This month's 'Independent Stockist of the Month' takes us to The Modern Draper in Beverley, East Yorkshire. This charming store is the ultimate destination for contemporary and heritage menswear brands, offering exceptional garments backed up with friendly, old fashioned customer service and knowledgeable staff. We spoke to store owner, Chris Terry to find out more...

How did The Modern Draper’s story begin?

I have worked in the fashion industry for 30 years – starting with my first job at Gordon Clarks in Hull. I then moved to the famous L’Homme in Manchester which was owned by the larger-than-life Richard Creme.  After 3 years of learning about luxury menswear I decided to branch out on my own so I returned to Hull and opened 2 boutiques. This was the early 90’s, dance culture was at its height so I introduced brands such as Red or Dead, Stussy and Duffer of St George. I worked for a buyer for DesignLab in Brighton then worked for many years as Senior Account Manager for Original Penguin in London. This gave me experience of visiting many of the finest independent retailers in the country. I saw what worked and what didn’t. I saw what customers wanted and how they responded to the passion and drive of what indie retailers can offer. Eventually I knew that I could take this experience and offer our customers a fantastic edit of the best heritage and new brands around but with exceptional customer service and lots of other things such as great, ever changing selection of books, accessories, gifts and grooming products.

What do you think draws customers to your store?

All of the above really. Plus we are in a great location, have a beautifully  designed shop courtesy of our friend Mark Clifford of Cliffords Engineering and we are offering brands that customers cannot see anywhere else in the area. Lisa and I really value our customers and we will always offer that little extra such as a quick and efficient alterations service, local delivery and really great coffee. As we live so close to the shop we are also happy to open ‘out of hours’ for anyone who needs us. We want customers to feel welcome and excited by what we offer.

What is the best thing about running The Modern Draper?

Everything! We can make everyone who comes in feel really special. One of the best things is looking at a customer’s face when he’s tried on something that makes him feel amazing. Lisa likes seeing customers return to the store wearing something they have bought previously – and seeing how they have styled it. We love being part of this lovely friendly community too.

What makes Beverley your ideal location?

Lisa and I were living in London until recently but our family roots are in the Hull area. Beverley is a beautiful, thriving market town that already supports some fantastic independent retailers. People in the area are drawn to Beverley because it offers something very different to the average high street or shopping centre. When we saw the property at No 1 North Bar Within we ‘just knew’ it was a perfect location. It also has a great community feel which was really important to both of us. It’s close to Hull, the UK City of Culture and is surrounded by stunning countryside and a short drive to the East coast so it’s a wonderful place to live.

What do you think the appeal of John Smedley is?

It’s a beautiful, authentic heritage brand – but crucially it’ still relevant to the modern customer. We sell it to customers of all ages. They love the quality and the range of colours. And it continues to offer such a classic look. Dan, our 24 year old assistant is currently wearing a Camel Connoll roll-neck which looks really fresh. Frankie, who is even younger looks great in a Derwent Blue Payton plus he buys vintage pieces and wears them in a very modern way. Customers buy John Smedley because it’s classic but modern and they wear it for years because its completely timeless.

What is your favourite piece of John Smedley knitwear?

I currently love my 6Singular honeycomb bomber jacket (which Lisa keeps eyeing as it’s unisex). It’s great to pop on in the mornings when it’s chilly, but smart enough to act as a jacket if I’m going straight out after work. Lisa loves her classic Edmee in Black which she wears with everything! However, we have just had the SS18 drop and I think the Adrian short sleeve Sea Island Cotton in Pleat Pink will be coming home with me very soon.

To find out more about The Modern Draper, visit their website here.  You can also keep up to date on their latest collections via Instagram Facebook & Twitter.

 

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