Paul Stuart Debuts Store in Soho Focused on Custom Looks

Paul Stuart is getting up close and personal with customers. Today, the upscale specialty store is debuting customLAB banner, a store in New York’s SoHo neighborhood focused on accessibly priced, made-to-measure men’s wear and companion accessories.

To make sure men are covered head-to-toe, the 500-square-foot location on Broome Street, will  offer a selection of Paul Stuart’s signature footwear, in addition to neckwear, sunglasses and fragrances, according to president and CEO Paulette Garafalo, who anticipates about 5% of the store’s business to be generated from shoes.

Paul Stuart is not new to the custom apparel business. The retailer currently offers its customLab program in its New York, Washington D.C. and Chicago locations, along with a more exclusive, higher priced line of made-to-measure goods.

“We found we were getting a lot of customers who enjoy the experience of creating their own product,” said Garafalo, but were sometimes reluctant to create high-ticket items. The customLab format allows them to create suits at an opening price point of $995 compared to the made-to-measure suits that run upwards of $2,000.

In addition to suits, customLab offers a collection of sport coats, outerwear, shirts and jeans, all tailored to fit specifications. And unlike its pricier made-to-measure offering that can take up to two months to deliver goods, customLab keeps the wait time to four weeks.

For customers who may feel intimidated when it comes to creating their own look, there are experienced fit specialists on hand to guide customers through the process that includes selecting a silhouette and fabric, along with buttons, linings, and even accent threads. Shirts start at $195 and jackets at $695.

To coordinate with the wide range of apparel options, shoes will follow suit and include ready-made dress shoes, hybrid styles that marry formal uppers with rubber outsoles, in addition to athletics, all designed in house under the Creative Director Javier Suarez. Moving into spring ’21, Garafalo said there will be an expanded offering of more moderately priced footwear in the $395 range as a complement the more affordable customLab collection.

In addition to its ready-made footwear, the retailer offers a custom footwear program at its locations in New York, Washington D. C. and Chicago. Customers can design their own shoes, in addition to getting a customized fit by selecting from a range of sizes and widths. Retail prices range from $1,075 to $1,200, with delivery from six to eight weeks.

While opening a store in today’s pandemic environment can be risky business, Garafalo said if Paul Stuart stands still, its business can be crippled. “We keep pushing forward,” she added, noting the company had secured the site in January.

According to Garafalo, the company plans to roll out two more customLab stores by the end of the 2020, for a total six to eight over the next two years. Locations are still to be determined, but will be concentrated on the East Coast and could include Brooklyn, N.Y., or Long Island.

Paul Stuart is inviting customers to a trunk event from Sept. 3 to Sept. 27, with discounts available.

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