Sometimes when you feel like the touch is starting to give up, you try to keep it. You try to hold on even when The other has started to say I’m done. Walking around downtown Toronto I walked passed by this chalk graffiti beside the royal Ontario museum. People around told me someone has just proposed earlier. I then realized I was stepping on someones sweetest memory. After my realization I started to feel something in me. I started to feel happy that until now people believe in fairytale like happiness. Until now people still believe in Destiny and until now people believe in great love. #deepthoughts #love #willyoumarryme #lovetoronto #goodnight (at Royal Ontario Museum)
The talented @Sophieserafino wearing a gold and black dress from @_narces and stunning earrings from @stylistbox (at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto)
Accessories have always been a part of fashion, and women always have the wider range of choices when it comes to accessories. During Toronto Men’s Fashion Week I stumbled upon an accessory that men have but this time turned playful. Yes, as you might have guessed I’m talking about Cufflinks. I always had the fascination of cufflinks and how men wear them, although I personally still need to master the craft of wearing cufflinks. I had the opportunity to talk with the owner and founder of Cuffwear, Chris Zownir to have a mini peek into the process of how to make such a simple piece of accessory quite a statement.
J: How did this concept/company started, and why?
Chris: I started in the spring of 2005, and at that time I was working on Bay Street. I had been working in Bay Street for 10 years and I wanted to try something new personally and wanted to get into something creative and something I was more passionate about. I started this really as a side business to show creativity but also saw a business opportunity because no one in Toronto was making fun, fashionable, affordable and stylish cufflinks. You either have the really cheap ones or you have the really expensive ones, there’s nothing really in between. I’m a cufflink guy, (I enjoy wearing cufflinks) and I found it hard to find them. So there was a personal interest and a passion that I had for cufflinks and fashion and then there was the business opportunity I saw in terms of the increase of online shopping as well as the need for this type of product in the Canadian market. So I saw those things and founded the company in 2005.
J: and doing well,
Chris: Yes it is. Basically we have three components to our business, we have online sales through our website cuffwear.com, we distribute to retail stores such as Gotstyle, The Coop, Rolo,… and in addition to that we make custom corporate cufflinks which is a big part of our business. We’ve done custom cufflinks for some of the big hotels like Mandalay Bay, MGM, Cosmopolitan, and also Facebook, Google, Acura, Mazda, Bell Canada, St Georges Golf Club, and so we have a wide variety of Corporate clients. Those are three components that make up the whole business. We just added a fourth which is our new automated retail machines, you can now buy our cufflinks from an automated machine, I’m really excited about this project!
J: so you guys are expanding not just in Canada but also in the U.S.
Chris: yes, and our biggest expansion in the U.S. is with U.S. college cufflinks. We sell custom Collegiate Cufflinks into the bookstores, right now we’re in about 80 U.S. schools and some of the big ones like Harvard, Yale, Texas A&M, M.I.T and thats fairly recent it’s just this year we started doing that. We just launched a Magnetic cufflink, which I showed you ( at Toronto Men’s Fashion Week) which really opens up the door to an extended market because not everyone likes to wear french cuffs and cufflinks. I’m a die-hard, French cuff-shirt guy and I’m not trying to convert French cuff’s into regular cuff guys because I still believe there’s a bigger opportunity to get more people wearing cufflinks. What I see is an opportunity for those who have a lot of shirts that aren’t French cuffs, it opens up the door for those people to have decoration.
J: So aside from Cuff’s are you planning are you planning on expanding on other men’s accessory?
Chris: We just started making pocket squares, so we call the line Pocketwear, we just started doing that and we showed them at TOM*(Toronto Mens Fashion Week) and all of these are made in Canada.
J: Price range? Because you know almost a lot of things made in Canada are quite expensive.
Chris: The pocket squares that are made in Canada are anywhere between $40-$60 dollars. I don’t know if Mid market is the word to use but we want to have our pocket squares in the market where people can collect them same as the cufflinks. At that price point we want people to have large selection, we want them to collect them, we don’t want to price them out.
J: So basically, you are in the point where you are affordable but at the same time quite exclusive.
J: Where do you get your inspirations for the designs?
Chris: I have a couple of designers in Hong Kong who consistently send me ideas. I get inspired just from traveling and from what I see, not just for cufflinks but for designs, for fashion. I think just everyday things, I like to incorporate a lot of playfulness in the brand. So really even if the piece itself is fairly generic we try to give it a playful name to create some light-heartedness to the brand. That’s really what it’s all about, If you say “ohh, I really like your cufflinks” “this one’s called crystal blue” they’re not that exciting but my TurnTable ones are named “I want to be a DJ” so if someone saw it and said ” I like you cufflinks” and I say “yeah, they’re called I want to be a DJ” then you’ll smile. It’s putting emotion not just to the brand but also for the person wearing it.
J: So your cufflinks are like statement pieces.
Chris: Yes, when I’m talking to buyers and retailers I tell them these are conversation pieces. And it really does provoke conversation not just in the novelty styled ones but also the fashion ones as well. There’s enough of a pop to them to create a smile or a conversation or to get noticed without being ostentatious which I like. Understated elegance.
J: So what’s your Price range?
Chris: Most of the cufflinks are priced around $65. We have some that are a bit more higher priced but they have special features like: USB sticks which is 2 gigs per cufflinks, and we also have some simulated watch movements which are more intricate in terms of the design, those retail for about a hundred dollars a pair. At some point I want to get in a higher price point almost like a private collection, kind off like the Ralph Lauren Purple label where it’s sort of more exclusive and you have a smaller collection and a bit more limited edition. This will happen sometime next year.
J: If you were to collaborate with one designer not just in Canada who would it be? and why?
Chris: Tom Ford, I just love his sense of timeless and classic style.
J: How about in Canada?
Chris: Christopher Bates, I like the way he thinks.
J: How would you explain to someone my age about the use of cufflinks, how would you say it?
Chris: I would say it’s a way to add something extra to your outfit, it is a functional piece for a specific type of shirt but also a decorative piece that allows someone to wear something personalized to dress up their outfit. It’s also a way to self-express in a very subtle way.
Cufflinks are surely playful and thanks to Chris’ vision men can now enjoy a fashion accessory that is a statement piece at the same time practical and collectible. Now, I suggest all men to go and check out Cuffwear and check out their awesome selection of Cufflinks.
Credits: Photos: Cuffwear
Special Thanks To Chris Zownir.
What sorcery is this? #coffee #coolidea #magic #whatthehell