After having trail-blazed the era of Internet shopping by starting Net-a-Porter ten years ago, Natalie Massenet has now gone a step further and set up Mr Porter, a full-blown menswear shop with a similar kind of mixture of high end fashion brands as its female version. The site is run by former magazine editor Jeremy Langmead who, after twenty years at the likes of Wallpaper and Esquire, has expanded into digital retail.
The main reasoning, one suspects, for hiring Mr Langmead is that the website, except for pure shopping pleasures, works as an editorial destination, offering the customers content as well suits and jeans. Having just launched, Mr Porter stocks Lanvin, Comme des Garcons, John Lobb, Burberry and Yves Saint Laurent. We quizzed Langmead about the USP of this particular online store and about what's at the top of his own personal shopping list...
Dazed Digital: Why wait ten years before opening up Mr Porter?
Jeremy Langmead: Customers have been asking us for years when we will be launching a men’s site and this year the timing just felt right.
DD: How does Mr Porter differ from other menswear online stores?
Jeremy Langmead: What makes Mr Porter different is the mix of content and commerce. And the fact that it will be a dedicated menswear style destination. Most retail sites are women’s ones with a small tab for menswear as an afterthought. This will be an entire new brand/site dedicated to men: the environment will not only make shopping easy and enjoyable, but make men feel comfortable being on a shopping site.
DD: What brands - and why - are you stocking?
Jeremy Langmead: We select the brands – and the products produced by those brands – that will appeal to stylish men all over the world. Our approach is style, not fashion. Each collection has a sophisticated and stylish buy that should appeal as much to the fashion-conscious man about town as to the more mature guy who wants to look good, but doesn’t care about the latest trends. We have bought a cross-section of brands from the more fashion-forward labels, to the contemporary lifestyle labels to specialist niche labels like the hat makers Lock & Co or Charvet.
DD: Is there an editorial side to Mr Porter as well - is that why you are on board?
Jeremy Langmead: Yes, there will be lots more than the shopping experience. There will be the weekly magazine that will cover people and product, there will be whole sections of content that deal with the different style conundrums men face, with inspiring characters from the past and present, and interviews with men from all ages and backgrounds who have achieved something that many men will find inspirational to read about.
DD: What lured you away from magazine journalism?
Jeremy Langmead: After 20 years working in print – on newspapers and magazines – I was ready for a change; and instinctively felt that digital publishing and retail were the future for me. Then along came Natalie Massenet and offered me just that. And Natalie is very hard to say no to.
DD: What is the first thing you will pick up for yourself from Mr Porter this season?
Jeremy Langmead: Luis Morais' Small Cross Large Ebony Black Dia Yellow Gold Bracelet. I’ve noticed the number of men who now wear beaded bracelets – not just casually in LA, but you see all the business guys in Milan wearing them with their suits, too. I think it’s a smart, masculine option for men’s jewellery. The ones I covet (and already own a few of) are by Luis Morais, the Miami-based designer.