Funky Fresh Flannels feat. Alexander Sumner

September 29th, 2014

The world of menswear is a relatively small one, but it’s full of interesting characters. I love meeting entrepreneurs in the business to learn how they got their start and understand the vision behind the brand that they’ve built.

During my last trip to New York I met with the crew behind NYC Clothier Alexander Nash and had some particularly great conversations with founder Alexander Sumner.

Alex is a lot of things. He’s a teacher, a designer, a family man, a hardcore deadhead, a former velvet rope gatekeeper (shout-out to my man Frans), etc. And as you would expect from a man who runs a tailoring business – which specializes in true bespoke suits handmade in NYC – he has an impressive wardrobe full of unexpected details.

Here he gives us a taste of some of his favorite funky flannels for the F/W season.

    1. Bring the Pane

    AlexSumner (1 of 104)

    “Both of my parents had a strong impact on the development of my style. My father, being a staunch New Englander and educated at Yale, loved his colors and his boldness was transferred in whole. My mother painted, wrote, and refinished antiques. Her sensibility spoke volumes to me; as per taking what is old and rich in character and making it new and unique.

    She took me to my first Thrift Shop when I was 12 years old, which helped shape my eye and began an obsession. She gave me the understanding that in fashion (especially menswear) there is truly nothing new under the sun… I was exposed early to the benefits of classic silhouettes and wonderful craftsmanship… All of this shortly began an almost daily ritual of thrift shop treasure hunting for me.”

    AlexSumner (21 of 104)

    I love this in-your-face chalkstripe windowpane. On a heavy flannel fabric the loud stripes are somewhat mitigated by the “fuzz” of the fabric.

    If you’re going with a fabric this bold, then go just as bold with the styling. Don’t shy away from a trim double-breasted cut or a wide 5″ lapel (keeping in mind Alex is about 6’3″). In this case I also like the touch of the contrast button-holes (on the lapels and sleeves) since they’re about as visible as the chalkstripe.

    AlexSumner (27 of 104)

    Alex is a man of detail, as seen by the cutaway/club collar, the intricacies of the tie knot, the burnishing of that incredible leather duffle bag, and the f-you-ness of the jacket lining.

    Also, check out the custom-sized hip pocket on the trousers to hold his IPhone. It’s a detail that comes on all the A. Nash suits, “to keep the bulk out of your pockets”.

    AlexSumner (29 of 104)

    AlexSumner (24 of 104)


    2. Winter’s Bone

    AlexSumner (63 of 104)

    “I’m an educator by heart and by trade, having worked for the NYC Board of Education for ten years teaching Middle School Social Studies and Technology in Brooklyn through the 90’s. In order to survive on a teachers salary, I also worked at least 4 nights a week in the nightclub world, either as a Doorman or VIP Host.

    Besides helping to pay the rent, the evening work also tapped into my love of dressing-up… (One night) a chance encounter at the door of the famed club Pangaea (where I manned the ropes for two years) connected me with the owner of Mood Fabrics, which changed the course of my life dramatically. Suddenly I had access to use fabrics of my own choosing…with tailors I’d been working with for 10-15 years tweaking my vintage finds. So I started experimenting and making silhouettes of my own choosing…  Eventually my personal pieces started piquing the interest of some of my colleagues around the city and soon I was making clothing for them…

    The art of dressing for the evening has very significantly defined my designs and overall sense of style; 25 years of nightlife work has left its mark.”

    AlexSumner (72 of 104)

    I appreciate the non-corporate touches to Alex’s suits, like the green herringbone flannel, the short-sleeved shirt with wool bowtie, the orange floral lining, the formal-cut waistcoat complete with one-sided covered buttons, etc.

    AlexSumner (80 of 104)

    “My advice on building a wardrobe is to start by making sure you’ve mastered the basics. The navy suit and the white shirt. Simple Levi’s with a white t-shirt and Jack Purcells. Get that crisp shawl tux and the clean grey suit. Most importantly, understand that FIT is everything… Recognize the beauty of the human silhouette and strive to accentuate it with clothes imbued with a flattering fit.

    Beware of trends. No word should make you more fearful than ‘fashion’. Style is timeless, classic, scarcely dictated by market manipulation or fads.”

    AlexSumner (82 of 104)

    3. Velvet Rope Bespoke

    AlexSumner (84 of 104)

    “Having a sense of style is hardly a matter of life and death. If one eats daily only to nourish oneself, then the world of varied and delicious cuisine is unfortunately overlooked. Tapping into ones sense of style reaps great rewards as does developing your writing or reading skills or developing the skills to play an instrument.

    I must emphasize that my sense of style is something that I’ve continued to develop, shape, (reshape!) and nurture. Saying that your sense of style has arrived is to grossly misunderstand the magic of exploration and growth. Most importantly, the development of my style has allowed me to have tremendous fun!”

    AlexSumner (91 of 104)

    “The navy topcoat-suit was made for wearing outside on cold evenings when I was operating the door at a prominent nightclub. I wanted to be able to shield myself from the wind so I chose a 14oz flannel cloth and made the jacket knee-length… The double-breasted windowpane suit in the first look  was also created with hypothermia in mind.”

