You always have to find menswear by scrabbling around for the button hidden away at the top left- or right-hand corner of a women's wear website, said Jeremy Langmead, the editor-in-chief of men's lifestyle and shopping website mrporter.com. That was a year ago. In just 12 months, Langmead, a former men's glossy editor, and his team have taken their fledgling website to great heights, becoming the go-to source for fashionable, relevant and up-to-date content for men's fashion.
mrporter.com recently turned one, and to celebrate, the website has launched a Pocket Square Project, employing the help of top designers to create exclusive pocket designs for limited availability.
The Directory spoke with Langmead about the project, fashion and the journey so far.
It's been one year already. How has it been so far for you?
Building mrporter.com into a global style destination for men has been exciting and exhausting. Sometimes surprising, but mostly amazing.
Coming from a publishing background I have learnt a lot, and am very proud of how my team have built integrated editorial content and commerce that has already won awards, garnering a lot of media attention and a huge customer base. Phew.
How has reception from the Middle East been for you?
The Middle East has reacted very well and we get a lot of customer and press support. We are coming over soon and very much look forward to it.
Globally, which regions have been the best for mrporter.com?
Well we have offices in the UK and US and these are key markets alongside Australia, France and Germany. But we ship to 170 countries and anyone who has access to a computer, tablet device or smart phone can shop with us — and they have. We've shipped everywhere from Taiwan to Brazil, Australia to Fiji.
Why pocket squares?
We felt they are a great, understated way to add a certain flourish to an outfit. Pocket squares have once again become a very popular accessory for men. The project allowed us to work with ten very different designers in creating them.
How did you pick the designers you have collaborated with?
We try to work very closely with the designers that we stock and endeavour where possible to get exclusive and limited products to offer our customers and we were very lucky that the likes of Oliver Spencer, Band of Outsiders and Our Legacy were all happy to collaborate with us.
Have you achieved the goals you set out at the beginning?
I think the goals set out were to create the perfect mix of content and commerce, working with the best designers and brands globally and to become a destination for men who are interested or who need to be interested in style. Have we achieved that? I'll let our visitors and customers be the judge of that. I hope so.
Which aspects of running Mr Porter have been most challenging?
Balancing so many plates: it's a 24/7 operation and I have to keep a tight control of everything from the product pages and images to the weekly editorial content to the emails to the daily social media channels and the PR operation. Fun and manic.
Anything special for the Middle East/UAE coming up some time in the future?
We are planning to come over later in the year to host a small party and, of course, every project we do is aimed to be special for every territory.
Have you been to Dubai? What are your impressions?
Many of the team have, but I have yet to visit; I very much look forward to visiting next month.