Menswear club

Bar­ris­ter, char­ity founder, busi­ness­man and savvy dresser Bran­don Chau will soon be open­ing a menswear pop-up "club",

Hong Kong Tatler - - News - writes Gemma Soames

Bran­don Chau is a busy man. As a bar­ris­ter, the chair­man of the lux­ury bed­ding com­pany Nob­lesse Group and a char­ity founder, you’d imag­ine the son of Brenda and the late Kai-bong Chau might have enough on his plate. How­ever, he’s about to add an­other pro­fes­sion to his list—that of shop­keeper, with his menswear em­po­rium At­tire House pre­par­ing to open in the Cen­tral Build­ing later this month. “Ba­si­cally, our con­cept is for an in­te­grated sar­to­rial life­style club,” he ex­plains. “We hope it will be­come a des­ti­na­tion for gen­tle­men who can meet there and, apart from buy­ing qual­ity ar­ti­sanal clothes, they can gather for a drink, smoke a cigar or have their hair cut by a bar­ber. It’s more like a club than just a menswear store.”

Chau came up with the idea with his busi­ness part­ner, Roger Chan, founder of the choco­late brand Vero. “He’s also a menswear en­thu­si­ast and we ba­si­cally got hitched the mo­ment we met. Once we had the idea, we were al­most un­stop­pable. Last year, we went on a sar­to­rial ad­ven­ture to Europe and Ja­pan, meet­ing won­der­ful crafts­men, shoe­mak­ers and tai­lors. For me, the whole jour­ney re­ally was a once-ina-life­time thing. All the brands we found are very unique; a lot of them are fam­ily owned and a lot of what they do is com­pletely hand­made. Now, we hope to bring some of their her­itage and crafts­man­ship here to Hong Kong.”

At­tire House will start life as a pop-up in the Cen­tral Build­ing, but there are plans for a per­ma­nent space to open by the end of the year. The busi­ness will have a sta­ble of la­bels it works with, of­fer­ing ready-to-wear con­sis­tently, as well as be­spoke op­por­tu­ni­ties with tai­lors and brands that will visit three or four times a year in a series of trunk shows. Along­side Bri­tish stal­warts such as Turn­bull & Asser, An­der­son & Shep­pard and GJ Clev­er­ley, cus­tomers will find brands such as Naples-based suit­mak­ers Ce­sare Atolinni (“ba­si­cally the god­fa­thers of Neapoli­tan style,” says Chau), Ital­ian shirt­maker Fi­namore and Ja­panese shoe­maker Chi­hiro Ya­m­aguchi.

Along­side all that, vis­i­tors will find a space in the cor­ner run by the ex­tremely chic bar­bers Gen­tle­men’s Tonic, and some vin­tage Cuban cigars and hu­mi­dors as part of At­tire House’s broader life­style con­cept. On the cock­tail front, the busi­ness is work­ing with the mixol­o­gist Hidet­sugu Ueno from cult Tokyo hotspot Bar High Five. “He’ll be com­ing to Hong Kong some time in July to work with us on a pop-up,” says Chau. “And it’s the first time he’s done any­thing out­side Tokyo, so we’re very for­tu­nate.”

For Chau, a man who counts James Bond and Win­ston Churchill among his per­sonal he­roes, it’s the cul­mi­na­tion of a life­time spent fas­ci­nated by the beauty of tra­di­tional menswear and a more clas­sic life­style. “My first teacher was my dad. His style couldn’t have been more dif­fer­ent from mine. It was def­i­nitely more on the dra­matic side and more flam­boy­ant, but he taught me how to wear suits, about the dif­fer­ence between sin­gle- and dou­ble-breasted, the im­por­tance of the size of the lapel. From a very young age, I cul­ti­vated this time­less and clas­sic style. I fell in love with suits and by the time I was 17, I was al­ready wear­ing one. Peo­ple used to look at me and be like, ‘What on earth is wrong with you?’”

Chau may have stood out from the crowd in his school days, but now he feels the world has cot­toned on to the idea of qual­ity crafts­man­ship. “What’s hap­pen­ing is like a re­vival,” he says. “In other places like Tokyo or Seoul, they al­ready have this ap­pre­ci­a­tion of qual­ity, while Hong Kong and China have been a lit­tle be­hind. But peo­ple are be­gin­ning to get fed up with mass-pro­duced lux­ury. They want to take the time to find qual­ity her­itage prod­ucts and ap­pre­ci­ate the life­style that goes with them.” Now you can rely on Chau to de­liver it— with a per­fectly shaken cock­tail on the side.

At­tire House is lo­cated at G/F, shop 28, Cen­tral Build­ing, 1-3 Ped­der street, Cen­tral

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