Kendall Khanna and Desmond Brooks were mulling over that terrifying and age-old question “What are you going to do with your life?” when they came up with what eventually would be Shopboy. The tailoring outfit, whose Tribeca storefront opens early this October at 62 Walker, combines Brooks’ ten years in the fashion business with Khanna’s bold enthusiasm for risk-taking. (If you’re going to make moves, after all, you might as well make big ones.)
To kick off this couple’s new venture, you can find them starting September 8 at SIXTY Soho as part of a NYFW pop-up that runs through the end of the month. Shopboy will hold court in the Gordon Bar, where new clients are invited to bring clothes that need a nip here and a tuck there. What better place to start transforming your look than perched on a velvet couch, drink in hand, while your wardrobe is transformed into a more perfect version of itself? That’s the idea behind Shopboy: making the fitting experience less of a rushed errand and more of a sit-back-and-relax kind of luxury.
Below, we talk to Khanna and Brooks about Italian cinema, frozen margaritas, and where to find the highest density of well-dressed people in all of New York City.
Where are you from?
Kendall Khanna: Littleton, Colorado
Desmond Brooks: From beautiful Fresno, California.
How long have you been in New York?
Khanna: Three years.
Brooks: Five years.
Favorite neighborhood in NYC and why:
Khanna: LES. I love the eclectic vibe and diverse crowd you get down there! Every time I go, I always have so much fun and I love that people can be who they are. There’s also some great shopping, especially if you’re looking for independent designers and unique stuff.
Brooks: LES, because you can let your hair down.
For the uninitiated, what is Shopboy exactly?
Brooks: Having worked in fashion for the last ten years or so, the most common question I get asked is: Do you know a good tailor? It’s always been my dream to curate my own environment where this idea of fashion, luxury, art, and hospitality come together to create an experience for people, while also providing a useful service. Helping people look and feel their very best is the reason I began working in the fashion industry in the first place.
Tell us a bit about your NYFW pop-up at SIXTY Soho.
Khanna: The Shopboy pop-up is going to be a tailoring shop with a tailor working on site. Customers will come in and we’ll greet them, offer them a scotch (or coffee or tea or water), and talk to them about their tailoring needs, whether it be for a couple of garments they brought in or about their whole wardrobe and what they may need to complete it. The customer will put on whatever they brought in, have it fit by the tailor, and will then come back to pick it up. For us, as a brand that is inspired by hospitality and by the opportunity to offer another relevant aspect to this lifestyle, we really are thrilled to have our first pop-up in a place like SIXTY that aligns with our brand.
Song that’s likely playing when you’re working:
Khanna: Anything from the Drake Take Care album.
Brooks: Migos “Bad and Boujee.”
What’s the difference between good tailoring and bad tailoring?
Khanna: The difference between bad and good tailoring is how many times you have to go back to get it fixed until it’s good. If the tailor is good, it should be done right the first time. It’s a lot more time and money to make something look good if the tailor is bad.
Brooks: Looking good and looking bad.
Most well-tailored man/woman of all time:
Brooks: Dickie Greenleaf and Coco Chanel.
Neighborhood in NYC with the highest density of well-dressed people:
Designer who inspires your own work:
Khanna: Alessandro Michele, the creative director for Gucci. It’s so inspiring to watch people take big risks, especially in such a traditional industry as luxury fashion and with such a storied brand as Gucci. Michele’s ability to create a revolution in a billion dollar brand and essentially redefine what luxury fashion can be has been amazing to watch, especially as it’s effected everyday street wear. As we aim to redefine the tailoring industry, Michele will continue to be a reminder that by taking risks and engaging the younger generations, you can redefine a stagnant industry.
Brooks: Miuccia Prada. She’s always trying to disrupt this idea of what luxury is.
Film we should watch to pull some fashion inspiration from and why:
Khanna: The Talented Mr. Ripley because it’s an amazing depiction of how your style can express your personality, where you come from, your current mood, outlook on life, etc. You could watch this whole movie without any sound and understand the character’s personalities and how they develop just by looking at their wardrobe and changes throughout.
Brooks: Le Grande Bellezza (The Great Beauty). Every frame of that movie is fashion inspiration, whether it’s the architecture, lighting, or actual wardrobes.
Three favorite clothing stores in NYC:
Khanna: Dover Street Market for inspiration in style and to make enough money to really shop there. Reformation for simple, great pieces. Tictail Market for unique pieces from emerging artists and designers.
Perfect day in NYC for you, from start to finish:
Khanna: I would wake up with Desmond, we’d go for a run on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade and then get a triple shot iced cappuccino. We’d go home and make a big breakfast and watch whatever soccer game was playing, probably Dortmund or Man U. Then we would head to Soho and stroll around, popping in and out of some stores and then make our way over to the Lower East Side, first to Spitzer’s because they have the best sour beers, my recent obsession! Then we’d meet up with whichever friends are around and hopefully end up with a big group of people and head to Pianos for some good music and the best frozen margaritas. Then we would head back to Brooklyn Heights with a few close friends and I’d cook dinner, probably tacos with lots of guacamole and more margaritas, and hang out on our rooftop the rest of the night.
Why people should come see you at SIXTY Soho:
Khanna: Everyone needs a good tailor in New York City! We’re going to give you that, a good glass of scotch, and an all-around amazing experience on top of it.
Brooks: Because we’ll have cookies and scotch. What else do you need?