I was first introduced to Panta clothing about a year and half ago while on Stylefourm I came across amazing ties and was just drawn to them. I go a raw silk Panta tie and it is the best tie that I own and hope to get more in the future. The pants are amazing as well but do not own any of those yet. Enjoy the interview below about Panta Clothing from creater Ed Morel.
Southen Prep: What year did you start Panta clothing?
Panta Clothing: First pants were available in early 2010 but it took about 6 months to get to that point so I guess you could say we started at the end of 2009.
SP: You started out just selling ties and now have moved on to pants. Are there more items that are planned for the Panta Clothing Line?
PC: Yes, we’ll shortly start production on shirts, sportcoats and possibly suits. We are also currently working with an American shoe manufacturer, the plan is to offer a few classic models, hopefully that should launch before the end of the year.
SP: What influenced you to start a clothing company?
PC: I’ve always had an affinity for clothing and as I starting dressing up regularly, I found a dearth of quality, classic, well price items on store shelves. Being in NYC and knowing the rich garment manufacturing history that existed here, I kind of put two and two together.
SP: Do you have any plans to sell your items major retail stores?
PC: No, not at this time. I want to control how my items are presented, how they are described, how they are sold. Retail stores provide an opportunity to get your items in people’s hands, which is a terrific thing so I am missing out on that but at the same time, the internet reaches a worldwide audience so my exposure is a lot greater and I can interact with my customers in a way that I can’t in the retail channel.
SP: From inception, what impact has styleforum had on your business?
PC: At inception, styleforum was my business. Slowly, I am getting more and more customers that are not from styleforum but it’s members still represent the majority of my business for all intents and purposes.
SP: What is your current social media status? Any future plans?
PC: No social media exposure. No plans to have a presence on any of the major sites. I do like and read a lot of the blogs.
SP: When you introduced your tie line a few years ago not many people where doing shantung (raw) silk ties or grenadine ties. What influenced to introduce this style of ties to consumers?
PC: Well, I remember raw silks being done by Ralph Lauren many, many years ago and grenadines have been around since as long as I can remember, I still have a couple of Turnbull and Asser’s that I purchased back in the early 90’s. I don’t know why these aren’t mainstays of the major brands, they are magnificent ties and add a great dimension to any outfit. Raw silk ties have terrific texture and look equally great in a summer outfit as they do with a tweed sportcoat. On grenadines, I prefer the smaller weave (Garza fina) and again, a great tie to add texture to a summer or winter outfit.
Everything I produce is something you’ll find in my closet and I don’t wear them because I sell them, I sell them because I wear them.
SP: Which two ties are your favorite from the current collection and which are your all time favorite?
PC: I love the raw silk ties and the grenadines. I wear cashmere year round so a blue Donegal cashmere tie is also one of my favorites. I tend to wear solid navy ties more than the others so I could theoretically live on just a solid navy raw silk, navy grenadine and navy cashmere tie. For fall , we have a lot of beautiful cashmere and wool ties being made. There is a navy cashmere Spitafield that I can’t wait to wear, a rich brown wool flannel that is going to look so great with grey winter suits and a bunch of other stuff. Hard to pick just one.
SP: What generation of consumer do you feel purchases your ties?
PC: I get all age groups. Older gentleman that have been buying clothes longer than I have been alive and kids that are still in school getting ready for their first job interviews. When possible, I try and guide the customer if I think he is making a mistake. If I get a student looking to buy his first tie for job interviews and he wants an orange Donegal cashmere, I’m going to talk him out of it.
SP: It seems younger generation men are starting to wear more suits and ties more now and getting away from the casual environment. What do you think this stems from?
PC: I’ve heard multiple theories on this. One is that as times get harder and jobs are harder to find, those that are working/looking for jobs make a special effort to stand out above the polo’s and khaki fray. I think the internet and places like styleforum play a role as much as anything else. Twenty years ago, if you lived in a city with very limited clothing options, what are the chances that you would be looking for raw silk ties, made to order English shoes, Japanese raw denim jeans etc. Now, you can find and purchase the most obscure brand in the world with a mouse click and talk about it hours on end with other like-minded individuals from around the world.
SP: Do you think menswear blogs are hurting or helping companies, such as yours?
PC: Blogs are terrific in that they get the word out about brands such as mine. If I wanted to have people hear about me, I would have had to advertise in one of the major magazines or knock on the door of the buyers of the retail stores. Everytime I get mentioned in a blog, I get more people added to my mailing list. It’s a slower growth, but it’s a much more targeted and educated audience.
SP: What are you looking to be purchasing for fall 2011?
PC: Lots of cashmere items. I’m looking forward to the aforementioned cashmere items that we are making. Also, few things feel as good as a cashmere scarf on a cold winter day. We also make these cashmere pants that I dress up or down in the winter time. Lastly, a nice brown cashmere sportcoat. After navy, brown is your most versatile sportcoat color.
I wish men would wear more cashmere. I think a lot of guys see it as a very pricey, dainty fabric that should only be reserved for “special” items but I wear cashmere as often as I can and durability is not really an issue, assuming you are not playing football in it. I’d love to make cashmere boxers but I doubt that anyone will want to go through the hassle of getting their underwear dry cleaned.
SP: What is the fall outlook for Panta Clothing?
PC: As I mentioned, we have a lot of things cooking. In the immediate future, we’ll have a great selection of ties and scarves. Over the next 3-4 months, we should have sportcoats and shoes added to the mix. While we don’t manufacture the items, we design the patterns and source all the raw materials, we take a very hands on approach which makes sure we get exactly what we want but it also means things take time to go from design to production. Everything we sell is made in theUSA, with the majority of the items being made in NYC.
SP: Do you have any special projects you are currently working on?
PC: We are always juggling a few ideas at a time, right now the shoes are the sportcoats are the two things that I am really looking forward to launching.
SP: Where does your inspiration stem from when working on your ties?
PC: I find ties to be the hardest thing to shop for, either in person or online. There tend to be a lot more duds than hits. I try and make ties that don’t require you wearing them with five different outfits to see with which one it works. I guess you would call them boring ties, but I prefer the quality of the materials and the classic nature of the pattern to be what people notice rather than any ostentatious design. I do the occasional “fun” tie but if you went to your local menswear store looking for a solid navy tie or small patterned dark colored tie, you might find one or two in a sea of rainbow colored, large patterned, in your face ties. If you have a tie that requires more than a minute or two of thought about what to wear it with, toss it in the garbage.
SP: What one or two people in the fashion world has had an inspiration on you and where you are now?
PC: Well, I think anyone that is in anyway associated with the clothing business really needs to look at Ralph Lauren as their patron saint. No one, in men’s or women’s clothing, has done what he has. From the highest income earner to the deep discount outlet shopper, you’ll find at least one Ralph Lauren item in their homes. There is a quality and price point ladder, but no dilution to the brand name and the name means something to everyone on that ladder. I find the brand to be absolutely amazing, I love what he does at the high-end menswear Purple Label line and I think a class on the man and the company should be taught at every business school in the country.
Thank you for taking the time to set down to talk to me about your clothing line and letting our readers know a little more about you.
Thank you for having me and I very much appreciate this opportunity to reach out to your readers.