05/10/2017 - 15:18

Borgioli right at home on King Street

05/10/2017 - 15:18
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It was in the aftermath of a profoundly emotional moment that Terence Borgioli, then 23, decided to chase his dream of starting a luxury fashion business.

Terence Borgioli is moving into Perth’s luxury retail strip. Photo: Attila Csaszar

It was in the aftermath of a profoundly emotional moment that Terence Borgioli, then 23, decided to chase his dream of starting a luxury fashion business.

Eight years later he’s taken his self-branded, high-end label, Borgioli, to another level, moving from bespoke men’s tailoring to a ready-to-wear line with a flagship store on Perth’s King Street, which is host to top international retailers.

The King Street store, and an online shop, are opening later this month, after two previous attempts to secure a deal to give his brand a home.

“I remember sitting on the floor (very upset) … and then went, right that’s enough,” Mr Borgioli told Business News.

“And I don’t know what possessed me to do it but I was in love with the (fashion) brand Arthur Galan.

“I sat there on my floor with a flip Motorola trying to find (Arthur Galan’s) number … a random PDF press release popped up and I thought I’d give the publicist a call.

“It was his direct line, he answered.”

Mr Galan offered an hour of his time, and Mr Borgioli said it had been a surreal ride ever since.

Two years later, he launched a bespoke range, with an initial investment of around $100,000.

The Perth-based label got off to a great start, with a close friend becoming his first client and making a major purchase.

“Just off that one client and where he was at in business, and Perth being a very keep up with the Jones (town) ... my phone went crazy,” Mr Borgioli said.

“It’s almost like a scene from a film where it’s just seeing dollar signs coming in.

“I was still my own worst enemy at the time, because it came too quickly in a sense.”

He twice got close to a deal with FJM Property for a space in the State Buildings precinct, however, both moves fell through.

But he continued looking for space, and eventually, landed the basement at 69 King Street to embark on his move into a ready-to-wear line.

The space will have extra trappings, with a barber shop and a bar for clients to enjoy while getting their suits fitted.

The lease is for five years and Borgioli will be in good company, as King Street is the Perth home to some of the world’s most notable high-end labels.

They include Gucci, Prada, Chanel and Louis Vuitton, although the precinct's high rents have led a number of tenants to close over the years.

Borgioli will be the first store to open in the precinct in at least two years, Business News understands.

Part of the move into a ready-to-wear range has been driven by the economic slowdown in Western Australia, and Mr Borgioli will have to navigate a tough retail environment.

Fast-fashion operators, which are at the opposite end of the retail spectrum from Borgioli, have struggled in recent years, with Top Shop’s Australian arm running aground earlier this year and many stores to be closed.

Department store Myer is also due to shut some of its outlets nationally, and in WA, retail spending growth is stagnant.

However, Mr Borgioli shrugged off the difficult market.

“I didn’t want anything to deter me from doing it exactly as I saw it,” Mr Borgioli said.

He planned to take the brand to an international audience, with the clothes manufactured in Italy and Spain.

“The only reason why I’m having a shopfront is to service local clientele,” he said.

“The strategy very loosely outside of that is to take the brand to the market globally.

“If I or anyone else were to rely on just the local audience in terms of population or volume of traffic you couldn’t survive.”

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