A stylish conversation with Christopher Korey - Co-Founder of Christopher Korey Collective New York
September 12, 2019
Dear readers, the term ‘Power dressing’ was pretty popular during the late 80s, in particular the world of menswear, either it’s classic or fashion-forward designer brands, big shoulder blazer which fits the inverted triangle body shape, matches with a pair of carrot-cut dress trousers, sometimes with a straight collar dress shirt and a colorful necktie, or, with a crewneck white tee, this look seems pretty much represents the fashionable look back then, while for the man himself, is usually with a robust, well-built masculine figure in a neat parting hairdo, I guess that pretty much describe the days that I first made my footstep into the men’s high fashion world during my early career days; fast forward few decades later with much changes in the scene of menswear nowadays, that’s one thing that I still appreciate about ‘Power dressing’, is how much it represents one’s prestige, professionalism, sharpness and of course, style; and in my mind, there’s always a name that fulfills those qualities of ‘Power dressing’, yet, in a much modern and luxurious interpretation, and that is Mr. Christopher Korey, Co-Founder of his very own luxurious men’s tailoring label – Christopher Korey Collective New York, and, his own Private Realty firm, CK Private Realty.
I guess my first encounter with Christopher’s work is through social media, which the gentleman always reveals his sharpest and stylish self all the time in an impeccably tailored suit, either it’s a 2-piece suit in pinstripe executive silhouette, or a 3-piece suit in aristocratic ivory white, Christopher always looks sharp, stylish and sophisticated along with his neat hairdo and killer sunglasses, a perfect example of ‘Power dressing’ but in a very modern way, featuring himself in a structured shoulder jacket with a slender cut that fits to his inverted triangle body figure, always keeping himself in good shape and stay fit, which makes him one of the most stylish and alluring man in our time. As a busy businessman on both his refined menswear brand and private realty company, I am truly thrilled to invite Christopher as our guest this time, to have a talk with us about his work and passion about luxurious menswear and lifestyle.
My Modern Darcy: Hi Christopher, thanks for being here with us this time, so first thing first, how was your summer holiday?
Christopher Korey: It was like life these days.......going by too fast but beautiful at the same time. I hope yours was amazing.
MMD: I truly fond of your style and energy that brings to the world, can you tell us about what makes you to do menswear (or men’s tailoring in particular)? How does it come about?
CK: Truly humbled and honored beyond words. Thank you so much.
It just sort of evolved on its own. I had been styling my real estate clients for many years and it just took on a life of its own.
It was really born out of the love and passion of what I could not find out in the marketplace. That being the style I felt made people look better, quality and fit. So I partnered up with my good friend and tailor Carl and we developed what we felt was needed in the market. The highest quality and style at the best price.
MMD: Your namesake tailoring label, ‘Christopher Korey Collective New York’, which you basically featured yourself as the look of the brand, can you elaborate more about what’s the style or silhouette of ‘Christopher Korey Collective’?
CK: It’s largely based on old Hollywood but with a much more modern fit. If you look at the glamour and style of old Hollywood and if you saw those people walking around today, they would look just as good as they did 50, 60 and 70 years ago. As a society we have gotten away from grace and glamour. Men and women no longer look their best they just look like everyone else. We are trying to bring back some of what made that era and that look special. It’s really just about making everyone the best version of themselves and being the star of their own movie which is their life.
MMD: how do you define a good piece of men’s tailoring clothing? From suiting, to shirts or even neckwear?
CK: It all starts with fit, then it moves to cloth and then moves to colors that flatter the individual. If you can get a handle on all the above you can develop a curated wardrobe of high-quality that truly expresses who you are.
MMD: In your luxury menswear journey, can you tell us about what is the most memorable to you? And what are the challenges that you have faced before and overcome them?
CK: I guess it would be when I was a child and seeing the incredible style around New York City which is where I grew up. During that time, men look like men and women look like women and they all looked fantastic.
The challenge has been to make people see that that can still be the case today and that yoga pants aren’t evening wear. We have gotten lazy as a society and people are more interested in being comfortable while texting on their phone then they are looking good and interacting with other people in a human way.
MMD: It seems you are doing both tailoring (by private appointment) and soon ready to wear, how would you foresee your menswear collection headed in near future? Tailoring / trunk shows or ready to wear?
CK: I think it will be a combination of both but will take it one step at a time. The ready-to-wear collection will mimic our bespoke creations in that it will be the highest quality and fit. It was really born out of the fact that not everybody can make it here to New York and we have a lot of demand globally. This way everybody can participate in the experience and not have to jump on a plane to do so.
At the beginning of next year we will be doing trunk shows around the world. While it will be exhausting it will also be exciting to meet our clients who desperately want to see us and don’t have the chance. We are very much looking forward to it.
MMD: ‘Multi-tasking’ seems like what you are dealing almost in daily basis, as a businessman managing your own luxury menswear brand, private realty business, as well as snapping photos to your social media pages, how did you manage your work-life balance?
CK: I won’t BS you....... it’s exhausting. That being said I have no complaints, if building your dream is your biggest problem you’re doing OK. While it can be very taxing it’s amazing how fast the day goes by when you were doing what you love.
MMD: you always manage to keep yourself in good shape, do you have any secrets that can share? From exercising to dieting?
CK: you are very kind, thank you so much. I just try to do the best I can at the age I am now. It becomes much harder as you get older but what I have found is that as with most things in life less is more. Stick to the basics and don’t go crazy with the ice cream and you’ll be OK. I think everyone is different with different body types, ages, metabolism and genetics. So not one model fits everyone just like bespoke suiting you have to tailor it to you.
For myself it’s much like my wardrobe. Try to keep it classic. Full body workouts 2 or maybe 3 days a week and keep it short and sweet.
MMD: As Fall Winter season is ahead, can you share with us what is your pick for this new season? From fabrics to color and pattern etc.?
CK: Regardless of the season, I always feel like you should have a mix of things in your wardrobe because you’ll never know ahead of time what mood you’ll be in the next day. A well curated mix of classics and more bold pieces usually works best. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.
MMD: What are the 3 items in your wardrobe that is the most important to you? And why?
CK: A well-tailored suit, a crisp white shirt and high-quality shoes. With those three things you can do anything and go anywhere.
MMD: If someone comes to you one day and ask how they can do a successful menswear label, what is your advice?
CK: I would say keep the style authentic to you and don’t do what everyone else is doing. If it’s truly your love and passion the creativity will just flow out of you because you know what you like. Stick to that and express it to the world in a way that they have been seen before. The new, be different and be you.
Special thanks to Mr. Christopher Korey
Image courtesy of Christopher Korey Collective New York