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Constantly Pushing Boundaries (INTERVIEW)

Robert Stock, Owner, Robert Graham
Sarah St.Jules
December 23rd, 2013
For many years, Robert Stock used his own name and stocked the first floor of department stores with his coveted dress shirts. In 2001, he realized there was a distinct gap in the menswear market, and joined by a resource in print design, Robert created Robert Graham. Now, his customers can shop for his impeccably designed, and fashionable creations at either his own stores, or at high end retailers. With over 40 years experience in the fashion industry, it is no wonder that Robert Graham is one of the most iconic brands in men’s fashion.

3 Questions with Robert Stock

1. How does your team generate new ideas?
First, we figure out what our theme or inspiration will be for the season. In the past, we've used island looks, architecture or resort areas. We sort of dig into those areas, and then we come up with colors or patterns. Next fall, our inspiration is New York City, which means we are using a lot of prints and architecture. We name different shirts after different locations, and just for some fun, we even have a piece called 'Bob's Hot Dogs.' All of these factors help us generate new ideas.

2. How do you identify trends? What resources does your team use to spot trends and consumer insights?
It's a lot easier now, because of the Internet, to do research. You can access different runways, or be able to look at different locations. A lot of identifying trends boils down to experience, and knowing what has worked and what hasn't. I have been in this industry for 40 years, so I have a lot of experience. Sometimes, styles that haven't worked in the past, might work now, and it's about knowing when that timeframe may happen. Some people jokingly call me a witch because of how accurately I can predict trends. It also helps to have a great memory bank and recall past work you have done.

3. Looking to the future, how will Robert Graham continue to be a leader in innovation?
We will continue to be a leader in innovation by creating capsule collections. The core Robert Graham collection will always be there, but each season we will design a capsule so we're constantly stretching boundaries. Now that we have our own stores, we have the freedom to be able to experiment, and to test to see if a product will work.