Tabor’s creative director Scott Newkirk talks Charlotte men’s style and what it’s like going to market to buy for them.
As the creative director at Perry Poole’s Tabor—one of the region’s top upscale menswear boutiques—Scott Newkirk, 56, is quietly, subtly shaping the way men in Charlotte dress and shop.
Before moving here a year and a half ago, the Jackson, Miss. native spent decades in New York City, where he did everything from display design at Barneys to running photo shoots and ad campaigns for some of the biggest names in the business: Coach, Banana Republic, John Varvados, Cole Haan.
Fresh off a trip to New York and Paris to look at spring clothing, Newkirk chatted with us about going to market, Charlotte men’s style, and how to experiment with a new trend. Lightly edited for brevity and clarity.
You just got back from a buying trip to New York and Paris. What was that like?
The designers pull their collections together, and we’re the first people to see it. They have temporary showrooms and you set appointments up. In Paris, I only went to see four collections for Tabor. In New York, I had nine appointments a day. Time is limited; you only have an hour at the most.
So how do you pick the clothes you want for Tabor?
I say my hellos and the first thing I do is go straight to the rack and start pulling stuff. I may collect 10 to 20 pieces out of the 400 there. That’s not your final decision. When you come back to Charlotte, you choose from whatever you selected and write the orders up. We don’t have a store so big that we can carry every designer or collection we’d like to—it forces us to be very considerate of what we choose. Every selection is a gamble.
What’s a menswear trend we’ll see this fall?
The standout colors we saw everywhere were moss green and olive green. It’s going to be in shirting, knitwear, outerwear. You’ll probably see it in trousers as well. There were a lot of warmer, earthy tones. They’re always a part of fall, but we even saw some of that for spring.
How can men experiment with a trend like olive green?
If there’s something you want to try to incorporate in your wardrobe, do it on the top, not with your pants. Maybe it’s an olive knit tie you might wear with a gray flannel suit, an olive sports shirt, or a piece of outerwear—instead of going for the navy again, try the olive. It’s a totally different mood, an earthier feeling.
How is the men’s shopping culture in New York City there different than in Charlotte?
New York is a walking city. So on your lunch break you could drift into Barneys or Bergdorf’s because it was next door to the place where you were getting your deli sandwich. Men there shop a little bit more; they walk through stores. Here, guys are only going to shop on the weekend because they’re at work all day, and some don’t want to because they don’t want to try any clothes on. We’re trying to slowly get into their psyche that it’s nothing to be afraid of.
Photo by Justin Driscoll