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Ramy Khalaf
Stephano Menswear & Tailoring

Website: www.stephanomenswear.com

Stephano Menswear & Tailoring is a family owned business. What sets you apart from other boutiques in Ottawa?

One thing that really sets us apart from other boutiques in Ottawa is our tailoring. Although we are in an era of outsourcing, e-tail/online shopping and mass production, we are still convinced there still is a market for quality custom-tailored suits. We carry old traditional tailoring techniques with a modern twist. That twist has to do with experimenting new styles, modern fabrics, and vibrant, brighter colors.

Tell us about some of the men’s lines and labels you carry at the boutique.

Some of our main brands are Bugatchi, Samuelsohn, Ermenegildo Zegna, Harris Tweed, Paul Betenly, our home brand Stephano Collezione and many more.

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What kind of man does Stephano Menswear & Tailoring cater to?

Stephano Menswear & Tailoring caters to well dressed business people. When people hear tailoring, they automatically think of a crusty old gentleman, but today we are seeing younger, diverse more modern business men and women customers.

A big challenge in today’s world is growing competition from cheap ready-to-wear suits, to designers adding an online custom suits. At Stephanos we always say, “buying quality hurts only once, when you actually buy. Not buying quality hurts every time.” A designer suit is a machine made garment that will end up in our shop for repairs after a few wears. The thing about a tailored suit is that it is expensive, but you are buying quality and longevity. A suit may cost you $2000, but it will last you 15 to 20 years.

“A man in a well tailored suit will always shine brighter than a guy in an off-the-rack suit.”
Michael Kors

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What is one men’s fashion look that never goes out of style?

One men’s fashion look that will never go out of style is a well-tailored suit. If you own just one suit make sure it is a plain darker color such as black, navy, charcoal and it will last a long time.

A two-piece suit is a wardrobe staple that is versatile and can be switched easily from a work meeting to a casual cocktail with friends.

What are 5 pieces of clothing every man should have in his wardrobe?

It think 5 is a small number for must-haves but here they are:

1. A well-tailored dark suit.
2. A white dress shirt.
3. A sports jacket/blazer.
4. Khakis and jeans.
5. Brogues.

What are some of the 2014 Spring/Summer trends in men’s fashion?

A few styles are getting ready for come backs in 2014 Spring/Summer and one of them is the Double breasted jacket. We are also going to see more prints such as florals, camo, polka dots and watercolor. Pastels, men’s jewelry, more street inspired fashion and one of my favorite trends that also made a comeback, the chic hand bag.

“Style is the answer to everything. A fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous thing. To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without it. To do a dangerous thing with style is what I call art.”
– Charles Bukowski

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I worked in the retail industry throughout high school and university – in store marketing and visual presentation are paramount when it comes to selling clothes. When someone sees a well put together outfit – it’s not just pieces of clothing that draws them in – it’s the whole look, an image – a lifestyle.
How do you put together the looks you display on mannequins and bust forms?

When putting the window displays together we usually go with current trends and try to change it often. People love to look and observe so we always give them a beautiful display to see what’s new and trending. We also like to throw in a few themes once in a while such as vintage, weddings, custom tailoring and more. In a city that is so conservative, we always try to encourage customers to step out of their comfort zone; it works 40% of the time, but that percentage is getting better and better.

This city has a reputation for being very conservative, but I think that is slowly changing. I would love Ottawa to be alongside Toronto and Montreal, when people think of Canadian fashion meccas. Where would you like to see the Ottawa fashion industry in 5 years?

Ottawa is a teen when it comes to the fashion industry vs. the adults, Montreal and Toronto. Throughout the years we’ve been seeing strong changes and I am convinced soon enough things will change. As to where I would like to see Ottawa in 5 years, I think it will be a smaller version of both Montreal and Toronto, and a lot better than today. These two cities have earned their reputation in the fashion world and have been leaders for a long time and it would be almost impossible for Ottawa to surpass them.

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Since we are a lifestyle blog – would you mind answering a few personal questions?
How would you define your personal style?

I would say my style is unconventional preppy. 

Let’s hear some of your favorites:

Cologne: Mont Blanc Legend
Cities to shop for clothes: New York
Piece of clothing you own: A sports jacket I made myself.
Pair of shoes: Many favorites but waiting for the new Cole Haan/ Nike shoes.
Designer: With so many popular and ‘underground’ designers, I’m afraid I can’t pick one.
Fashion icon: One of my favorites, Pharrell Williams.

Some men have a collection of watches, baseball caps or ties. Do you have anything that you collect?

I love to collect accessories like bow ties, jewelry and recently I’ve been making and collecting lapel pins. I’m creating new lapel pins you might see around the city and I will make sure to keep you posted.

Whose male and female celebrity style do you like?

Male: Pharrell Williams   Female: Janelle Monáe

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I hate when the hem on guys pants are too short – it’s even worse when he has ugly shoes on. What is your biggest fashion pet peeve?

Speaking of a short hem, we encounter many situations where the customer wants something that might not be the ideal option, so we try to suggest a better alternative. My biggest fashion pet peeve would have to be seeing a gentleman with a suit that doesn’t fit him properly. An oversized suit is just really ugly and a suit that looks like it’s going to rip because it’s too tight is even worse.