Maison Leporem offers customized suits made from scratch with charm and elegance
In the world of classic menswear, tailored suits are often associated with older gentlemen, like Sean Connery in his role as James Bond or actor Cary Grant’s impeccable style.
Inspired by these menswear legends are two young gentlemen, 25-year-old Collins Oghor and 23-year-old Claudiu Pascalau, founders of a custom suit service called Maison Leporem. “I appreciate classical tailoring, and having an opportunity at such a young age to be involved with this industry is amazing,” Pascalau said. “You get to meet so many great people and work with people from all walks of life.”
Pascalau is a communications student at Concordia University and Oghor recently graduated from McGill University’s joint program in medicine and management (MD/MBA). “Dressing up in formal menswear is a passion of mine,” Oghor said. “Growing up with a mother who is a fashion designer, there was always that discipline that the way you dress shows that you respect wherever it is that you are going or whoever it is that you are going to visit.”
Maison Leporem allows men in Montreal to customize their suit from scratch. This service is offered by appointment only at their showroom downtown. There, customers can meet the owners, sip some whiskey, select their desired fabrics, have their measurements taken and discuss styling details.“The first and most important part of the fitting is entertainment,” Pascalau said. “You’re not just coming to buy a suit—it’s an experience.” According to Pascalau, the majority of Maison Leporem’s clients are young professionals, either recent graduates or recently promoted and looking for a new suit. “We really want the customer to feel relaxed,” he said. “We want to get to know the customer, because it’s not just about selling someone a suit—it’s about knowing what fits their lifestyle.”
After a drink or two and some mingling, the owners get down to business. According to Oghor, the first thing the gentlemen ask their client is: “What are you going to use your suit for?” Maison Leporem offers 300 different patterns and colours to choose from. The main fabrics they use for their suits are wool, tweed, cashmere, linen and cotton.
To help the client make the right choices, Oghor said it’s important to ask the right questions. “How often do you want to use this suit? Do you want an all-year-round fabric? Do you want a winter- or summer-specific fabric?” This knowledge is crucial to creating a suit that fits the client’s needs. “We want to help you build your wardrobe,” Oghor said. Maison Leporem also offers accessories including a new collection of Italian ties as well as pocket squares, leather goods and jewelry.
An important part of the interaction in the showroom is the exchange of knowledge of menswear between the owners and their clients. According to Pascalau, when clients come in, they are not always sure what they are looking for. “Seventy per cent of the time, they are there to get your advice,” he said. “The average guy asks for a blue suit, but there are so many more [details] when it comes to a blue suit.”
“Many people are shocked to know that there are over 20 aspects [to style] in a suit,” Oghor added. “A lot of people say they never knew they could customize their suit to this level of sophistication.” Other times, clients know exactly what they want. “It’s a situation where we let the customer decide how much they want to be guided,” Oghor said.
For men buying their first suit, both the Maison Leporem owners suggest a timeless ensemble. Oghor recommends selecting a suit that can be worn with any colour shoe and pants, including jeans and chinos. “We recommend to start with a suit in the navy blue or grey family which is really popular these days,” he added. “We always advise people to stay away from black.”
At the end of the first appointment, Pascalau and Oghor make sure they have all of the client’s measurements. The next step is to send the order to the tailors the young men work with. “We work with a great team of tailors who have years of experience in the menswear industry,” Pascalau said. “We really try to make them understand what the client is looking for in order to have a final product that is going to be exactly what the customer had in mind.” Running a small business as young professionals isn’t easy. “You have to wear 10 different hats in one day,” Pascalau said. “I have to develop the product, meet an accountant, run to the tailor and meet clients.”
Yet, according to both gentlemen, the hard work pays off. Pascalau said the most gratifying part of a day at Maison Leporem is when the client picks up his finalized suit. “When a client puts on the suit, you can see his reaction,” he said. According to Pascalau, he and his business partner take satisfaction in being part of what is usually an important event in their clients’ lives. For Oghor, Maison Leporem is not about selling a product. “It’s about the sentiments that come from it. Making a tuxedo for a wedding or for someone’s interview for a new job—that brings us a lot of fulfillment,” he said. “It’s hard to put a dollar value to that feeling.”
To book an appointment at Maison Leporem, visit www.maisonleporem.com or follow the business on social media @MaisonLeporem.