Flipping through magazines, you’ve probably seen them jam packed with product ads trying to get the readers attention. It is, after all, an opportunity to promote the brand and entice the reader. The more successful ones add tag lines to covertly pass a message or play on puns, some being very long and others short and sweet. Today, I’m advocating “Everyday Elegance” on behalf of Monsieur Fox. A tagline I saw time and time again on their Instagram posts showcasing their line of men’s accessories. How succinct and befitting, such is the power of words.
Monsieur Fox is the brainchild of one Mr. Adrian Azodi, who moved to Dubai for a promising career which turned into a business start-up instead. See, Dubai is the Paris of the Middle East (it used to be Beirut) and there are no shortage of luxuries found here. Adrian found this exceptionally apparent, and found a way to break the monotony with a little bit of panache. Accessories commonplace in his day-to-day wardrobe just didn’t cut it anymore and Monsieur Fox was born. Colorful pocket squares with exquisite designs and handmade ties exude everyday elegance, all artisanally handcrafted in Italy.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Adrian recently and asked him to share his experiences:
Most luxury retailers are well established brands dating back many years, with a reputation for producing high quality products. Other brands that have entered the market are typically young upstarts or someone from the established brands looking to pave their own way. Could you please enlighten us with a brief history of the brand?
I really wanted to make something that I felt was worth my money and my time. Most everything we see in department stores or big boutiques is a hyper-marketed illusion, and often it depressed me that, after the excitement of seeing a beautiful piece in an ad/photograph, I’d go to the shop to get it, and it was so dramatically underwhelming. This is the basis for Monsieur Fox, I want someone to be even more excited when they receive their piece from us, then when they saw it in a photo or on Instagram. The other part, and just as important, is to give men the ability to feel elegant without spending a fortune or wearing the same thing as everyone else. For me, our ethos of “Everyday Elegance” encompasses that idea.
The online store carries a carefully curated selection of Men’s accessories. How much of this selection is from the launch period and how has this offering changed?
Actually, not much has changed in terms of the categories we offer. However, from a design standpoint, what we offer has dramatically changed. We began with a collection utilizing various motif’s of the fox, and now we have branched into a variety of different concepts for our collections, which has been an amazing shift. I think being able to grow a brand and watch how our customers interact, engage and support us is one of the most exciting and dynamic parts of this experience.
What is the most popular item or set of items in the (online) store?
The Fox cuff-links have been, and continue to be, one of our most popular items. However, our best sellers are always the pocket squares. We design everything in house, so I think for most guys, being able to pick up a few new squares whenever we drop a new collection is fun and something that’s affordable to do on a regular basis.
A lot of menswear enthusiasts like to seek advice from their fellow brethren. If I had to choose one item in the store, which one would you recommend?
Always a tough question! I’d say go for one or two pocket squares; they’re really versatile, and you can basically wear them for any occasion and all year around.
Where are the accessories produced and what are some of the details behind the workmanship?
We make all of our ties, squares and scarves in southern Italy. The ties are hand cut, rolled and sewn, and the squares and scarves are designed by us, printed in Italy and then sewn by machine. We know a few other brands hand roll their squares and scarves, which we’ve also done before, however, we find that our customers appreciate a more accessible price point, rather than the hand sewn feature. Frankly, although from a purist’s viewpoint it might be the wrong thing to do, we believe focusing on the creative process and providing a better value is worth more to our customers.
Considering the level of competition nowadays in the luxury accessories market, what makes Monsieur Fox unique?
I think it’s our focus on creating 3-5 original collections a year, sometimes even more. There are some great, young brands out there that have started around the same time, and they provide a wonderful product, however, most of them don’t draft or create their own patterns, designs and themes; typically they buy an existing pattern and make something from it. Nothing wrong with doing that, but we think that’s where we stand out from the crowd, so to speak.
What does quality mean to you and how do you offer it to your clients?
We look at quality from a variety of angles. We consider the types of materials we use, the way our pieces are made, where they are made, and by whom, too. We also consider what our clients are actually looking for; in reality, no one wants to spend more than they have to in order to have something that’s original and something they like, so we work to provide quality in that aspect, as well.
Although you are based in Dubai currently, your marketplace is global. What brought you to Dubai?
My background is in business development and marketing for a variety of different businesses, all of them with no relation to menswear; water treatment, oil and gas services, hospitality, for example. Throughout all these different experiences though I was always drawn to how we dress ourselves for work, for the weekend, at home, etc. I moved to Dubai in 2011 for a job working with an oil and gas services company, but shortly after, made the leap to launching my own brand, it’s been quite the education!
You recently collaborated with Zaremba Bespoke and a few other select brands on a trunk show in Dubai. How successful are these types of shows?
Working with Zaremba was a great experience; Maciej and his team are top notch tailors and they offer wonderful tailoring at a reasonable price. We want to provide as much of a man’s wardrobe with our own perspective as we can, and trunk shows have been a big part of our success, especially when we work with local retailers, like Exquisite Trimmings in London, or Skoaktiebolaget in Stockholm for example. We get to meet the local customer base and they get a chance to see everything we offer, that we love what we do, and we incorporate their feedback; all of this helps to continue our commitment and growth with our clientele, while creating opportunities for all of us to expand our knowledge, too. Plus it’s great fun to travel and meet like-minded people!
What are future plans for the brand? Will there be a storefront at some point and will we see Monsieur Fox expand into more countries?
We talk about this a lot, as you can imagine! In the near term, we will continue to focus on our existing range of products, expanding our trunk show program in the US, Europe and Asia. We would like to open a storefront, but to be honest, we like the ability to be nimble, and offer a product without all the extra headaches and cost of a store. For us, the ideal scenario would be to partner with a few other complimentary brands and create a retail concept together, providing a location where we could offer accessories, tailoring, footwear, etc. all in one place with a our unique twist and perspective.