Cocktails, Clothes and You: an Afternoon at Harper & Jones

Harper & Jones designers Lakan Foster (left) and Mila Vielaet (right) look over fabric choices for their latest design. Photo Credit: Jenn Bentley

Look around New Orleans and you’ll find several fashion houses and designers creating bespoke dresses and clothing for women. For men, however, the choices are a little more limited.

That’s where Harper & Jones comes in. Founded two years ago by Ft. Worth’s Drew Jones and Bruce Tucker, who together have over 50 years of design experience, this company is bringing back the art of benchmade clothing and the truly customized wardrobe. Almost solely through word-of-mouth and referrals, the business has expanded to include multiple locations across multiple cities and several designers.

At their Magazine Street location, designers Lakan Foster and Mila Pielaet have created a comfortable, relaxing environment where a guy can come in, have a whiskey or cocktail, and talk to them about his lifestyle and what he needs. In many cases this doesn’t simply involve a single suit or outfit, but an entire wardrobe.

Harper & Jones designer Lakan Foster at their Magazine Street showroom. Photo Credit: Jenn Bentley

Once the first consultation is complete, the women head to your home to take a peek at how you live. A quick look through your closet tells them more about your personal style, and based on this, along with your input, they can create an entire wardrobe to suit any lifestyle and taste.

Make no mistake; this is more than just two personal shoppers putting together an off-the-rack wardrobe. Every piece designed at Harper & Jones is handmade and customized for you. From the hand-sewn fit (nothing at Harper & Jones touches a sewing machine) to the fabrics flown in from top design studios in Italy and England, everything they create will be unique. They’re the only Benchmade clothier in New Orleans. “With that, we’re able to achieve just a overall better fit. The quality is unparalleled to anything that is made in a factory,” says Foster. “No glue, no fusing… you can fold these guys up like a sweater and put it in your suitcase.”

A few show pieces at the Harper & Jones showroom on Magazine Street. Photo Credit: Jenn Bentley

One thing that immediately becomes clear when talking with Foster and Pielaet is their passion for New Orleans, the people, and the culture that thrives here. All of the art adorning the studio is from local artists like Andrew Simoneaux, Alex Beard, and Mallory Page. Being part of and supporting the local community is a priority. “We want to support each other,” says Pielaet. “I feel like all of us artists, we just tend to try to support one another, especially locally, you know?”

Another thing that stands out: the level of service these women provide. Visiting their studio is by appointment only; when you’re there, the designers can concentrate solely on you and what you need. They take their time ensuring you’re relaxed and comfortable throughout the consult and fitting so they can get a true sense of who you are. For the closet walkthrough, Foster and Pielaet are no strangers to travel; they’ve flown to client homes all over the country.

From businessmen and entrepreneurs to artists and athletes, Harper & Jones serves a diverse clientele. If you’re into fashion and looking for a new suit, outfit, or an entire wardrobe, this is one New Orleans experience you won’t want to miss.

To schedule an appointment at Harper & Jones, you can contact:
Lakan Foster – (504) 400-7290
Mila Pielaet – (805) 304-8173

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