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A Perfect Fit
Kai Andersen | Photo: Linny Morris | July 9, 2013
Leather Soul’s Tom Park ups the ante on menswear in the islands.
Tom Park is a man on a mission. Since opening the first outpost of Leather Soul back in 2004 in Downtown Honolulu, the savvy, sharply dressed entrepreneur has been changing the way island men dress from the sole up. “My passion and goal are to put Hawai‘i on the fashion map,” explains Park. Certainly, style-makers have taken note. He’s lunched with the likes of Tyler Brûlé, the legendary founder of Wallpaper* and Monocle. And just this year, Leather Soul earned a nod from GQ as one of the top 25 stores to travel for.
With his credentials secured, Park is now back downtown. (He closed the first location in 2007 to focus on Waikīkī and Beverly Hills.) In a strategically bold move, the smart shoester has opened a new shop in the historic Stangenwald Building. Here, the vibe is far closer to an old-school gentlemen’s club than to a retail shop. Of course, there is the stunning footwear he’s built his reputation on. Do sign up for a pair of bespoke shoes from George Cleverley. (David Beckham’s a fan.) But that’s just the start.
Here, Park and his attentive team are taking it one step further by teaching island men the finer points of dressing. Rest assured, Leather Soul style isn’t about chasing the latest trends out of New York. “It’s not about following fashion, but about being confident in what you think you’d be comfortable in,” explains Park, who presents classic, yet wearable, items that will spruce up any wardrobe. Think gingham shirts by San Francisco label Taylor Stitch. (Don’t forget Leather Soul’s smart collaboration with Reyn Spooner, either.) On top of that, now, he’s also bringing in clothiers and shoemakers who offer discriminating clients truly tailor-made experiences—by appointment only, of course. Be sure to mark your calendar for the return visit of the gents from top Hong Kong haberdashery The Armoury this July.
And the next step for Park? None other than bespoke footwear under the Leather Soul moniker. Custom-made in England, the line will debut this fall with five different styles. And more is yet to come. “Ultimately, we’d like to the be the one-stop shop for everything,” says Park, who isn’t thinking only of clothes. Among his future ideas: a Leather Soul car. 119 Merchant St., Suite 100, Downtown Honolulu, 523.7700; Royal Hawaiian Center, 2233 Kalākaua Ave., Waikīkī, 922.0777, leathersoulhawaii.com