by Karen Alberg Grossman

A Stylish Way of Life: Details Count

James Williams is an interesting guy. Since getting his law degree at American University, he’s been an attorney and lobbyist representing energy companies in Washington D.C. Originally from New Orleans and born with a requisite Southern flair for fashion, his personal wardrobe (bespoke tailored clothing and elegant accessories/footwear) gained him immediate recognition among Congressmen on The Hill. Constantly barraged with questions on where to buy this or that, Williams acted on his wife’s suggestion five years ago and founded an accessories/shoe business.

The best part of the collection is its customization options: retailers can virtually design their own ties, pocket squares (hand-cut, hand-rolled, hand-embroidered in the U.S. by artisans who invest two hours per square of linen, wool, merino, or cashmere), scarfs, ascots, and even shoes by selecting the materials and trim; their customers can then monogram as they wish. Prices on pocket squares range from $110-$175 for cashmere. Ties, scarfs, and ascots are made in Como; shoes (average $950 retail) are crafted by an Italian cobbler relocated to Shanghai who has made Williams’ personal shoes for many years.

See this bespoke collection July 20-22 at the London Hotel, 151 W. 54th St; for an appointment: 202-731-1815.

Raffi: Problems Solved!

“He infuses positivity into all his collections,” notes Kareen Shaya of her dad Raffi Shaya. And in fact, the non-stop traffic each season at the Raffi booth at MRket/Project proves how much Raffi’s retail partners adore his product, customer service, margin potential, and the man himself (who has become our industry’s unofficial life coach, sharing great advice with anyone who needs it. If you’ve got a problem, stop by his booth and odds are good that he can solve it!)

New for the spring 2020 season is an exceptional group of reversible super-soft cotton sweaters in sun-washed shades. Available in crewnecks, henleys, quarter zips, and cardigans, these are fabulous transition pieces that will get you noticed on your evening beach stroll or at an overly-airconditioned restaurant ($135-$165 suggested retails with nice markup).

Also new, a collection of ultra-lightweight linen shirts, using a special process for an incredibly soft hand, and available in a broad range of solids as well as great prints.

Of course, Raffi’s famous aqua knits launched five years ago in a unique all-cotton performance fabric that’s cool to the touch, have become in-stock staples in many better specialty stores. Check out these perfect tees, pique polos with tipping, button-front models (key this season), drawstring pants, and new fashion prints. Tees that cost $26 generally retail from $75 to $90, money in the bank for sure!

Luchiano Visconti: Lots to Look At

Fariba Hourizadeh and her son Sasha have been running their menswear business (founded by Fariba’s husband) for the past 14 years. But this past year has seen more change than in all the others combined. From a shirt resource to a complete sportswear collection using only better European-sourced fabrics (many with performance attributes), the brand is selling well in better independent stores across the country. Added assets: extended sizes up to 6X and strong margin potential: sportcoats that wholesale for $99 are retailing from $295-$695, according to store.

And speaking of sportscoats, we especially liked the wool/linen blends and performance knits. In shirts, check out their amazing 6-way stretch (most of what’s out there is a four-way stretch) and a great collection of seersucker shirts ($48 cost) and hand-painted linens ($49). Two other exceptional offerings are beautiful soft hoodies in mercerized Italian yarns ($47) and a terrific collection of performance swimwear in happy prints ($25 cost). We also loved the color range of shorts ($27) and five-pocket pants ($39.50) in a lightweight Tencel stretch performance fabric. Meet the talented designer herself at MRket/Project, Sunday, July 21-Tuesday July 23.

Ace & Everett: Feet First!

If you think there’s not much to say about socks, you haven’t seen the Ace & Everett collection, showing at the Tents at Project. Says co-founder Sage Disch, “We’ve continued to elevate our brand, refine our product, and build our national network of high-end retail partners. Our versatile socks have emerged as the go-to option to wear with footwear from classic lace-ups to sneakers. We’re now proudly stocked in 100 of the top doors across the country.”

Touting creativity, comfort, and American-made quality, Ace & Everett has expanded its collection to include textured solid dress socks in a unique blend of organic Supima cotton and Merino wool as well as a core sport athletic sock in an ankle silhouette in response to customer demand. “We’re looking forward to an exciting holiday season with a planned pop-up in the Upper East Side or Boston’s seaport neighborhood,” shares Sage.

Their spring 2020 collection is inspired by European suiting fabrics and Japanese micro-jacquards. Check it out atProject NY (booth 480) and at the Chicago Collective.