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Soon-to-be grads focus on fair trade

With only a semester left until graduation, Kyle Vucko set out for China to help his longtime friend Heikal Gani build Indochino. Indochino is the world’s first online service for hand-tailored men’s suits. Since this decision, made in 2006, Vucko and Gani have not looked back.

Indochino is focused on providing fashionable, quality suits without the frustration that can go along with picking a suit that’s priced well, is a good brand and fits properly.

“Indochino has always been about making fashion more accessible, regardless of body size,” Vucko said. “We have tons of suits to offer anyone. We know that picking a suit can be an intimidating process and we want to make this more accessible, and help make a more educational decision when picking a suit.”

Vucko knew firsthand the frustrations of being a young college student looking for a nice suit, and not being able to afford the name-brand price. This was the drive for Vucko and Gani’s Indochino, which has offices in Shanghai and British Columbia.

“Initially, our product was for students who were looking for quality suits for lower prices, (and) also since there were no products that spoke to students or younger-aged professionals,” Vucko said. “We are looking into the broader market for busy professionals, hard-to-fit body types (and) anyone who wants high-quality, stylish custom men’s suits for a reasonable price.”

Indochino has already sold suits to men all over the world, from Australia, China and Canada to major U.S. cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles and New York.

“The product has the biggest appeal to the American consumer,” Vucko said.

Indochino is centered around providing a sustainable and accessible means for supplying fair-trade fashion. Vucko and Gani work side by side with a number of local tailors, suppliers and design schools in China to produce suits that are shipped worldwide. “Everything we do deals with partnerships – we work with 20 local tailor businesses, accessory suppliers and design schools,” he said.

“Partnerships allow us to have access to a lot of different things without having to pay for the factory space – give us a lot more access for more production – and we pass on the cost savings for higher wages for our employees.”

When establishing a name for their new company, Vucko and Gani wanted to keep the name in the Asian perspective, since so much of their products’ production is in China.

“We wanted to focus our name around Asia, as so many clothing companies have had a bad reputation for doing bad business in these countries. We wanted to be up-front,” Vucko said.

“Indochino is doing good business in China, working with small businesses and tailors and paying them well.”

The company started with four investors, allowing it to set up in China and build a Web site to move the concept

“My business partner came up with the idea. I thought it was a cool concept and decided to run with the idea,” Vucko said.

“This has been far and beyond whatever I originally dreamed. I am working for myself, which is very rewarding, (and) I can see all of my work going right back into the business.”

Joseph DeJesus, a sophomore majoring in secondary education and mathematics, thinks the suits are a great idea for guys on a tight financial budget.

“A lot of suits out there are very expensive,” he said. “A lot of men out there love wearing suits, but can’t always afford it. So if he is providing a service like this, it can benefit many guys.”

Sophomore Neil Biswas agreed.

“Being that in the future I will have to buy more suits, I like the idea of being able to get a custom suit without spending an arm and a leg,” he said. “I also like the idea of Indochino offering fair business opportunities to small tailors and businesses in China. It relieves all the bad hype that some businesses get from the mass-produced/sweatshop concept.”