    AlexSumner (97 of 104)

    AlexSumner (101 of 104)

    Again with the attention to detail – navy eyewear and navy monks to complete the look!

    AlexSumner (102 of 104)

    Thanks, as always, for reading and special thanks to Alex for participating!

    Yours in style,

    Dan Trepanier


    Photography by Alex Crawford

    • BougieHippie

      His personal style from his is tailoring, accessories to his tatts are what all men should aspire to when creating their own personal style.

      just awesome!

    • TO

      I like this guy’s style because it is a refined (+perfectly fitting) mix of Brit, dandy, punk rock and early 20th century vintage… and probably most because he makes three piece “suits” using an overcoat !

    • JoeFromTexas

      Is that vato wearing a zoot suit in the last look?! Orale Pues!

      • TO

        Joe- I thought zoot suit was ill-fitting- ? Maybe I am missing the point/joke :)

        • JoeFromTexas

          I was being loose with my reference. Probably the hallmark of a zoot suit is the long coat (this is what I was referencing in my comment). However, there are other traditional elements: the trousers are high rise with a generous drape (I prefer this to ill-fitting, since it’s purposeful) and exaggerated taper at the hem. Typical accessories was a very long key/wallet/watch chain, braces, a shorter tie, wingtips (often spectators) and a fedora. The elements all had various social inferences. Of course countless variations have emerged over the years, tied to each other typically only by the long coat, but those are the basics. Going to weekend lowrider shows and dances growing up, there were always a few decked out in traditional zoot suits as a nod to their roots.

          • TO

            Awesome man, thanks for that Joe! |
            I can’t say I’ll get on board with that retro look though ;)

    • Stephen

      Paragraph 5: Look 2. “Simple” is misspelled as “Smple.” Im not trying to be the grammar police though. I promise.

      • Dan Trepanier

        Nice catch playr.

        • Kevin

          *player :-)

          • TO

            Silly Kevin.

    • MS

      Beautiful clothes, cool guy. A little too dandyish for me personally but that’s obviously his thing. Something about these profiles keep striking me as a bit funny though: Dan and Co. and guests all (and I mean all…) seem to say some version of “style is timeless, don’t trust fashion, etc.” However, actual history doesn’t seem to bear this out—style isn’t timeless. What was timeless style 100 years ago would look downright bizarre today. I think what they actually mean to say is confidence is timeless, but style is deeply time determinant.

      • Guestsss54

        What many refuse to accept is that Fashion dictates what your style is, either directly, or indirectly.

        • TO

          True. Though after thinking about it, I think the distinction (directed at what MS said) is that style is looking “good/harmonious” no matter when/where you were to look at it, and “fashion” creates an environment where one is wearing something through simply buying into the hype of a certain look/item/fit which won’t necessarily stand the test of time to being viewed as looking “good”.

      • TO

        Interesting. But I think if you find the right ‘middle ground’ somewhere in there (not too skinny, not too zoot) a simple suit would not be out-of-place in the (post-industrial?1900s-on?) era. In North America/Europe. Hmm, you raise some interesting points…

    • ChrisD

      Great feature about a cool lookin’ dude. Beautiful ties. His fit&proportion are spot on for guys well over 6 feet.
      oh you menswear entrepreneurs and your bold-ass suits.. fun to look at on the internet :]


      Wow! Awesome!

    • massimo

      not feelin it. look 3 is pimp (but not in a good way).

      • Dan Trepanier

        It ain’t easy.

    • jon

      Is my mind playing tricks on me or does the first suit look almost forest green from a distance, especially in the first picture. Makes me now want to see that windowpane on an actual green suit. Great look.

      As an aside, you are missing the k in keeping in the paragraph under the second picture.

      • Dan Trepanier

        Hmmm. Might be your screen… I wish it was a really dark green though!

      • Josh

        It looked green to me too, and that windowpane would be perfect on really dark green.

    • Shawn

      Is a teacher’s salary that bad in the US? Up here, in Quebec, it’s plenty to live with. Granted, you won’t be wealthy rich but you’ll be able to afford a house, a car and live a little. Even with our out-of-whack taxes and govt. deductions.

      Love the ensemble. Not feeling the knee-length jacket and a couple of other knacks (but hey, when working in the industry, you have to distinguish a little, I guess), but as a whole, I like his vibe.

      • K

        A teacher’s salary in the US depends on a lot of factors, including whether it’s a public or private school, what school district, what level they’re teaching, and most importantly, how long they’ve been teaching.

        Love this post, by the way!

      •!/wonkinakilt Joe Colucci

        It’s plenty to live on, especially in relatively well-funded areas like New York, but NYC is expensive. Depending on where you decide to live in the city, a second job could feel necessary to make ends meet.

    • Miguel

      Strong, he wears his cloth like I don’t care, love the flannels. The waistcoat and the overcoat are to die for.

    • cam

      No shots of the lining on the back of the waistcoat in look 2?

      • Dan Trepanier

        Just a peak ;)

    • Loscv29

      DAMN. All i can say about that formal cut, buttons-offset vest.

      Just…. DAMN.