In the past few weeks leading up to the SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS, we have presented you with an exciting lineup of yachts, classic cars and luxury lifestyle options that are sure to be a treat for all. One such partner who is bringing the party to Raffles Marina is DEBONEIRE but in the area of sartorial elegance for men. Yes, we really do have something for everyone.
Owned and managed by Matthew Gideon (above, wearing his own work), the ready-to-wear and bespoke fashion line is gearing up for its very own fashion show on Saturday at the SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS. Started up in 2015, the label provides unique suits for the man who values his individuality and is not afraid to express it through his sense of style. We meet with Matthew to find out more about the brand and what he has up his sleeves (no pun intended) for guests at the SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS.
Could you tell us about DEBONEIRE and how you came up with the concept of providing bespoke tailoring services?
DEBONEIRE was originally a ready-to-wear menswear label, the bespoke element came as part of a natural progression. Classic men’s couture will never go out of style. The classic style that has defined menswear for decades is still as dashing as ever, so we kept what is good and made it better. For both our ready-to-wear collections and bespoke services, you will find things like pick stitching, functional sleeve buttons (also called surgeons cuffs), and even Milanese buttonholes – which is rarity these days- that showcase highly skilled craftsmanship. These are some key elements that true sartorial sophisticates pay attention to that are coupled with uniquely woven fabrics and bold colors, all while staying within the universe of elegance.
We decided to make bespoke a house-call service as part of providing convenience to the customer, an element of “modern luxury”. People want things fast these days, so much so that the fashion industry is almost forced to adopt the see-now-buy-now business model. As part of our effort to meet demand, we’ve managed to achieve a two-week timeframe to construct and deliver fully canvassed and handmade bespoke suits. Most other brands and tailors take an average of two months.
Why did you choose a name such as DEBONEIRE?
I wanted the name to be instantly recognizable, that when people hear of it they will know exactly what we are about. The name DEBONEIRE is constructed from De Bon Eire, a nod to the French meaning, ‘of good heir’. DEBONEIRE’s logo, the Paradise Riflebird, is a rare bird-of-paradise with enviable plumage, and (the epitome) of a man who is indeed debonair.
Is there a particular fabric that the brand is known for using in the suits?
I am a huge fan of velvet and jacquard fabrics (seen above on Matthew), and these are what our customers return to us for. We develop our own fabrics, that’s very important for our customer. They don’t want to come to us and spend this much and see that exact same fabric elsewhere.
Why is DEBONEIRE an online store and not a physical one?
We’re known for being exclusive, and we decide where we are sold. We were stocked at Takashimaya for the past year and a half, whose support I am thankful for, especially for an all-new brand like us. However, we recently made the decision to move out, in preparation for bigger plans. Having an online store also allows us to connect with, and serve customers beyond our shores. We offer complimentary shipping to over 20 countries worldwide.
Are there any difficulties you face with running an online store since several fittings are required to get the perfect fit?
Thankfully, our customers are familiar with the process of shopping online. The savvy ones already know their size, and we haven’t had any trouble so far. We have a free-returns policy which hasn’t been utilized because everything fits our customers perfectly — something most customers are pleasantly surprised to discover. Alterations, if necessary, are minimal. We also have a comprehensive size chart, for good measure. (Pun intended)
Does your background as a software engineer influence your work ethic and approach to your business?
I’ve never really thought about this, but yes I do think so. Software engineering has instilled in me the discipline of coming up with multiple methods to go about a task. Computers don’t have the human ability to rationalize on their own, and the programmer needs to define how an app responds in accordance to the many different ways an end-user navigates. Graphic design was also one of the modules I took, and I can’t begin to describe how much the business depends on it, since fashion is very visual.
How has your business evolved over the years since you started out customizing hoodies for yourself?
I started out wanting to design a streetwear label, back when #OOTD was a thing, and sites like LookBook.nu were huge. But as I understood the business better, and after much consideration during my time in National Service, I decided I wanted to build something I would be proud to stand for in the long run. I definitely didn’t see myself wearing hoodies when I’m 30.
DEBONIERE is set to showcase its designs at the SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS with a fashion show. What do you think of the event and what do you hope that guests can enjoy from it?
I’m excited! I’ve been following China Rendezvous and making plans to visit, so I was thrilled to learn that it’s now in Singapore. I knew I had to be part of it. Singapore has been known as Asia’s most prosperous state, for being tiny yet rich and dynamic. SINGAPORE RENDEZVOUS is the epitome of that. Our customers indulge in various luxury pursuits, from collecting luxury watches, to cars, and even ownership of thoroughbreds. I hope this event will help guests to experience and enjoy the lifestyle of the DEBONEIRE Man.