The Tux Life
Posted On Dec 03, 2015
It used to be that tuxedo and formalwear rentals meant awkward fittings, unnatural fabrics, and plastic shoes. Behold, Theblacktux.com, which disrupted the online tux market with incredible fit, style, and service. We chat with co-founder Andrew Blackmon to see how they’ve styled their way to the top.
by Andrew C. Stone
There’s nothing better than a strong, service-oriented online model with the power to shake up a stodgy industry. And few have gained a stodgier reputation than the men’s formalwear-rental industry. Despite the average guy’s penchant for having at least a couple of great suits in their closets, the theory goes that special events are few-and-far-between enough to warrant a weird, laborious measurement experience, fabrics that would not normally be welcome near one’s body, and garments that have been worn trillions of times.
Needless to say, there was room for improvement, and (ta-da) Andrew Blackmon and Patrick Coyne have truly turned the tux tide. These two are style-forward, California-based innovators (and frankly, not-too-shabby looking). They were having none of the awkwardness surrounding tuxedo renting as Blackmon’s wedding day approached, back in 2011, and realized something could and should be done. In 2013, they unveiled Theblacktux.com, which makes the formalwear renting experience (for individuals or whole crews of groomsmen) a snap — for a spectrum of dudded-up occasions.
The suits are always 100% merino wool (soft!), the shirts are always 100% cotton (natural!), the shoes are always leather (not plastic!), and the process is both easy and fun. You just select a style, measure yourself online, your suit arrives a week before your event, you try it on (and if there’s something off, you send it back and they fix the issues pronto), and there’s free shipping — both to and fro.
Here, Blackmon gives us the further skinny and their well-fitting suits.
NEW YOU: Andrew, you tapped the online tux market relatively early, and last said that you were sending out thousands of garments per month. How has the business grown since the 2013 launch?
ANDREW BLACKMON: Since launch, our growth has been all word-of-mouth because of our commitment to quality and customer experience. In just over two years, we have become the second largest formalwear rental provider in the US.
NY: What are the distinguishing factors of your service, separating it from other online sources for men’s formalwear?
AB: The rest of the tuxedo rental industry [including other online players] purchases their suits and tuxedos from uniform-quality manufacturers that use lesser quality materials like polyester, plastic, and microfiber. As a vertically-integrated brand, we’re able to design all of our own suits and tuxedos in-house, and we source our wool from the famous Italian mille, Tollegno. They also make fabric for other high-end designer brands. All of our suits are 100% wool, our shirts are 100% cotton, and the shoes are real leather, not plastic. We’re able to deliver the best quality product on the rental market, with an exceptional fit, a seamless experience, and at a better price.
NY: Is it true that you’ll overnight a replacement tux if the original order doesn’t fit properly?
AB:When you’re getting ready for a big event, it’s important that you feel and look your best. Because fit is a big part of this, we created a proprietary fit algorithm so that when you order your suit through The Black Tux, we have a team of fit specialists that carefully review all of your measurements in the algorithm and they can select the perfect size suit for you. The suit is then delivered to your door a week before your event so you can try it on before the big day. In the rare instance that the fit isn’t perfect when it arrives, we cover the cost to make local adjustments or overnight a free replacement.
Visit The Black Tux to find your fit.
Pictured: Andrew Blackmon