“Harlem on the rise…” This is certain for our very own New Yorker Guy Wood Jr., Creative Director for Harlem Haberdashery’s Billionaire NY; a Men’s Bespoke Bridal and Formal attire brand. When you approach the steps to Harlem Haberdashery, a double ‘H’ logo is seen, heraldic in detail and prepares the visitor with a ‘coat of arms’ sense. With deliberate accuracy, you walk into a space reminiscent of a regal home. Vintage items that take you back in time to an era where everything was fine. Fine china, fine jewelry, fine art and fine looking folk. Rare collectables that never depreciate furnish the room. Nostalgic photos of old Harlem deck the walls as well as photos that stir up pride like Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama’s “Yes We Can” poster of women’s empowerment. Other artful expressions of Mohammed Ali and The Notorious BIG, singers past and present add to the culture in the space. The focus that creates the royal ambiance, are the family’s heritage photos, awards and acknowledgements captured in ornate picture frames adorned along the walls and across a dinner table among the family’s branded bespoke rum. Yes! A bar, tufted leather seating and light R&B music are yours to enjoy while considering any number of product offered in the boutique. It made me want to have a seat in the riveted velvet chaise, light a Hemingway cigar and sip on some of their rum. This boutique is intentional for enjoyment and shopping. The Harlem Haberdashery welcomes you to a piece of their family’s home and a legacy clearly established.
There is a known history of creativity that comes from the family name Wood. Since Guy Wood Sr. started 5001 Flavors servicing celebrities and local Harlemites, the couturier, designer and celebrity stylist has humbly sustained his name and reputation for nearly 30 years. Guy Sr. was diligent in passing all his vision and knowledge in tailoring and fashion design onto his son who “loved dressing up”. He then sent his son to school to acquire his business degree. His son has literally taken the reigns and reign he will. Guy Jr. proudly shares that his father denotes inspiration. “He is a daily reminder that anything you set your mind to is possible”. Since Guy Jr. has started Billionaire NY, in 2014, the elevated Men’s brand catered to glamorous suits for birthdays, proms and gala events. When groomsmen started looking for a custom look for their wedding, this sent Guy Jr. on a course where passion and purpose met. In his third year as a bespoke bridal designer, the success in the bridal area alone has proven his worth in the Bridal market. As the family continues to brand themselves under Harlem Haberdashery, you are served with high-end Men’s clothing, a vignette collection in Women’s wear, designer accessories, rum, scented candles and Men’s bespoke bridal.
“Not all tuxedos are created equal,” says Guy Wood Jr. The Billionaire NY bridal customers are much like brides where they are interested in a traditional, classic yet unique look that “speaks to” their personality. “Bespoke” is how this process is described; a piece tailor-made to the specifics not only to a groom’s physical measurements but his persona. These traditional tuxedos appear to be traditional at first glance. Yet they feature details that surpass the basic tuxedo. My husband, Troy Blake, a classic man, and bespoke consumer touched and examined the pieces as we toured the boutique. The fabrics offered range from a bridal satin with a smooth finish to textures so subtle it’s unassuming. He hardly noticed until I pointed out the detail.
Then there’s the look that has everyone awestruck at the wedding. However, it is not just the bride alone. Her husband now is seen in white Damask, shawl-collared tux adorned with crystals. This exact tuxedo is featured in the photos and remains in high demand. Deciding the look for this day is where, I believe, the first sign of equity between husband and wife should happen. They can now share in the joy of walking in confidence and beauty on their biggest day. Billionaire NY offers these special looks for wedding receptions, prom, after-party or any formal event for the gentleman who isn’t afraid to shine; literally. When I asked my husband would he consider “bling” for our big wedding celebration next Fall, he says, “For me, bling only goes on my accessories”. We all laughed.
With my design background, I was excited to see and share with my husband fabric terms like silk satins, silk velvets, lame, lurex jacquards all solid, tonal, iridescent or embroidered. The colors remain classic until Guy Jr. himself, outfitted in a handsome rose-colored suit says, “my grooms love color”. They also construct shirts and ties to further complete the customized look. The prices start at $1,500 and increase with add-ons such as embroidery and embellishment. The process is made simple and informative so men can make an easy commitment to his big day. While social media is the marketing machine, customers are drawn by the impactful imagery. A consult in person, over the web or simply by phone, brings the customer together with Guy Jr. ideally 6 months to 1 year from the week of the wedding. As the styling possibilities are considered, fabrics and fit are discussed, the uneasy and uncertainty fades. Guy Jr. now has a client who he has personally connected with. This connection process, more often than not, leads to Guy Jr. attending the weddings of his clients. This speaks to the commitment of meeting a customer’s needs as well as the intimate experience necessary for comfort for such a personal investment.
Guy Wood Jr., much like his father Guy Wood Sr., knows how to elevate a man’s idea of himself by simply creating a vision of excellence that any man can agree to. As described by Guy Jr., the Billionaire NY man is a “Young professional in his 30’s, aspiring in his career. He knows his wedding is his day too. It is his bride’s day but he’s here to step up and meet her instead of being behind her. He’s ready to stand right next to her to join as one”. Anyone getting married is already counting the cost and is arrested by stress. To know that no matter the distance, no matter the process, no matter the size, no matter the budget, you will have invested in Guy Wood Jr. who will work with you, plan with you and ensure you confidently invest in yourself.
For more information on Billionaire NY visit www.billionairenewyork.com and be sure to mention WORLD BRIDE MAGAZINE.