Men in Cities: A Passion for Fine Details

Men in Cities

Courtesy of Men in Cities

“I want to find the guy that steps out from the masses. He randomly speaks japanese or just got back from a horse trip in Mongolia. It’s the little details that separate him from the masses. Those are the Men in Cities.”

That is how ‘Men in Cities’ founder Yuvi Alpert described his target customer to us while hanging out in his SoHo showroom. The 30-year-old, L.A. native is the kind of guy you want to kick back with, have a couple drinks and just chill — but don’t like his relaxed demeanor fool you. This designer has years of experience under his belt ranging from bead making in Indonesia to becoming a part of the CFDA Incubator.

We sat down with the man of the hour to discuss his foray into the industry, the CFDA experience and how this lifestyle brand encompasses a passion for fine details.


Wingtip Jungle: You went for International Finance in college, but your first line was making jewelry — what got you into that?


Yuvi Alpert: I’ve always been a creative type and actually made my first piece when I was a freshman in college. I had an idea for a necklace so I made it for a bunch of kids at school and I guess they thought I was a designer after because a store in Miami reached out to me asking to see more of my stuff. So I started making jewelry for them.

After traveling through most of South America and East Asia for 13 months after college, I decided I want to live in New York. Everything happened organically. I thought there could be an interesting opportunity to create fine jewelry that is wearable every day. My first line [Ruby Kobo] was picked up by Bergdorf’s and that leveraged us into Fred Segal and other great stores which then got us into the CFDA Incubator program.


Men in Cities

Courtesy of Men in Cities


WTJ: What was that experience like?


Alpert: It was incredible! I didn’t know anything about the fashion world at that time and the cool thing about the program is it’s like a business school. They don’t get involved in your design or the creative stuff, but they give you everything else you need to create a successful business. It helped me realize what kind of brand and business I wanted to build.


WTJ: Did you meet some awesome people through that program?


Alpert: I think the nicest thing for me was that you’re surrounded by all these designers — my class had Prabal Gurung and Public School — who are all just passionate about design and want to tell their own story. It really felt like a family and now I have these relationships with all these great people who have made it.

The whole Men in Cities started as more of a selfish reason. I had just moved to New York and there were certain things I needed but didn’t want to go shopping at Barney’s and Bergdorf’s to get them. I’m someone who appreciates good design and quality, so it was kind of a challenge to find what I wanted — so I decided to make stuff I would wear and that I knew other guys would choose as well.

I wanted this brand to be built on a passion for details, but could also offer a good design at an accessible price. We’re not a discount brand, but there’s definitely a value to it. It’s really just about showing men that details can be easy. So I named it “Men in Cities” because that was me and those were the guys I was going after.


WTJ: What was the takeoff like from there?


Alpert: I didn’t know much about web design, but I made a crappy website and put some stuff up on there. Early on we got to work with a great Japanese brand that opened up a way to really test the market and we learned a lot from that. So we expanded from there and now we are a range of useful items for men who travel, work, study and play that all goes back to a passion for details.


Men in Cities bracelet

Courtesy of Men in Cities


WTJ: We saw you just did a collaboration with J.Crew, how did that come about?


Alpert: Honestly, I just cold emailed some of the top people. I sent Frank [Muytjens] an email and he responded within nine minutes and I met him three days later. It was really cool seeing how they responded to our brand.


WTJ:  What would you say your target audience looks like?


Alpert: Men in cities. [laughs] They’re like 22-36 and very creative. So anything from writers, to working at digital agency or a graphic designer. But they’re the guys who appreciate the little details that separate our pieces from everything else. So we really position ourself so we could reach that Barney’s consumer, but also the college student.


WTJ: So what’s the idea behind your different kits?


Alpert: I wanted to figure out something that would be easy to merchandise, so people really get who we are. I don’t just want to be a fashion store, I want to be a home store or be a brand that women turn to when they want to get something for their guy — you know, since we are so hard to buy for. So they’re really set up for the guy who likes Tokyo or live in New York.


Men in Cities

Courtesy of Men in Cities


WTJ: Do you create a lot of the materials you use?


Alpert: We actually create our own beads. I got invited to go to Singapore a couple years ago with Timo Weiland. So I went to Indonesia while I was there and went on an adventure to find this little factory and learned the process of how they were made. It’s great because we can do our own colors and change it up every season.


WTJ: What inspires your brand?


Alpert: I think it’s really the everyday guy — not some celebrity. It could be a lawyer, a writer or whatever, but just everyday men who are doing something creative. I want to be able to expose the Men in Cities brand to them and make them the rockstars. Basically that cool guy you want to grow up to be when you’re younger.


Men in Cities

Courtesy of Men in Cities


WTJ: How important is social media to your brand?


Alpert: I think it’s so important and something we really to focus on. We’re not super strategic with our Instagram — it’s not even really product directed — just mainly stuff that relate to me. I want to grow to a place where if you need a table, someone would think, “Where would ‘Men in Cities’ buy a table.” I want to be a lifestyle brand known for great taste.


WTJ: You have accessories down, do you think you’ll ever break into RTW?


Alpert: Probably not. I want this to be a place that I want for myself. For example I made this meditation chair, it may not have a lot of buyers, but it allows me to express myself. So I won’t say, “I will do that” or “I won’t do that,” but it depends on what I’m interested in making that I would use myself.

Men in Cities jumprope

Courtesy of Men in Cities

To find out more about ‘Men in Cities’ and to get your hands on some of their awesome products, head over to their website here. (And to make the deal a little sweeter, we snagged an exclusive discount to get you $10 your purchase of $50 or more. Just enter the code “PKSTYLE” at checkout!)

–John Soper

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