Q&A: Connor Lees on Denver Style
We spoke with Connor Lees, the Store Lead for our recently opened Denver location, about chambray shirts, hiking opportunities, and what makes Denver style different.
Q: How long have you been with Blank Label?
A: I started working in the Downtown Crossing location in Boston a little over two years ago. I also opened the Seaport location in Boston.
Q: How did that prepare you for opening the Denver location?
A: Getting the opportunity to set up a new store in a city where we're already established and run that independently gave me the experience I needed to come out to Denver, a brand new city for us, and take this on.
Q: How has the clientele in Denver proved different from the clientele in Boston?
A: Denver is a slightly more casual city, but it’s changing quickly and it’s growing so fast. Because of that, we're seeing a lot of people in more traditional industries and in the financial sector that are still wearing suits and formal attire every day. I will definitely say that it’s more of a sportcoat city than a full suit city. But I think that as it continues to grow you will start to see more diverse styles.
Q: What are some ways that the clientele in Denver have been the same?
A: I think there is still a desire to just feel better in clothing. Most people that come in feel a little lost shopping off the rack. In some way, they have to make a sacrifice. The one link between all clients is that they just want to be more comfortable and not walk into a store and feel like there’s nothing for them. I think men nowadays are invested in their appearance no matter what city they’re in. They’re starting to realize that it’s an important part of how they present themselves and how they feel every day.
Q: Have most clients in Denver done custom before?
A: Most people that come through the door have not done custom before. I think people are excited to have a store like this, especially downtown where they can come in from work and experience custom for the first time.
Q: Have you found any way to incorporate local makers into the Pattern Room?
A: We work with Stranahan’s and offer two styles of their whiskey in the Pattern Room. That has been really well received by clients. We also have a partnership with Tivoli brewing company, which is just down the street. They’re the oldest brewery in Denver. We offer a couple of styles of their beer to enjoy in our Pattern Room as well.
Q: Do you think style in Denver is changing in any way?
A: I think people are just more conscious of it. I think that ten years ago you would have seen a very casual city. But as it continues to grow and more industries choose to locate in Denver, people are realizing that presenting themselves professionally is important. So you are starting to see an adjustment, even if that’s just having a jacket that you can throw on to elevate a look rather than just jeans and an untucked shirt.
Q: Aside from the staples, what sort of items have been popular in Denver?
A: Texture is a huge part of what people look for. Some of the best selling items for shirts have been chambrays and oxfords—things that are a little deeper in terms of fabric. The same goes for suits. They’re not really looking for your standard flat navy and grey suits, they want something with a little depth and a little variation in the fabric so that it’s not too formal, like a nailhead or a worsted wool. They want something a bit more creative, even rugged.
Q: What are some of your favorite things to do in Denver?
A: The hiking and outdoor opportunities were some of the biggest draws for me when I moved out here. The cool thing is that you don’t have to drive more than an hour to find lots of beautiful hikes. The city itself is has a quickly growing food scene and a pretty lively music scene. There are a lot of great, small venues in the immediate downtown area—I spend a lot of nights hanging out there.