It is fascinating to have a glimpse into the mind of true artists, like jewelry designer Jason Arasheben and top Hollywood makeup artist Kristi Fuhrmann-Kerr, I like to discover the genesis of inspiration that lead to the creation of a vision that sometimes ends up on a canvas, the pages of a book, a sculpture garden, or in the case of men’s custom bespoke menswear designer & tailor Mark Pomerantz; on the backs of style-conscious and fashion-forward men. The journey this Orange County native took to open his signature shop in Newport Beach, California in 2010 took him around the world. He has taken that broad, worldly cosmopolitan vision with him as he learned his craft at fashion school in New York City and honed it by the side of some of the world’s finest tailors while studying in Rome.
ICONIC LIFE: You launched your business in 2010, but the passion for being a renowned designer had to start a lot sooner. How were you initially introduced to fine fashion?
Mark Pomerantz: My passion for fine clothing was innate, I always remember wanting to dress well. And simultaneously was always interested in things that were considered to be “the best,” I was always fascinated as to why? These two things intersected into my studies in clothing and what made designer (fine) fashions the best.
Knowing I wanted to grow my own business, I was fixated on learning as much as I could to be as successful as possible.
ICONIC LIFE: One of the things you did that I think was smart, was you positioned yourself to learn from some of the best in your industry. How important was that in your success, choosing the right places to study, the mentors you had and apprenticeships you were able to attain?
Mark Pomerantz: It was absolutely critical. The fashion business at large is so dynamic; there are so many facets of it that can go wrong if you don’t have any insight or experience. Knowing I wanted to grow my own business, I was fixated on learning as much as I could to be as successful as possible. I had a mentor for just about everything, and I still do to this day—not in the creative aspects anymore but for business and just in life. It’s important to surround yourself with people who you to consider to be “the best.”
ICONIC LIFE: To be truly successful in your industry, do you have to have lived or studied in New York City and key European cities?
Mark Pomerantz: It was important in my journey for sure, and I was fortunate to have that experience of going to Fashion School in NYC, which at the time was the only menswear tailoring program in the nation. I was inspired being there in NYC with like-minded individuals, and in the best cities for fashion. Rome was extremely impactful to me, too. I had learned so much during my time there; I actually based one of my Fall/Winter collections on the inspiration I felt there. Being in inspiring locations is a luxury. It’s not a formula though, everyone has their own background. There is no “sure shot” when it comes to success in fashion. There are so many different cool stories and backgrounds to so many brands.
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ICONIC LIFE: What is unique about your designs, and what need did you identify in the market?
Mark Pomerantz: I think the line stands out as unique in several ways—first of all, the creative vision, construction and quality is never sacrificed. I strive to deepen all three things day after day. The line is also sleek and sexy—all the time. Whether it’s a casual bomber jacket or a suit; we never want anyone to feel less than dapper in my clothing. And, with menswear being somewhat kooky right now, men need to find things that feel modern and cool, but still make them feel comfortable in their own skin.
My collections are inspired by various things, but the most common reoccurrence is music. I hear a song and picture a story unfolding with it.
ICONIC LIFE: Can you describe the process of designing a suit with you and your team? What is the timeline and please detail what happens from the first visit to the final fitting?
Mark Pomerantz: My collections are inspired by various things, but the most common reoccurrence is music. I hear a song and picture a story unfolding with it—the characters are then visualized in the clothing I envisioned for that mood. It’s an internal cinematic process. Once the character is set in my mind’s eye, I bring it to the Mark Pomerantz atelier and work out any new shapes and designs that the collection/character may need. This is what goes into the seasonal collection and the library of patterns my clients can chose from. Even if they buy a classic suit (outside from the seasonal collection), they can always choose from the silhouettes I created. The collection is my creative outlet and thankfully a well-received one. When a client comes in, or when we go to them, they can choose from the season’s collection or simply get inspired from it. We offer all the classics in addition to the seasonal collection, from business suits to tuxedos. A custom order can be received in about four to six weeks, and we have built the brand on our amazing reputation for a nearly flawless track record on fittings. Usually there aren’t any adjustments when the suit or items arrive.
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ICONIC LIFE: Your styles are so fresh, and the fabrics are so comfortable—is there a specific type of client you target or cater to?
Mark Pomerantz: Any man with an appreciation for expertise and vision, who wants to look his best is a great candidate. But I have to say, I thrive on converting men who believe wearing a suit is uncomfortable (or a bore) into becoming suit enthusiasts.
ICONIC LIFE: I know high-profile people have sought you out—can you mention any athletes, actors or well-known clients you serve?
Mark Pomerantz: No, sorry. Although we have many in each category, it’s against our branding beliefs, and we value the privacy of our clients. A little mystery is exciting in this day and age, isn’t it?
ICONIC LIFE: Orange County is very affluent—close to Los Angeles and on the West Coast. Obviously, it was a strategic decision for you to have your showroom and headquarter in Newport Beach in the heart of OC. What drew you to OC, and how did you know it was right spot for you?
Mark Pomerantz: I came back home from New York after college (and a few jobs in fashion) to begin planning my next move. I needed the clarity and headspace of California again, and going home is always a good solution for that.
Once here, I started the old-fashioned way, on my kitchen table, and things just took off right here at home. I do still keep an apartment in New York; I felt I couldn’t give it up. Thankfully I have a dynamic clientele there. I really do live between two worlds, and I thrive off of that, and thus the brand does, too.
ICONIC LIFE: I know every year you have bold and ambitious plans– what’s coming up in 2020?
Mark Pomerantz: 2020 is our 10-year anniversary, so it’s a big one. We are expanding our footprint in all directions—from our digital space to our physical spaces, we are revamping and redefining all touch points of the brand—and throwing a couple big parties, of course!
ICONIC LIFE: Finally, what can you tell a potential client reading this what the experience is like getting a custom suit, jacket or shirts from Mark Pomerantz?
Mark Pomerantz: I’d say it’s an effortless and luxurious experience in all ways. We strive as a brand for each step in the client experience to be smooth and frictionless. From the hospitality offerings in our showroom, to the ease of at-home or in-office appointments for our clients. We have eliminated the need to go back and forth for multiple fittings, that’s a huge barrier for most men. They want to take their items home with them once they arrive, not come back and forth a few more times. And, of course, the experience of wearing our suits and clothing is something of a luxurious phenomenon—you’ll have to feel it to believe it.
Tom Zenner is a regular guest columnist for ICONIC LIFE as he interviews fascinating people from his glamorous, celebrity-filled world from his vantage point living in Los Angeles. We’ll profile those style makers and trendsetters right here.