Monaco for the last few years.
While our interview was mostly done by email, I was able to meet him in person when he was here in town at the Men’s Shop launch, and overall I found him to be a really cool, chill, and all-American “Dude”. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was refreshing that Aaron was designing fashionable clothes for men like him… those who are looking to raise the bar of their wardrobe a few notches without looking down right silly doing it.
His look? I would call it “Urban Cool”, and his on-going collaboration with buddy blogger, Michael Williams, of A Continuous Lean, helps steer the directive of Club Monaco’s new Menswear collection, while at the same time supporting and utilizing local American textile industries via the Made in USA label.
In regards to working with Michael Williams, and incorporating theWanderlister+ for the HK launch of the Men’s Shop, I asked him about his thoughts on Style Bloggers in general. “The great thing about bloggers is their ability to provide a unique perspective and voice to individuals of varying interests, and each with their own style.” Phew, that’s a good answer from Levine, “The immediacy of what bloggers do is really great; the quick feedback and awareness that they generate helps give fashion a good energy.” That said, I then asked Williams who his dream collaboration would be with. His answer? “Caroll Shelby”, an American automotive designer and race car driver. Nice one.
The other questions I asked were pretty straightforward. Favorite City? “New York.” Best Advice for Men in terms of personal Style? “Be Yourself.” The one most important item in every men’s wardrobe? “A decent watch.”
Going back to Michael Williams, it’s evident this relationship has really helped define the menswear portion of the brand towards clearly a more “Americana” look, which is something Club Monaco is banking on would be a draw, especially in Asia, where consumers are always looking out for new styles and looks different than what is offered here. “We wanted to create iconic staples like button-down shirts and suits and ties.” Says Levine, “This season we added in denim and we will continue to layer products in. It’s been a cool process and we are really proud of all the small communities in which we have helped support through this Made in USA collection.”
Club Monaco is doing something new, I’ve realized. They’re now starting to bring their designers front-and-center, to differentiate their brand from another by introducing the team behind what we purchase, which as a creative myself, I think is a good thing. So I asked him how he feels about getting to where he is at now from where he’s been. “It’s good to be in a position to dress so many people all over the world,” he says, “There’s a plaque on the platform of a train station in Milan that says: Every step I have taken in my life has led me here, now. That’s how I feel.”
So in the end of the day, what is the true secret to Happiness according to Aaron Levine? “I truly feel that honesty and balance are the true secrets to happiness. Balance at home, fulfillment at work, and down time with people close to you all lead to a harmonious lifestyle.” We couldn’t agree more. Thanks Aaron for visiting us in Hong Kong and interviewing with theWanderlister+
The Men’s Shop by Club Monaco launched in HK via a “New York” style block party on St. Francis Street, worthy of the Lower East Side. The party was complete with two fashion shows (Street and Casual looks), a Taco Stand, and an NYC Yellow Cab with bottles of beer and brown bags in the trunk for all guests.
On Deck were the Sandstroms, Anthony and Jocelyn Luko, all clad in CM. They say Hi!
First guests to arrive is LOCALIIZ and DIY Blogger, Vanessa Lawson, with Sassy Hong Kong’s Party Gal, photographer, Sabrina Sikora, channeling Menswear homage.
Vanessa and Sabrina shows us their latest accessories.
Speaking of stylish peeps, I spotted party guest, Alastair from New Zealand looking very dapper.
He was wearing a very cool pocket square from Crane Brothers, a New Zealand tailor with shops in Auckland and Wellington, specializing in high quality made to measure and bespoke suits. The lapel pin is a silver fern, one of New Zealands national emblems. It was purchased in a vintage shop in Wellington.
HKHQ.tv’s Boris says hi as well.
Inside we spotted STYLECAB’s Charlotte Felix O’Connor.
The dynamic duo, Francis and DJ Eve Speciall, who celebrated her birthday this past week. Nice stache, Eve.
The gayest gay boy in Asia, James Gannaban snapping away for The Hyperactive Gay Boy blog.
The gents of MOUSTACHE and Salon No.10, Alex and Ellis.
Next door at KAPOK, we found Baptiste hanging around, channeling the 90’s.
Beer in the trunk.
Mister Jun Kung, a Club Monaco Tastemaker this fall.
We REALLY loved that the were making free personalized leather luggage tags for guests in the store.
The whole setup was complete. I wish they did this everyday.
Thanks for feeding me.
Jason, Denise, and her sister Sha and I finished the night at Simply Life next door at LAB with burgers. It must have been the whole American thing. I needed more American food. I had a Chicken Burger with a slice of Brie on top with cajun fries.
Time to model. My blogger friends call this “Outfit Posting”.
Although I really JUST cant take it seriously.
Haha. This is a football stance. I was in an “American” mood.
Bag from Cambridge Satchel. Shirt, Navy Blue w/ White Polkadot Jacket, and Striped Pocket square from Club Monaco this Fall 2012. Jeans from Moustache. Shoes from Cole Haan.
SHOP The Men’s Shop, Shop 4B, Upper GF, Bo Fung Mansions, No. 1-4 St. Francis Yard, Wanchai / EAT Simply Life
CLUB MONACO is a BRAND PARTNER of theWanderlister+ and BrewandPost.