New menswear business cuts a dash with SAFC favourite

A new boutique will be helping the region's men to cut a dash after opening its doors in East Boldon.

Tuesday, 10th May 2016, 5:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th May 2016, 9:51 am
Simon Whitaker outside his shop Master Debonair.

Tailoring, tweed and sharp suits with a twist are already flying out of the door at Master Debonair, which owners say is aimed at kitting out the “modern British gentleman”.

After online success, owner Simon Whitaker decided to leave his job as a sales director to open the boutique, which has transformed a former furniture shop in Station Terrace.

The shop in Station Terrace, East Boldon

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The suits have already proved popular with South Shields FC, after the store provided them with club suits – with former Black Cat favourite, turned Mariners midfielder, Julio Arca, the first to model the new dapper look.

Simon, himself an SAFC fan, said: “It was great to see Julio in the suit. We used to live in South Shields before moving to East Boldon and wanted to give something back, so contacted the club to ask if we could kit them out.”

Simon and his wife Eve were inspired to set up the store after Simon’s father, Robert Whitaker, died last November, aged 64.

“My dad was always a very snappy dresser, his very first job was at Burton, the tailors, in Sunderland,” said Simon.

Julio Arca in one of the new club suits.

“I wanted to dress smartly for his funeral, but really struggled to find things like lapel pins and tie clips.

“There just wasn’t anything out there.

“His sudden death also made me look at my own lifestyle and I decided it was time to make a change.” The unit in East Boldon became available a month ago, with Simon managing to turn it around in a fortnight, stocking brands including tailoring by Claudio Lugli, Bucktrout and Marc Darcy and shoes by Eves & Gray and Goodwin Smith.

“We want to offer something a little bit different to what you would get on your normal high street,” said Simon. “It’s all about the detail: the stitching, the lining, the buttons.

Julio Arca modelling the new South Shields FC club suit

“A lot of our suppliers say we’re actually bucking the trend by opening an actual store like this, as the independent market is shrinking.

“But customer feedback has been great. We’ve had men coming in aged from 18-80.

“One man said he’d always struggled to find suits to fit because he’s so tall, but he’s managed to find them here.

“Online, we’ve had orders from Scotland, Plymouth and Wales, with customers asking if we’re going to open shops elsewhere in the country.”

The shop in Station Terrace, East Boldon
Julio Arca in one of the new club suits.
Julio Arca modelling the new South Shields FC club suit