Wardrobe: Going Dutch
In the Netherlands, when graduating lawyers begin interviewing with prestigious firms, it is not uncommon for senior partners to deliberate on whether the candidate is an “Oger man.” Oger Lusink, owner of the menswear chain, is hardly surprised that attorneys hold his operation in such high regard. Lusink began cultivating their esteem when he opened Oger (pronounced O-zhay) in Amsterdam 15 years ago and offered discounts and payment plans to aspiring lawyers and other young professionals to start them out, at least sartorially, on the right foot.
Established as a small boutique selling classic men’s suits of the Brooks Brothers variety, Oger has since expanded into adjacent storefronts and added satellite shops in The Hague and Rotterdam. Over the years, Lusink built a reputation as a risk-taker for introducing Dutch men—who traditionally dressed in much less expensive German fashions—to top-quality Italian and American menswear brands including Attolini, Borrelli, Isaia, and Ralph Lauren Purple Label. When explaining why he incorporates these and other foreign labels into his inventory, Lusink playfully references Dutch cooking: “It’s not so interesting,” he says. “So once a week, most Dutchmen go out for Italian.”
Lusink, who works with his sons Sander and Martijn, has amassed enough clout in the fashion world to be the exclusive Netherlands distributor for both Ralph Lauren Purple Label and Ermenegildo Zegna, each of which he sells in separate stores next to his eponymous shop on P.C. Hooftstraat, Amsterdam’s most fashionable shopping street. Lusink recently finalized an agreement to open a similar shop with Burberry, and he is in negotiations to do the same with Etro.
To high-profile clientele—which once included Pim Fortuyn, the popular Dutch politician who was assassinated by an animal rights activist in 2002, while he was wearing an Oger fur-collared vicuña coat—Lusink offers a number of special services. Three years ago, he bought an apartment located above his shops and converted it into a VIP room, where certain customers can partake of the store’s personal shopping services. To assure quality custom tailoring, Oger will fly in an Italian tailor for fittings, an expense that Lusink claims costs less than fixing mistakes.
When not in use by Oger, the VIP room serves as a private meeting space for Dutch companies. Throughout the year, Oger hosts whiskey tastings and cigar nights, and every September, on Prince Day (when the Dutch parliament convenes in Amsterdam for a State of the Union type of address), customers are invited to weigh in on how well they thought political leaders were dressed. Also, in March and September, the retailer hosts made-to-measure events, during which many of the world’s top manufacturers of suits, shirts, and shoes make presentations and provide fittings.
“If a man is going to buy a suit in Holland, he’s going to come to us,” says Martijn, who recently designed two private-label clothing collections: Oger Amsterdam and Oger Dressed for Success. Oger Amsterdam comprises high-end, slim-fitting, Neapolitan-style suits, while Oger Dressed for Success is a starter collection priced from $600 to $1,100. Both are produced in Italy by Nervesa and Boglioli. “We’ve already had requests for the suits in stores in New York and London,” says Martijn, who hopes to open a store in New York and launch the label in the United States. For now, however, Oger remains a Dutch treat.
Oger, +31.2188.8.131.52, www.oger.nl