Master Debonair crowned best independent menswear retailer at Drapers Awards

A popular menswear store has won two prestigious fashion awards, including being crowned the best independent menswear retailer.

Sunday, 15th September 2019, 8:00 am
Updated Sunday, 15th September 2019, 8:00 am
Simon and Eve Whitaker at the Drapers Independents Awards 2019

Master Debonair, on Station Terrace, East Boldon, won the ‘Best Independent Menswear’ title at the Drapers Independents Awards 2019, which took place at The Brewery Inn in London on Wednesday, September 11.

The brand’s head stylist Sally Minns, was also recognised for going above and beyond in her role, as she took home the Rising Star Of The Year award.

Master Debonair was named Best New Business by Drapers in 2017 and was shortlisted in four categories for the 2019 awards, receiving more nominations over the years than any other independent retailer in the country.

Sally Minns (left) with Eve and Simon Whitaker at the Drapers Independents Awards 2019

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The store was founded by husband and wife Simon and Eve Whitaker in 2016 and now employs a workforce of more than 32 people across its North East signature store and head office.

“We never expected to win because the competition was really tough,” said Eve.

“We were up against some long-established menswear retailers and we have only been going for three and a half years.”

“We were really humbled even to be shortlisted with those people.”

Simon and Eve Whitaker with staff at their Master Debonair store in East Boldon

The retailer recently expanded to meet demand, taking over the neighbouring Gordon’s Butchers on Station Terrace in a £30,000 development.

They are currently renovating an upstairs space to make room for a capsule collection of women's clothing and will be launching their range of own-brand suits in October.

“For us it’s not about the brand it’s about the style of clothes,” continued Eve.

“For the last 18 months we have been working on designing and manufacturing our own suits.

“We’re expecting a delivery soon and will be having a big autumn/winter launch.”

Eve also praised Sally, who has been with the business for two years, for getting the recognition she deserved.

“We are delighted for Sally, that is really recognition for her contribution to Master Debonair’s success. She works across photography, styling and creative direction which is quite unique.”

She added: “It’s a real team effort. It’s our team and our customers who have won this award, not just us.”