By Jefferey Spivey
Bespoke tailoring, which dates back as far as the 18th century, has long been associated with society’s upper echelon. At one point in time, only the wealthiest men could afford custom suits, leaving the rest of the crowd to shop off-the-rack. But thanks to Damari Savile, bespoke suiting is now a viable option for the men of Philadelphia.
Founded by Philadelphia Eagles Safety Malcolm Jenkins and entrepreneur Jay Amin, Damari Savile offers made-to-measure and ready-to-wear suits that are stylistically timeless and tailored to perfection. The name is a combination of Jenkins’ middle name and Savile Row, the historical men’s fashion district in Amin’s hometown, London.
The 3,000-square-foot space came to fruition quickly. Jenkins and Amin first met in January 2017. Damari Savile was up and running just four months later.
“Once we identified that there was definitely a need, and we had the keys to deliver a solution, we just jumped in,” Amin said. He also credits Jenkins’ involvement for how quickly things moved along. “It was off-season for Malcom. So, he had more time then. He spent a lot of time in the store, and helped build out the store. It made things a lot easier.”
Damari Savile is located in Washington Square Park, an area of the city that’s a bit off the beaten path for shoppers. Amin and Jenkins designed the space with this in mind. The storefront has a whiskey cellar, conference room, and kitchen on site.
“We wanted to make it welcoming. It’s a destination where people can relax,” Amin added. “It’s a way to show our appreciation. They can ask as many questions as they want, watch a football game if they want, have a cocktail if they want.” But the elevated “barbershop” feel isn’t the only thing that sets Damari Savile apart from its suiting industry competition.
“We didn’t invent the suit. What really differentiates us is we have Malcolm and we have me. People tend to really like us. We genuinely care about the way we make people feel,” Amin said.
To some, opening a bespoke suiting space might seem a bit risky given the current retail climate. Many shoppers are driven by value and are gravitating toward fast fashion retailers or online shopping. And those retailers who can’t keep up the pace are subject to declining sales and store closures. But Amin believes it’s this very culture that created the Damari Savile customer.
Both Amin and Jenkins had trouble finding suiting that worked.
“Nobody was able to get the fit down right. After multiple attempts and alterations, the process and experience became less and less enjoyable,” Amin said. Jenkins had difficulty finding ready-made suits that could fit an athlete’s physique. Given his public visibility, and he and wife Morrisa’s penchant for great style, this was a problem that needed to be solved.
Amin and Jenkins soon realized there was a bigger customer base out there experiencing the same frustrations. But they had the answer to the problem.
“The ultimate solution is taking the time to invest in yourself,” Amin said. He points to Philadelphia’s recent rise in average income as proof that the local male shopper is willing to spend more for quality clothing. And once they do, it’ll change the way they shop. “It’s like Pringles. Once you pop, you can’t stop. It’s difficult to go back to an off-the-rack suit.”
Looking ahead, Amin says the Damari Savile team is focused on delivering the best possible experience for its local customers, but expansion is one of the goals. With Jenkins’ presence in other cities, there’s an opportunity to repeat what they’ve accomplished in Philadelphia.
Surely, men all over the country could benefit from a little Damari Savile style.
You can find out more about the storefront and suiting selection at damarisavile.com. And you can visit the shop in person at 709 Walnut Street.