It’s not often men’s clothing makes it onto this shopping page. No offense fellas, there are just so many new women’s clothing stores opening that they get all the attention.
But a new custom suit store in north Fresno has so much fashion and flair going on – along with a fun back story involving Fresno politicians – that it deserves some time in the spotlight.
R. Douglas Custom Clothier opened a few months back in Park Place, the same shopping center as Eureka! restaurant (look for the blue mannequins in the front window wearing suits, of course). It’s a second location for the business that got its start in Sacramento designing custom suits.
You can’t try on a suit and take it home here. Instead, the process is similar to ordering a wedding dress where a customer gets measured and picks out details. Four to six weeks later, a suit made for the customer is ready to go.
R. Douglas owner and designer Ryan D. Hammonds started the company after he couldn’t find a suit to fit his thin build (Douglas is Hammonds’ middle name). He started designing suits for friends as a hobby while working as a computer tech and in the insurance industry.
Eventually it became a mobile business, a full-time job and then a showroom a block away from the state Capitol.
Many R. Douglas customers are politicians, including some with Fresno connections like Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula and his predecessor Henry T. Perea. (But it’s not all politicians. There are lawyers, CEOs and the occasional UFC fighter buying a form-fitting suit from the company.)
With customers already in Fresno and his wife’s family here, the city was a natural second location before launching long-range plans to expand to Los Angeles and San Diego.
It doesn’t require a six-figure income. We’re not that exclusive.
Ryan D. Hammonds
The average cost at R. Douglas is about $1,200, with suits starting at $899. In the custom suit world, these prices are considered “attainable,” says Hammonds.
What do you get for that price? Custom everything. Customers choose the fabric and style of suit, along with the shape of the cuff, how many buttons and the color thread on the buttonhole.
More than 40 measurements are taken, from the traditional inseam to the bicep and wrist. A tool that looks like a curved level is placed on the shoulder to determine the angle of its slope.
The exciting part, says Hammonds, is on the inside of the suit. He flips open his jacket to reveal a bold, colorful design on the lining.
“Business on the outside, party on the inside,” he likes to say.
All kinds of linings are available, including some wild ones. There are linings featuring images of golf, the scales of justice, news clippings, even skulls.
Customers often choose linings that relate to their occupation, he says. R. Douglas has sold suits with linings that hide democratic donkeys and republican elephants in red, white and blue. Politicians wear them, pulling the suit open to show off party loyalty.
Lobbyists could get a jacket with a different party symbol on each side, showing off one side to whomever they’re trying to convince, he notes.
There are other hidden details in these suits. A saying, kids’ names or a wedding date can be stitched under the coat collar. Showroom manager Michael Leon has his last name stitched on his shirt cuff, for example.
The fabric for the suits comes from fabric mills around the world and the suits themselves are stitched together in China.