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Designer to Watch: Men in Cities Founder Yuvi Alpert

Yuvi Alpert has a long history in mens accessories. Not only was he one of the founders of Ruby Kobo, he designed his own brand, YUVI by Yuvi Alpert, which debuted during the Paris Spring 2013 menswear shows and was selected to be part of the CFDA's Incubator Program. Now, Alpert has branched out with a new site, MenInCities.com, with the goal of simplifying the process of shopping for mens accessories. Each month, nine limited-edition items go up for sale — everything from socks to wallets — all priced at $39.99. The idea is to allow men to shop easily and without distraction. We spoke to Alpert about his new venture, tips on how to accessorize for men and more.

the Fashion Spot: How would you describe your style?

Yuvi Alpert: Relaxed.

tFS: What has been your biggest style influences?

YA: Travel.

tFS: Wearing jewelry when you're a man can be tricky. Any tips?

YA: There is no right or wrong in my opinion. My motto is, be honest and just be yourself. If you feel like a rock star and want to wear 10 bracelets at a time, then go for it. As long as you feel comfortable, though I personally like accessorizing in a clean and more subtle way. Accessorizing is a great way to impact your appearance and give any outfit a new fresh look.

tFS: What was the process of becoming part of the first class of The Council on Fashion Design of America Fashion Incubator program?

YA: The application process is kind of similar to applying to a graduate school program.

tFS: What did you take away from the experience?

YA: Being a part of that fashion community has been a great experience for me. It's very motivating when you're recognized by an organization such as the CFDA; it gives you extra confidence knowing that what you are making and creating is being noticed and appreciated. Also, the networking opportunities with established people in the industry that come with being a part of that program is very valuable.

tFS: How did the idea for Men in Cities come about?

YA: I wanted mens accessories to be more exposed. The site allows me to design for a larger audience and provide men the ability to discover, learn and try accessories conveniently and affordably. It is important for me to simplify the shopping experience when it comes to accessories for men and felt the convenience of online shopping and a tightly curated edit of items would help. Every month we release a new collection of nine items that merchandise well together. All of the items are priced the same in order to allow men to shop without distraction from varying prices and focus on buying their favorite item. Everything is designed in house in our Lower Soho studio in New York City, we source our own materials and work closely with different manufacturers that I have established relationships with. Selling direct to consumer allows us to offer quality items at significantly lower prices.

tFS: Do you design with a particular man in mind?

YA: My target is men that have a passion for detail. You can find a great tie, nice dress socks… However, we are also a place where men can discover items they didn't know they wanted. For instance, our cashmere warrior gloves. The goal is to reach men across the country. So far, we are seeing on our website men ages 18 to 45, mainly in major cities. Ranges from college kids that are buying bracelets for casual wear to busy young professionals that are upping their game in terms of more formal presentation with tie clips, cufflinks and pocket squares.

tFS: How do you go about finding people to collaborate with? Any people you’re dying to work with?

YA: I like to reach out to people that are influential in different fields. We want to be able to continue and expose our customers to interesting and creative men. Wether it's a painter, an architect, a photographer, a chef… All proceeds from these collaborations go to the collaborator's charity of choice. 

tFS: What do you do with the items left over after each month?

YA: The collections continue to live on the site after the month and are available for purchase. I just don't want to overwhelm my customers with more than nine new items a month. Once an item sells out, there is a waiting list and customers will be notified if more quantities will be produced.

tFS: What’s your design process each month?

YA: It's a less formal process. I get inspired every day living here in NYC or when I am traveling abroad. I didn't go to fashion school and I don't really design for the fashion calendar, but am constantly trying to create based on everyday inspiration.

tFS: What do you think are the must-have accessories every man needs to own?

YA: There are items that can be necessities such as a tie or wallet. A wallet is something I have to carry around everyday, which is why it's so important to me that it's neat and comfortable. I also think guys should have accessories that can be worn to add a touch of formality to a casual look; things like a pocket square. Men are often limited to what they can wear to work. A great way to personalize your look and be able to differentiate yourself is with accessories.

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