how they work: david watkins

There’s always a method to the madness of a creator, obsessed with finishing touches and finding inspiration within the process. We slipped behind the scenes to see what propels the passions of a unique mélange of local creatives.

introduction by nicole camack
interviews + art direction by ciara bird
portait by theo mercado


Occupation: Founder of House of Abbeydale & Partner at
Best known for: Custom and Ready-to-Wear items for Men
Home base: Uptown Charlotte

Your background: Ad executive who made the jump into menswear in 2007 at the start of the financial crisis. Timing is everything! Wouldn’t change a thing.

Your working method: I prefer to really get to know my clients. Their lifestyle, where they like to hang, what they are trying to accomplish with their personal brand. It starts with a conversation to see if Abbeydale is a fit. If so, steps are taken to get all precise measurements, select fabrics, plan the wardrobe—the rest is smooth sailing. The tailors do their thing and my clients benefit from the results. Compliments ensue.

Describe the concept behind your company:  Simple. To help the gentlemen of Charlotte dress better. As we are growing, the concept is not as local, but the purpose is the same. We stay focused on fit, and execute through classic and understated style with attention to detail.

Some rules of your studio: I would say first and foremost, be nice. I mean, it’s clothes and meant to be fun. Slim everything, skinny nothing. No crew neck t-shirts under dress shirts unless you plan on wearing a tie. Always tuck in your shirt when wearing a sport coat. Man, my list is long. Stop in for the full gamut.

Items essential for you to get started: The first essential is a good idea of where the client is now and where he wants to go in the future. Style is ever evolving, so having a good perspective on what is trying to be accomplished keeps everyone on task. We do a lot of the steering but the destination is agreed upon. After that, essentials are my tape measure and a well- rounded selection of four season wool blend fabrics.  The blue solid and gray solid being the most essential suits any man can own.

What could you do without: You ready for this contradiction? I think every man should have one great fitting black suit. That being said, I could easily do without it. I rarely wear it. It’s just not me.

Do you have any plans to expand into other areas: Yes! Our new retail space is now open Uptown, at 116 W 4th Street. Our ready-to-wear line will expand so other stores can offer it, and later, retail/studio concepts in other cities. It will be more about finding the right person than the right location.
This interview was conducted early 2013.

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