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Alan See

Alan See

In 2010, Alan See co-founded The Armoury, a stylish boutique stocking men’s apparel and accessories referencing his and (business partner) Mark Cho’s wardrobes. Hidden in the heart of Central, the exquisite store is for the debonair gent looking for classic elegance, not swayed easily by transient trends and momentary fads. Last time we spoke, The Armoury was operating a store in New York and two in Hong Kong. See updates us: “Well, there’s a new showroom in Shanghai and we also have an exciting project called Drop 93 to help connect customers’ old wardrobes with menswear enthusiasts around the world.”

Having placed his bets on refined, enduring looks, See is aware of the mercurial changes that occur in fashion. “There will always be changes in the market for fashion, but the classic suit will always be here to stay, especially in the financial centre of Hong Kong. Classic menswear and tailoring was something we felt passionate about, and we built something that we felt was much needed in the industry eight years ago – we wanted to build something that would stand as protest to the quick and disposable fashion trend at the time. We also wanted to bring a lot of the craftsmen back under the spotlight and give them the appreciation that they deserve, especially classic tailoring, which really belongs in people’s minds and wardrobes.”

See wasn’t always in the sartorial business. He started off in electrical engineering and ended up with an economics degree instead. “I wish I retained more of my knowledge from college,” he says over a hot cuppa. “But really, my brain is filled up with useless information about cloth, milling techniques and other menswear facts that don’t always make for good conversation or intellectual repartee.”

As we walk to his Central establishment, we pass several designer monogram stores, billboards promoting internationally recognised labels and hoardings showing advertisements for Italian counterparts — so we had to ask whether other brands are competitors or contemporaries. “There are so many amazing fashion brands out there and ones that are especially relevant by being the voice of the people. Fashion and style are simply a language of oneself and there cannot just be one way of expressing oneself!”

So who is that non-flashy customer of The Armoury? “Well, we get a huge range of customers, from businessmen and bankers to retirees,” says See. “We present a common thread and have built a community of sharing across borders, I hope. We’ve had some great word of mouth and traction over social media, online and through our fans worldwide. There’s no shortage of travellers coming through Hong Kong, popping by The Armoury and visiting their favourite menswear shop at the same time.”

See is a fine advertisement for the menswear store, always immaculately dressed and a gentleman at heart. When told by our stylist that he’s the most dapper man in town, he shirks the compliment quickly: “I’m not sure about most dapper — but we started this business because of our love of classic menswear. I’ve had the great opportunity of meeting the best tailors and working with artisans all around the world from our wish list. Over time, The Armoury has gone on to incorporate more and more of all our team’s tastes. It is more of The Armoury being the product of our love of menswear and being a representation of our wardrobes than the other way around really!”

Well, Mr See, what’s next? “Create new and revolutionary ideas — but always with The Armoury as base.”


Suit: Liverano

Shirt: The Armoury

Bow tie and pocket square: Drake’s


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