A Conversation with the Men Behind Modus Man

We were first introduced to Modus Man earlier this year as the gentleman held a private cocktail party to celebrate their most recent collaboration. I was captivated by the how the line was able to flawlessly mix prints without loosing it’s masculinity. Modus Man is Against “boring” Shirts, and Design is clearly their Obsession. Modus Man delivers Elegance which otherwise cannot be acquired. You will not find it at your common department store, or at any regular boutique for that matter. We recently spoke with co-founders Stanley & Reginald Saint-Amand about how their luxury menswear line, their clientele, and we get to know a little more about them:

Tell us about how Modus Man got started. What was the inspiration behind starting the line?

In summer 2008, the US economy was crumbling. Most businesses related to the Real Estate sector were in trouble. My brother Reginald and I (Stanley) were facing a similar faith; our Miami-based Construction business was suddenly going broke. We had to close up shop. The question surfaced: What is our next step? Online Marketing was our passion. We also loved fashion, and we’ve been lucky to have developed a good eye for it. All the pieces suddenly aligned:

  • Reginald’s best friend happened to be a Manager at a Design Firm
  • We loved their shirt designs, and realized the US Online Market was underserved for Men’s Fashion
  • We therefore negotiated a Partnership to start selling these shirts online

Although we were penniless at this point, we found a way to launch Modus Man™. The Vision is captured by the simple slogan: “Against boring Shirts”. In fact, we felt that Shopping for a nice men’s shirt felt like visiting our grandfather’s wardrobe: same old boring Shirts!  Modus Man solves this problem for men.

The first 4 years of ModusMan.com consisted of gathering the most innovative Shirt Designers under one roof. After, we felt that we gained enough design experience, and began showcasing our own creations. The public’s response surpassed our expectations.

All of your shirts have been impeccably designed with excellent tailoring. Where do you find inspiration for each collection? Would you say that your surroundings have any influence on aspects of your designs?

The surroundings are always an influence. The biggest part of the Inspiration comes from a mix between our Haitian roots and New York. Like Donna Karen said: “Haiti Is a country of Artists”. Even our current president, Mr. Michel Martelly, is a former singer. At the same time, New York is so fashion-forward!

It is the Art of focusing on very small details that results in a “Wow!” Effect. For instance, the Contrast Stitching, the Reverse Fabrics, and the Buttons that are not Round-shaped like everyone else etc. Regarding the latter (Buttons), we are presenting a totally new style of Buttons this summer, and we have never been that excited about a launch.

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Who is the ModusMan clientele?

A Modus Man seeks to maintain Elegance & Sex Appeal. The typical Modus Man is a Successful individual from the Upper-Class or a H.E.N.R.Y. (High Earner Not Rich Yet). He is between 25 to 55 years-old.

Why the name Modus Man?

The Latin Modus means, “to measure”. This gave birth to the old French, “modus”, from which Fashion derives: “La Mode”.

Which designers inspire you?

  • Robert Graham creates the craziest Fabrics & Prints
  • Louboutin for having created such social phenomenon around Hills with a red sole. The secret here is the little detail that kills!
  • LVMH and Kering (portfolio includes Gucci, Saint-Laurent etc.) for having built such Global Design Power Houses, while preserving the cachet of Luxury
  • Maceoo makes you forget everything you’ve previously known about Polo Shirts because of their Design Innovations
  • Stone Rose constantly re-invents itself in their designs, and we admire their Rags to Riches story
  • Bonobos because we have the same DNA: grew Online first, followed by Wholesale via Nordstrom, and now actively inaugurating new stores in various locations
  • Bugatchi for having kept an audience hooked on their shirt designs since the early 80s

stone_rose_mens_dress_shirs_mia_mm61Are there any celebrities that you would love to see wearing your clothes?
The ultimate Modus Man is James Bond. He oozes Manliness, Confidence, and Sex Appeal. Bond’s character makes the clothing look good, and not the other way around (and it is how it should be). However, when the clothing is as good as the character, it renders James Bond Unstoppable.

What is your biggest fashion pet peeve?
It is when the Collar of a shirt is Flapping. A shirt looks so much better when the collar stays up. It is surprising how men, in general, do not give much attention to this. It is really easy to fix, and makes a huge difference in your sharpness.

A secret for you: apply a small piece of Double-Sided Scotch Tape under your collar. It will make the collar stick on the shirt, therefore never flapping. A tape roll costs around $2, and you can use it for at least 30 shirts. Once you try it, you’ll never wear another shirt without double-sided tape again!

Besides a Modus Man shirt, what should every man have in their closet?

It’s important to focus on small details that reinforce character. For instance, your socks can speak out loud about you.

Instead of wearing the regular Black Sock, go for a black sock that shows an extra touch of fun/life, like Stripes of different colors, or polka dots. Your socks signal there’s a fun & wild part in you, and that you pay attention to details. It is the piece that makes you officially “Chic”.

Socks are a small investment with a great ROI.

What advice would you give to up and coming designers?

It is OK to start Humble. It is best to study the path of humble designers who’ve become wildly successful. The best example is Paul Smith.

In a recent interview with “The Business of Fashion”, Paul Smith shared his story:

  • He started as a store assistant
  • Fell in love with his future wife, and they opened a small store together
  • The store was only open on Fridays & Saturdays
  • Today, Smith is one of Britain’s most successful fashion designers, and grossed over $653 Million last year
  • In November 2013, the London’s Design Museum presented an exhibition in his honor entitled “Hello, My Name is Paul Smith”

What’s next for Modus Man?Modus Man

Menswear is still an under served sector. The luxury menswear market is growing at almost 14% per year, outpacing growth in women’s wear by almost double.

Since its inception, Modus Man has experienced consistent & impressive growth, and we are very thankful. There is a lot of room to grow.

The new direction consists of 3 Goals:

  • To Manufacture from Haiti: as Haitians, we want to contribute to the country’s development by creating jobs. In addition, we want to bring other designers to Haiti to produce
  • To launch our Wholesale Division this year. The amount of calls that we receive for Wholesale inquiries gives us the green light to launch. Just yesterday, a store located as far as South Africa contacted us
  • To open up Modus Man “Brick and Mortar Stores” globally. Currently, Asia is the fastest growing Market

Let’s get to know Stanley & Reginald Saint-Amand a little more:

Who’s on your iPod?

Music covering different styles & generations (some Portishead, Oasis, Sting, Fugees, Jay Z etc.) However, we mainly listen to House Music: Lil Louie Vega, Danny Tenaglia, Kascade, DJ Soul-P, AVICII, Michael Brun, Rocksteady…And of course, some Kompa/Zook music (native from Haiti and other French-speaking Caribbean islands).

Complete the following sentence…

I’d never leave home without my headphones.

I usually wake up around 5 in the morning.

The last thing I googled is “2014 NYC Film Festival”

The item of clothing I wear most is the Dress Shirt. I have too many.

My guilty pleasure is Red Wine.

I like to splurge on Dining out on a restaurant’s terrace.

The best gift I ever received was our 1st BMX Bicycle. Our parents bought bikes for the both of us because we loved watching an Australian movie called “BMX Bandits”, starring Nicole Kidman.

The biggest fashion city is New York.

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Thanks to Stanley & Reginald Saint-Amand of Modus Man for chatting with us about their luxury menswear line. It’s one of favorites! To learn more about the great menswear brand or to shop, visit them on Facebook.com/themodusman and ModusMan.com