Industry Insiders: Amber Doyle, Nature vs. Nurture
To walk into Against Nature Atelier, a boutique on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, is to travel back to the gaslit, wunderkammer-strewn Victorian era. It’s the kind of place a dandy might go for a fitting, though co-founder Amber Doyle says most customers tend to be “lawyers and Wall Street types, but also a lot of young people, musicians, and artists.” Doyle—along with fellow tailor Jake Mueser, accessories designer Ryan Matthew, and custom denim specialist Simon Jacobs—crafts one-off suits starting at $3,200 a pop. “We do suits in six to eight weeks, and in about three to, four fittings,” Doyle says. “The rule is that you can’t leave until it fits perfectly.”
On the backstory: Jake and I design all the shoes and clothing together. We met through friends and started on working on pieces together and it just snowballed. We did a couple suits for friends who happened to be in bands. It started to get a lot of recognition. We had our first pop-up shop in the East Village which is where Ryan comes into play. Ryan does all the accessories and jewelry for the store. We stayed at that location for a while, but found it was too small for what we were trying to do. So, we found the location where we are now at 159 Chrystie Street, and we thought it would be great to do not only custom suits, custom accessories, but also custom jeans. That’s where Simon comes about.
On the group coming together: Jake and I met through friends and also while I was finishing my degree at FIT. Jake and Ryan have known each other through friends and we’ve all known Simon for a while. We’re just four creative, driven people, all coming together.
On the design aesthetic: The store itself is built on the fact that we offer everything bespoke. Not only bespoke clothing – whether suits, shorts, vests, trousers, but also custom offerings – accessories, belts, rings, cuff links that can be adjusted right on the spot. So, you can buy something from the store or Ryan can make basically anything for you. Nowhere in New York do I know that there is bespoke denim. That makes us very unique. When it comes to clothing, Jake and I tend to go for a very fitted silhouette. A little bit more towards the English cut. It’s almost like a 1960’s dandy. Its fun, very fitted, still very classic, but modern.
On classic dressing coming into style again: They’re all jumping on our style, man! I think after such a long slew of having the trend be drapey and cut-up things falling apart, to see and to be part of that well-dressed, put-together scene where you still look well-dressed, put-together, sharp and edgy, but you’re wearing something very nice but to the point of timeless instead of trendy.
On making custom suits: We do them in about six to eight weeks and that’s with three to four fittings. The rule is, you can’t leave until it fits perfectly. So, we make sure everything’s just right and you’re buying just right. They start at $3,200. Then, we also offer suits in the store that are off the rack, but will be adjusted for you and those begin at $2,700.
On the clientele: It’s so hard to pinpoint, because we’ve made pieces for such a different array of people. We’ve done lawyers and Wall Street types and business men. We’ve had a lot of wedding suits. We’ve done tuxedoes. We’ve done dinner jackets. We’ve made a tail coat for an opera director. Then, also we get a lot of young people who are coming in and designing suits for us who are musicians or artists. We’ve done some for restaurateurs. We’ve done almost everything. Then, we also have the women clients who are in that same range of categories. So, it’s really hard for us to pinpoint one single person because when it’s custom, we like to have fun and play with the idea that this is for you. This is what your needs are.
Challenging requests: The opera coat was a tricky thing that we’re still finishing up the final touches on. For each client, it’s different because they all want something very specific. Every person is a very fun challenge.
Favorite designers: We’re all really big fans of Tom Ford. I think his work is beautiful. I love what Prada is doing for menswear. I love what Gucci is doing for menswear. Paul Smith is great