This was published in The Rake Japan in Japanese as part of an article I was featured in called "10 Rakish Men". I also did the portraits of two other men in the article: Simon Crompton of the blog, A Permanent Style, and Greg Lelouche, owner of the online shop, No Man Walks Alone.
This is the interview in its unedited, English form.
- Profile of the person
- Brief introduction of their work and jobs
Mark Cho, 32. born and raised in London, went to Brown University in the USA. Initially worked in womenswear before spending 4 years in real estate doing analysis and asset management in the UK and China. I had a passion for menswear since high school and became one of the major shareholders of Drake’s and the co-founder of The Armoury in 2010.
For Drake’s, I am involved only in major tasks such as financing, new premises, new stores, etc. For The Armoury, I am involved at all levels, from shop design to sales to purchasing to administration.
- Their point of view in dressing
Dressing is a language. For myself, I like the idea that my clothing is my vocabulary and I have choice in the way I use it. The way you physically present yourself is just another way you communicate with the world. I think once you reach a certain point of experience, dressing is no longer about looking good or not, it’s about communicating yourself accurately and as you wish. It should come naturally.
All the people whose style I really respect look at ease and natural in their clothing. I believe this is because since their clothing is never a costume to hide themselves, they will always appear at ease and natural in it.
I love many styles and I don’t think it’s possible to objectively consider one style better than another. Tailoring has been such an obsession for me because it is such a rich subject, it has so many layers and so much nuance. With The Armoury, I try to present a range of different styles, from Florentine to Neapolitan to Milanese to American and so on. It is fascinating to see how customers explore what we offer.
For bespoke, personally, I wear bespoke Liverano (Florentine) or Tailor CAID (American) the most often. I feel very comfortable in them. Their work is subtle, with the details not being immediately obvious, and I like the attitude that represents.
I am also very happy with my Ring Jacket garments, I wear them as much as my bespoke garments. The Armoury team and I spent a long time working on creating exclusive models with Ring Jacket that really represent our shop’s style so I am always very proud to wear them.
- Favourite tailor/items
blue single button peak lapel wool three piece suit which was adapted from his tuxedo style, a very flattering style but very easy to wear as well
olive heavyweight cotton two piece suit, more casual and fun but can still be dressy with the right accessories
brown prince of wales with blue overcheck cashmere sport jacket, can be worn with jeans or trousers
For Tailor CAID
navy single button mohair peak lapel suit in his 30’s cut not his Ivy Style cut. It is my suit for serious or special occasions , I think of it as one level less formal than a tuxedo.
grey herringbone wool tweed three piece, it is based on a vintage Brooks Brothers three piece that Yamamoto-san had in his shop. I often separate the pieces and wear the jacket by itself as a sport jacket.
- Their personal rules on style
I learned from Liverano to wear navy socks for almost every occasion.
I prefer looser over tighter fitting clothing, I think it’s more important to be comfortable.
Unless it’s a very casual suit, I think it’s always better to wear a tie.
Never insist on perfect fit or try for perfect coordination.
When choosing colours, stick with either mostly warm or mostly cool colours for the majority of what you are wearing and then add the opposite as an accent. e.g. brown suit with navy tie or navy suit with honey coloured tie.
- Who do they get inspired by?/Any influences?
I’m lucky enough to work with some very stylish and interesting people. I think naturally when people like each other and work closely together, they will subconsciously imitate each other a little and they becomes an influence on each other.
The people who I am inspired by always have very strong control over their style. Antonio Liverano and Takahiro Osaki have a style that has is always elegant but also as a little bit of unpredictability to it, making it much more interesting. Hirofumi Kurino is really able to wear a wide variety of styles and influences and always look comfortable, I think this is a sign of experience. Yasuto Kamoshita has an incredible sense for colour and materials. Yuhei Yamamoto has incredible discipline with his style, it’s always very coherent.
- Any collections? ie watches, shoes, bespoke items? (Photo please)
I love watches. In particular, I like vintage and new Grand Seiko. I generally prefer watches from the 30’s to the 60’s because of their small size but sometimes I will buy more modern pieces, also. One of my favourite styles of watch is the “two register” chronograph, which is not so common anymore.