Back Issue__ Alexia is Hentsch Man

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Alexia Hentsch, and her partner Max von Hurter felt the menswear market was missing simple and affordable. So the childhood friends, created Hentsch Man, a straightforward, yet elegant and wearable menswear line—a one-stop shop for men to shop. The Hentsch Man, man is “preppy, but cool.” Alexia says. “A sort of mix between a southern Italian and a Parisian—with the youth of a New Yorker.” Think uptown tailoring, mixed with downtown cool.

Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Alexia is now stationed, along with Hentsch Man in London. She graduated in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design, and has been working in branding ever since. This experience gave her the knowledge (and gusto) to start a brand.

At the beginning Alexia went to pitch her line to Opening Ceremony, bringing only a white tee shirt and a brand book. It worked. “I think that although there wasn't much product, they liked the concept.” Alexia says. “They told us to go off and make some more products and come back. So about a year later, we went to see them with eight shirts and four trousers. That's when they took us on as our sales agents. Since then, they're been distributing our brand in the US and Japan, as well as stocking us in their stores.”

The Henstch Man continues to evolve, offering both seasonal products and staples. Their white tee shirt, for example, never changes, while other items vary season to season. Every season, they try to add one or two new items to the collection. “Either a new cut of trouser, a new jacket or accessory, something to keep the collection fresh.”

Alexia spends most of her time traveling between the different factories, mills, suppliers, and trade shows. Day to day, she’s designing, researching, conducting shoots, and doing a lot of administrative work. “I've just hired someone to take on the office management side of things, hopefully this will free up my time so I can spend more of it researching and creating.”

Sneak peek of Hentsch Man A/W '10.

Like a lot of brands nowadays, Alexia has embraced the idea of the pop-up shop. “The first one came about as a complete after-thought, but ended up being so successful, that we decided to do a second (this time with a little more planning!)” The first was the Spring/Summer 2009 Pop-up Shop in Notting Hill and the second the Autumn/Winter 2009 Pop-up Shop in Mayfair. The temporary shops have been important in spreading their brand awareness in London, and beyond.

Max and Alexia, are currently working on a permanent store in London, which should be open in the next year. Alexia loves London “It's got such a good mix of old and new. Old world Europe, with all of its weird idiosyncratic traditions, but all of the new vibrance and creativity of our generation.” And even though she thinks her birth place, Sao Pauolo has more energy, her favorite city is Rio de Janiero. “There's just something about it. The heat, the light, the beach, the Cariocas.” And in the next 5 years, they’re working on taking the brand to Brazil. “Brazil really is the place to be these days!”

Alexia is a woman set to dominate in a menswear world. “I love it,” Alexia says. “I feel like it gives me an advantage as I don't design for myself, but rather, what I would like to see on men.”

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