Future graduates: though it may still seem a lifetime away, it is likely that you will need to acquire a suit in the near future. Whether for a job interview, a wedding or other formal function, a time will come when you must shed your skinnies or baggies and spiff up.
Fortunately, a Winnipeg start-up is here to ease the rapidly forming anxiety that suit buying induces.
EPH (pronounced Eff) Apparel customizes suits to your measurements at an affordable price.
The trio of Andrew Parkes, Alex Ethans and Maciek Hunek started EPH Apparel as a part-time gig.
“We started post-university,” Andrew Parkes explains. “We were all starting that first job where you needed to fill in the blanks in your wardrobe a little bit, but didn’t necessarily have the funds to do so.”
Due to excellent growth, the company has secured a manufacturer that solely produces their suits in Shenzhen, China, and which they have personally visited multiple times.
After evaluating over 15 different operations, Parkes maintains he is “confident the one (we) work with is more than satisfactory for (typical) Chinese working conditions.”
Currently, office headquarters are located in Osborne Village. However, EPH Apparel plans to open a storefront in early 2013 in either the Exchange District or Osborne Village.
For the average guy who wants to get custom fitted for a suit, or even just check out EPH Apparel’s offerings and process, they can attend a public fitting or make a personal appointment.
Alternatively, orders can be placed online.
“Generally speaking, the average guy who buys from us comes to us for measurements because we are accessible,” explains Parkes.
Attention to detail makes EPH Apparel stand out; they take 18 measurements before a suit is custom cut to your size. That’s probably why they have a Flawless Fit Guarantee. This means that if something doesn’t feel right after your suit is delivered, the alterations are on them.
The cost of a suit makes it a long-term investment.
Thanks to the guys at EPH Apparel, it’s now also an affordable one. Their suits start at $300, whereas a store-bought suit with alterations will bring you to $500 easily.
“It’s pretty educational - the process - as well,” says Parkes. “I didn’t know what kind of suit to get (before). I remember the first suit I ever got was like a ‘three-button dad suit,’ (as) I like to call it. I would never, ever put a guy that came to see us in that sort of suit.”
Apparently the process is a rite of passage, not unlike buying your first pair of big boy underwear.
“Trust me, there’s a lot of guys who need their hand held from start to finish of the process. A lot of guys bring girlfriends or whoever with them, because again, a lot of guys have no clue ... but it’s part of the process as well, and part of the fun, too.”
For more information on EPH Apparel, visit www.EPHapparel.com.
Published in Volume 67, Number 5 of The Uniter (October 3, 2012)