Keen on sharpening your sartorial sensibilities? The gents at Hardly Ever Found are more than willing to help.
One quick look at Hardly Ever Found’s website will tell you that the online boutique is out to make luxury menswear and accessories accessible, especially for the gents who are just starting out in their sartorial journey.
It’s name is quite a curiosity, too. In a sea of menswear brands and boutiques whose names are either mononyms or allusions to men’s lifestyle concepts, “Hardly Ever Found” stands out for its explicit brand promise, if not for its three-word name.
But, as one of the founders puts it, it’s a deliberate move.
“We wanted to focus on showcasing items that are difficult to find, rather than them only being menswear-oriented. This allows us to showcase a broader selection of items beyond classic menswear,” says Kevin Yapjoco, who is also the founder and creative director of Galán Manila.
From crisp shirts to pristine leather shoes, Hardly Ever Found’s selections are as stellar as they are diverse, from popular names like Pierre Balmain and Valentino to niche brands like Guy Laroche and Vanny Napoli.
“We’ve built up a sophisticated global network of suppliers, collectors, and estate sale specialists who we’ve befriended over the years. They know our discerning tastes and send us only the best pieces to select from,” adds co-founder Aaron Chan.
Joined by two other menswear aficionados—Tiño chief operating officer Tristan Ramirez and MANTLE’s Aurelio Icasiano III—it’s no wonder that the boutique offers an extensive portfolio of menswear goods.
Quite notable as well is Hardly Ever Found’s selection of authentic, quality fabrics, which Ramirez says is challenging to source within the Philippine menswear scene. “There’s a proliferation of mislabeled ‘Italian’ or ‘English’ wool fabric even with “Super 180s” or “Super 200s” woven in the selvedge, whereas in fact, these are 100% polyester or poly-wool blend fabrics sold at Php800 to Php2,500 per yard.”
With Hardly Ever Found, they offer off-season but genuine Italian or English fabrics at almost the same price point. “One of our objectives is to make these hard to find items accessible in the menswear scene,” he adds.
Yapjoco also notes that while there are still a lot of tailors in the Philippines, only a few have the capability to bring out the true beauty of quality fabrics. However, finding the right one who can size up the perfect pieces for you is worth the trouble.
“Men who have difficulty fitting in off the rack clothing should give tailoring a try. Not only will they have a better fit but they can also choose higher quality materials normally not found in ready to wear pieces,” he says.
Besides, as Ramirez emphasizes, there is that special feeling of elation when you wear bespoke clothing that fits you well. “It becomes a part of your identity when you wear one, and [you’ll feel good] when you know that ‘it is only yours alone.’ Clothes as an expression of one’s self will transcend especially if it is one made for you.”
Hardly Ever Found sees itself as the boutique for the gentleman who is just starting out in his menswear journey. “[Our ideal customer] values quality as well as value for money. He wants to buy nice things for himself but maybe can’t afford it right now,” Yapjoco adds.
As extensive as their wares are, the founders promise that they will expand their selections to include items such as bags and timepieces in the future. They also plan to launch a consignment service soon to cater to individuals who wish to resell pre-loved items.
And while their primary goal is to serve the classic menswear market, Yapjoco notes that if they see an opportunity to serve the avant-garde or contemporary menswear market, they can consider it in the future.