Friday, November 13, 2009

Tony Q: Q+A

(Photos courtesy of The Associated Press/Reuters Photos/Getty Images/Q'aja)

I was fortunate enough recently to get a few words out of my buddy Tony Q'aja, founder of Q'aja Couture and a longtime KC supporter. I caught up with Tony on the current state of the style game on the US and European Tours, what we can expect from Q'aja in the coming year and how it is having a young US player wearing his designs...

1.   There are a lot of golf polos and trousers on the market, what sets Q'aja apart and how is Q'aja working on staying updated to meet buyers demands? Yes, Sean. There seems to be a growing trend to have a golf line.  There are designer brands that feel they have to have a golf line to stop their consumer from going to other brands that do a golf line and indirectly start becoming a consumer of the opposing brand.

As you know, Q’aja has a background [in] tailoring, where we have to consider how a garment should fit a consumer.  The fit of a garment has to be created with a thought for what the garment is going to be used for.  It is these important considerations that make Q’aja distinctly clothing [for golf.]   

So we had to create garments that would look good (fit), feel good (fabric), and perform well (functionality).

Our ready-to-wear pants have a unique adjustable waistband that helps towards a perfect fit.  For those of you that have the athletic figure (hate you), with a small waist and large seat (ok, ass) you can buy the larger size and glide the waistband until you are comfortable.  For those of us with a good living athletic figure (ok, large) you can get the pants to fit nice on the seat and glide the waistband out.

Fabrics are very important.  We use natural, cool wool for our pants and merino wool with polyester for our polos.  The wool keeps your body temperature cool in heat and warm in the cold.  Q’aja is created for the savvy guy that can appreciate and understand these attributes.

We are always looking at ways of improving our products, not just from a design perspective but also functionality.  We hope that Q’aja actually initiates the demand from the buyers through its creativity.  Remember, when we created the [V] slits at the hem of the pants, initially people were not sure; but now everyone is wearing them because they are not only functional but also good-looking and different.


2.  What do you think was the biggest golf moment of 2009? Ricardo Gonzalez’s victory on the European Tour.  After four barren years of just qualifying and getting his card, he finally put in a performance that even Tiger would have been proud of.  Five birdies out of his last six holes which consisted of some amazing shots through trees and bunkers....truly amazing! The fact that he had just started to wear Q’aja clothing just two months prior, well that’s another conspiracy theory.......

3.  You have a young US PGA Tour player, Scott Piercy, sporting Q'aja in the US. How has having a young staff influenced your designs? It has been good to have a US player in our stable.  I have to say the US market generally has a very conservative view as far as fashion goes.  You have also been brought up in the world of ‘dress down,’ ‘easy-fit’ and washing machines.

So I was keen to show the Q’aja  ethos to you guys.  Scott Piercy decided he wanted to have a different look than the other players and understood the benefits of the products and their quality fabrics.  Again, as Scott will tell you, the positivity he feels everytime he goes out to play is because of the feel-good factor he gets when he puts  Q’aja label clothing on.  Oh, and he’s not had a bad maiden year either!

We introduced some trendier designs for some of our younger players without going overboard.  Remember Q’aja is about sophisticated style.  These have been introduced initially through our world exclusive bespoke Polo facility.

4. We've been speaking for some time now about the Q'aja "bespoke polo" service. Is this currently being offered in the UK? Can we expect this service to appear in the US soon? The bespoke Polo facility has been introduced into the UK and US but only on a private basis at present.  The problem we have with making it commercially available is cost.  Golf stores or Country clubs feel that their consumers wouldn’t spend too much on a golf product!  On the contrary we receive numerous enquiries from around the world asking for these exact products and consumers want these.  So we are in the process of setting up a ‘Friends of Q’aja’  stable.  Consumers can join for £10 or $15 and have access to the bespoke sevice at special rates.  This will enable them to order some of the unique styles that the Tour players will be wearing, Limited editions.  They will also be able to get styling or fitting advice, just like the celebrities.  Add to all this advance viewing and ordering of the following seasons ready-to-wear line again at preferential rates.  Anyone interested should send an email to stating interest in ‘Friends of Q’ and state they live in. (Editor's Note: It should also be mentioned that Phil Mickelson, having no clothing deal and the choice of anything to wear, chooses Q'aja bespoke polo services...)

5.  Since guys are often wearing styled/scripted outfits on Tour, how much would you say personal style plays a role? How would you describe your own personal style? Many brands will instruct which outfit their tour player should wear and when.  Others will just send boxes of products and let the player mix and match on his own accord, which in my opinion, can be a very dangerous thing!  Personal style, I think, is very important.  You have to be able to look at the person’s personality, complexion, hair and of course, his size.  The clothing needs to reflect these personal attributes in a manner that makes the player feel good.  If the player feels good in the clothing it will be very apparent on-screen and bodes well for the brand.  It has to be a happy marriage.

My personal style is probably reflected in my collections.  Sadly, I am no longer a teenager or the athletic soccer player of my youth.  I have grown to appreciate quality and sophistication.   In a small paraphrase, ‘Classic with a Twist’, just like Q'aja...



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Q'aja Couture is one of the few labels that looks as cool and Sophisticated on a 50 year old, as it does on a 20 year old. You can't beat a well tailored garment. Just ask Samuel L. I am loving the use of natural fabrics. Keep up the good work Tony!