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Shop Small Saturday: Merchant Menswear

Situated in the heart of Somerset, down by the river in Taunton, is contemporary menswear boutique Merchant Menswear.

Taking over the lease of his previous employer in 2018, and rebranding to build the boutique we know now, Antony Derdak set up Merchant Menswear to showcase a thoughtfully curated collection of brands with a key focus on quality fabrics and fits. “I always look for brands that offer something different to the high street,” says Antony, “and I am a firm believer in quality over quantity so look for products that will give flexibility in terms of outfit building.”

From Japanese selvedge denim via Edwin, to linen shirting from cult-favourites Portuguese Flannel and relaxed suiting Universal Works, Merchant menswear has all bases covered for your wardrobe re-up. Join us as we chat to Antony about his tips for shopping menswear well, and his top picks for the summer season ahead.

“Saturdays are for chilled mornings. They always start with a cup of tea, and if it’s on TV, an episode of Frasier. I’ll then head to the shop for around 9:30 ready to open up at 10am, check emails and put the kettle on for the second cuppa of the day.

Merchant Menswear is based in a small shopping development called Riverside Place and is full of small independent traders. It's quite an eclectic mix of shops, too -  from ladies boutiques, craft beer and a gin bar, to a butchers and a stand up paddle board shop which is great as we are right next to the river.”

“The store is pretty relaxed, and we like to not overcrowd the floor with products, as I think it's important to allow the clothes room to be seen, and you can really get a feel for what you like that way.

We have a lot of Carhartt WIP, it has such a strong following, and always does really well for us. My personal favourite range we stock though, and maybe I am a little biassed here, has to be our own-brand linen shirting which is all made in Italy, they are perfect for the summer.”

“I take a pretty reactive approach to changing up the store, working in the store virtually everyday I get to know what is selling and which areas our customers gravitate towards. I often think it looks the best colour blocked but if that isn’t working I’ll just rearrange the sections until it looks right.

Saturday nights after closing up the shop for the day are very rock ‘n’roll! They’re usually spent sharing a bottle of red with my wife and watching a history program on TV.”

Merchant’s Menswear Heroes:

What are your top 3 pieces for SS23? 

“Any t-shirt from Sunray, the quality is superb. Military Chino and London Jacket in navy twill from Universal Works, can be made up as a relaxed suit so ideal for weddings.”

What is a hero item you couldn’t live without in your own wardrobe? 

“Edwin selvedge denims, I am not a denimhead but I just love the character of the denim that  develops with wear.”

If you could only wear one brand for the rest of your life, which would you pick and why? 

“Universal Works. It's just a very wearable brand with a sensible price point, and importantly they are great people to deal with. I have never forgotten the gesture they made during the first lockdown.”

A menswear style icon you have always looked to for inspiration? 

“Richard Gere in American Gigolo.”

What are your top tips for our customers to keep in mind when shopping for good quality menswear? 

“I am a firm believer in quality over quantity so look for products that will give you flexibility in terms of outfit building - and without wishing to sound preachy, look to find items made closer to home.” Trusted Site