Two pairs of shoes. Three pairs of jeans. A few t-shirts. And no sense of style. That was Phillip Prany once upon a time – until he bought his first suit.
He had never owned a suit before and needed one for a wedding, so he bought one. It wasn’t tailored, but he remembers how he felt when he slipped it on for the first time.
“It totally changed me,” he said. “The way that I felt when I first wore my suit – it was not a tailored suit; it wasn’t bespoke; I didn’t know anything about fit – but just the feeling of having your first suit is unchangeable.”
It was a moment that inspired him. At the time, he was knee-deep in the automotive business. He once worked at a car dealership before opening his own automotive repair shop in Haltom City in 2012. With a little more money in his pocket after starting the business, he could finally go shopping and began to care a little more about what he was wearing, to the point that he developed a passion for it (particularly, bespoke clothing). He then bought a sewing machine and put it in the office of his automotive shop – a room with no heat or air conditioning, where he would study books on tailoring and practice sewing. In 2015, he sold his shop and launched Mener Grand Train Co., French for “to live in style,” the following year.
The philosophy behind the men’s bespoke clothing company is to help customers express their individuality, Prany says.
“That was my inspiration for the brand – ‘live in style.’ To me, it means having your own style and not being judged for who you are,” he said.
The company doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar location but rather sells online and sees clients by appointment in its studio at West Seventh Street and University Drive, or wherever is convenient for them. Prany sits down with customers to get to know their lifestyle, gathers at least 17 body measurements from the client, and makes shirts, jackets and other menswear based on the client’s preferences. The company also sells accessories like bow ties, lapel pins and pocket squares.
“I follow the rules of thumb when I put on a suit, but what I like to do is put my attitude in it,” he said.
Personally, Prany said he tries to emphasize individuality with the way he dresses. He says he’s gone through a number of phases (at one point he had silver hair and black nail polish), but now he’s cleaned up a little more, hoping that his statement comes from, of all things, his hands.
Prany has tattoos on each of his fingers, depicting images like a rose, an anchor and arrows. He said each tattoo doesn’t necessarily have a meaning, but he hopes his hands will make him recognizable as a tailor.
Eventually, Prany said he wants to expand to streetwear and open a store, but his current focus is formal and professional attire.