Alain Chaps knows the importance of being a well-dressed man. At his European- and African-inspired fashion house, Connaisseur Paris, Chaps offers high-end luxury menswear at an affordable price. It has everything a man needs to look his best, from shirts and blazers, to dress pants, shoes and custom-made suits. The stylish boutique has locations in Atlanta; Potomac Mills, Virginia; Silver Spring, Maryland; and Paris, France.
Rolling out recently stopped by the Atlanta location at the Shops of Buckhead to speak with the boutique owner and style connoisseur.
Where did the name Connaisseur Paris come from?
It really started back home. I’m originally from Cameroon. The name Connaisseur [Paris] started because of the way that I was as a child. I gravitated to fashion at a very early age. My friends called me a connoisseur because I had the style and the swag. I used to dress all of my friends in college and I paid my tuition for doing that. That is the early story of Connaisseur Paris.
How did Connaisseur Paris start?
As a serious business, Connaisseur Paris started in Paris. I moved to the States in 2007. I linked up with my best friend Julius Ade, and we founded a brand here in the United States. We started really small. We both used his house and my house as a basement. Because of the lifestyle I was living and the elegance, everywhere I went, church pastors and people asked me about the clothing. We just supplied and advertised, and that’s how we started.
When did you realize people were gravitating toward your brand?
What we realized was that when we had the exposure and people see us, they love it. My friend Julius was very instrumental in the advertisement because he was known. He was a great model. He brought attention to us. So, really, that’s how we got our first break.
What sets your store apart from other stores?
Coming from Europe to the United States, you see a very big discrepancy in fashion and style. When you see fashion, sometimes it’s unattainable. On the lower end, you have very cheap goods, tasteless goods from different parts of the world that [are] imported. On the high end, you have big names that we all know and are super expensive. What sets Connaisseur Paris [apart] is that we came up with the idea of giving luxury, elegance and style and making it affordable.