Alyson Araque looks to bring the art of men’s tailoring to the women’s market with her new tailored clothing brand, Q Sartorial.
During her years as buying director of men’s classic clothing at Saks Fifth Avenue, Araque developed a love for tailored clothing, having worked closely with the houses of Kiton, Isaia, Canali and Ermenegildo Zegna, among others. “I simply fell in love with the artisanship of suits during my time in men’s wear. No detail was overlooked; the lapels, pockets, interiors of pants and fabrics were all thoughtfully included,” she said.
Araque sees a void in the women’s market for the well-fitted clothes and elevated service that men are accustomed to.
“When men shop for dress pants or a suit, they are put on a pedestal in the fitting room and the tailor is expected to perfect the final fit every time. The only time a woman expects this ‘step up on pedestal’ with a seamstress moment is wedding dress shopping. I think women deserve this experience a bit more often than just our wedding day,” she said.
Q Sartorial is hybrid of made to measure and off the rack clothing. For its initial offering, which goes on sale Feb. 16, she is offering a women’s sport jacket and two different pairs of pants. The jackets are unfinished and have no front lapel buttons so they can be added based on a woman’s chest. In addition, the sleeves are unfinished and button placement can be done afterward. Finally, the pants are unhemmed and can be measured to be worn with flats or high heels.
Four-season weight fabrics are being offered that are traditional but have a touch of personality with pop linings in fuchsia and powder blue and other details. There is a focus on super 100-130 wools, which are dominant in men’s suiting.
The size range is 0 to 24. “Women’s bodies are not one size fits all. We have built a great starting point for our sizing, and by intentionally leaving some details unfinished, such as button holes, pant hems and sleeves, we can achieve the optimal fit during the tailoring process,” she explained.
The required alterations are included in the pricing. While the garments are being made in Indonesia, Araque has partnered with a local New York tailor who will finish the garment within seven days.
Q Sartorial will launch with a stand-alone pop-up model in various cities. The first one will open at the Roger Smith Hotel at 501 Lexington Avenue and 47th Street in New York on Feb. 16. The 450-square-foot shop will stay open until March 29.
Future cities for a Q Sartorial pop-up include Philadelphia, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Denver, Boston and Chicago. The company is gearing up for an e-commerce launch by the end of this year. When that occurs, Q Sartorial will use a 3-D body scan and a series of questions, and will execute the alternations prior to shipping to the customer. Araque said her business is self-financed.
For the first delivery, there is one sport coat being offered in three different fabrics (black wool, gray plaid and a mini-houndstooth), that retails for $495. Pants — offered two ways, with a straight leg and a skinny fit — are $195.
Araque is gearing these clothes to women who work in finance and law. “She wants something that’s going to be timeless and lasts behind the trend,” she said. The jacket is tailored to the body with two buttons and a peak lapel. The pants have a button tab front, piping detail, two zippered hidden pockets on the front waistband, and two welt pockets on the back.
For its second delivery in May, Araque will lighten the wool fabrics. Ultimately, she’d like to open stores.
Q Sartorial will use a technology based platform that does 3-D body scans to aggregate measurements and provide tailoring recommendations and insights. “We realize these measurements can have a major effect on our future pattern making to create a product that truly represents the women of today,” she said.
Araque said she is starting with suit separates and will eventually add dress shirts, skirts and top coats. She is working with Stateless Fashion Design and Consulting, a group of freelance designers, on the design, development and production of the line.