The double dog is quickly becoming the go-to brand for fashion conscious men. This is lifestyle within reach. This is Fr ank & Oak.
The smell of roasting 49th Parallel beans mixes with freshly stocked cotton and leather. A #2 shaver puts the final touch on a gentleman’s fresh new do, while indie tunes provide the beat to both barber and barista. I’m at the Frank & Oak Atelier on St. Viateur. The scene is decidedly Montreal – but on Queen West in Toronto, or in Williamsburg in Brooklyn, the Frank & Oak aesthetic would blend seamlessly in what CEO and co-founder Ethan Song calls “a brand for a new generation.”
Founded in 2012 by Song and his childhood friend, Hicham Ratnani, Frank & Oak has a simple ethos: dress men well, while simultaneously elevating their personal brand, appealing to an authenticity and entrepreneurship they can relate to. Song tells Mixte, “our mission has always been to dress the men,” butcuration is of the utmost importance – “everything has to look good together.” With monthly collections designed in Montreal and produced at home, in Europe and in the United States, Frank & Oak positions itself as what Song calls ‘accessible premium’: “It comes down to personalized service and community.” Everything from membership and styling, to having a coffee and a cut while you shop is part of the Frank & Oak brand culture – a form of Fifth Avenue casual that is easy and unintimidating, and that has done the brand well (its styling service, Elevate, ships members items specifically tailored to their tastes and budgets every month!). “Whether you spend $100 or $1,000, I don’t see why you shouldn’t receive the same level of service,” says Song.
With a commitment to quality products and attention to detail, every Frank & Oak piece is designed to fit both man and season perfectly. “Unfortunately, everything today is about volume, and not about quality,” notes Song. “Our thinking is, if we can offer you something that is high quality and still accessible, it will be a much richer experience.” Recent collaborations with fashion heavyweights like Naked & Famous is evidence of the young company’s willingness to anticipate, while continuing to shape their brand lifestyle. Whether online, in-store, or in print (Frank & Oak publishes oh-so-stylish Oak Street Magazine for creative professionals), the brand’s investment in its community is rich, and curated. The differentiating factor, according to Song, is a tight focus that is as much on the experience as it is on the product. Stitch this together with expert advice and service, and it is no wonder Frank & Oak has developed a passionate cult following, and a rapidly expanding customer base. With an ever-evolving digital experience, and brick and mortar stores across North America, Song says continued expansion is on the horizon. The future looks bright from Mile End.