The Suit Maker Whose Clients Include Jay Z and LeBron James


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Guy Wood, seated, at Harlem Haberdashery with, from left, Louis Johnson Jr., Guy Wood Jr., Sharene Wood and Kells Barnett.

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Brad Ogbonna for The New York Times

The Notorious B.I.G. rapped about Coogi sweaters. But when he needed a suit, he went to Guy Wood. Since 1992, under the name 5001 Flavors, Mr. Wood has supplied custom-tailored suits and outerwear to a high-profile clientele that includes Jay Z, LeBron James, Fat Joe and Will Smith.

“Whatever you thought of, we could make come to life,” Mr. Wood said. “No longer did you have to run along and shop for something that didn’t exist.” In 2012, with family members and a friend, he opened Harlem Haberdashery, at 245 Lenox Avenue (Malcolm X Boulevard). The store offers everything from richly brocaded suits to statement caps that read “Billionaire New York.”

You have unique motorcycle jackets.

We’ll take a fabric that’s not for a motorcycle jacket and convert it. We do this neoprene one with a tartan plaid print. Fabolous has it. I even do one in white wool. I source my leathers all locally, in the fashion district and certain tanneries, but I can’t give away all my secrets.

Do you make your own line of denim?

Yes. It’s raw selvage denim. This is our slim-fitting jean that you can wear with a dress shoe. What happened is that hip-hop has grown up. It’s very on-trend and fashionable. Now everyone wants to be cleaned up: slimmer trouser, cleaner shirt, not four times the size that fits. That trend has died. It will be back in 25 years.

Do you have a background in tailoring?

My mother was a seamstress. I picked up the knack. I stick to the basics. Jackets may have gotten shorter, but I’m not trying to get a hood on your blazer. Maybe for a video, but for your personal style you want something simple, something that you can wear again. I can put your name in lights on the back of a jacket. But will you wear that again?

Do you also run the line Billionaire New York?

Billionaire New York is my son Guy Jr. It’s all made in the same factory. His is more evening glitz. He’s the bling. I might do a regular tuxedo jacket, but he’ll take it to another level. He’s Vegas. I might be Atlantic City.

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