Owner, London Philips
Sasha Fruitticher’s background in fashion and branding has landed her some pretty impressive gigs in the past; Brand Manager for C1 Bank, as well as the marketing assistant for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But Fruitticher always had a penchant for fashion. Turning her first love into a lucrative business has allowed Fruitticher to live out her passion with London Philips, Tampa’s premier men’s clothing boutique. She shares her plans for the future and offers her thoughts on what it takes for a woman to have the last say on gentlemen’s fashion.
To me, fashion is the most powerful art there is. It’s movement, design and architecture all in one.
How would you define your own style?
An ever-evolving mix of both classic and eclectic. I love mixing timeless, glamorous pieces with everyday street-wear to perfect an effortlessly chic look (when, in reality, it took me hours to put together).
Do you have a signature item? What is the one thing you think all men and women should have in their closets?
A perfectly tailored blazer. It can pull just about any look together, day or night. It gives polish to the classic jeans and tee look, and can even add a bit of edge to an evening look.
What made you decide to open a men’s clothing store versus a woman’s?
To me, fashion is the most powerful art there is. It’s movement, design and architecture all in one. It shows the world who we are and who we’d like to be. Since the majority of men are somewhat unaware of the profound changes that style can evoke, it inspires me to help men find themselves through fashion and for them to see the immediacy of that impact.
How do you feel your market has received you?
Menswear is the most under served segment in the fashion industry, but the market is ready for it and so is Tampa. I was thrilled to introduce the Tampa market to the first menswear concept store in the area to provide a reinterpreted cut on traditional staples. We stock brands like GANT, Billy Reid, Scotch & Soda and Band of Outsiders that are difficult or impossible to find elsewhere in Tampa. So far, the market response has been unparalleled. We are seeing South Tampa and Downtown Tampa really embrace the city lifestyle, so we have started to partner with other cutting-edge, stylish businesses in the area such as Oxford Exchange, The Pink Petticoat and The Epicurean Hotel on various events to further promote this economic growth and to develop a vast clientele.
How do you determine what clothing will work best for your clients?
My ultimate goal is to define or re-define a client’s image through a carefully curated wardrobe. I talk to my clients about their life goals, take into account their physical attributes, lifestyle, and personal fashion preferences in order to develop a signature style.
Who are your favorite designers and why?
It is quite hard to narrow down my favorite designers as each designer brings a unique asset to the industry. The top designers on my list are due to the fact that they bring both business and fashion innovation to the world through design.
For menswear, my favorite designers are Michael Bastian of GANT, Todd Snyder, Scott Sternber of Band of Outsiders, and Tom Ford.
For women’s wear, my favorite designers are Jonathan Simkhai of Jonathan Simkhai, Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy, Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs of Cushine et Ochs and Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel.
How do you feel about the current trends in fashion? What would you like to see change?
The current fashion trends for men include slim slacks cuffed at the ankles, oversized quilted jackets, lots of layers and a heavy mix of dark leafy greens along with black and whites this fall.
This season is exciting and taking mens fashion to the next level, so I am loving living in the here and now for these trends.
What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?
I am an avid traveler and gain a lot of inspiration and insight into trends from various places around the world that I implement into each collection that is showcased in my store. My next trip is to Austria for New Years. When I am not traveling, you can find me running on Bayshore Boulevard.
What are some of the things on your bucket list?
Have dinner with Karl Lagerfeld.
Have London Philips featured in GQ Magazine.
Buy a flat in London.
Run the Great Wall of China Half Marathon.
Open multiple LP store locations – starting with Miami and Atlanta.
Experience the full moon party in Koh Phangan, Thailand.
Who are some women that inspire you?
Anna Wintour – style icon and influential editor-in-chief of Vogue Magazine. She has revolutionized the fashion industry and is a force to be reckoned with.
Natalie Massenet – female entrepreneur behind the popular retail sites Net-a-Porter, Mr. Porter and The Outnet. She has changed the way designer fashion is retailed and has re-defined online shopping to be much more of a destination seeking experience.
My mother – because she has always believed in me and has encouraged me since day 1 to be a powerful, strong woman.
What are your top 5 favorite songs?
Shy That Way – Tristan Prettyman
Into the Mystic – Van Morrison
That Girl – Justin Timberlake
Crazy Beautiful – Hanson
Let’s Spend the Night Together – Bossa N’ Stones
If you weren’t doing what you are doing now professionally, what would you want to be doing as a career?
I would probably be designing my own fashion line. Who knows, maybe after I have multiple store locations, then I’ll add that to the mix.
Read the full digital edition of the Fall 2014 issue of Gravitas Sasha featured on page 50