Aaron Cordell. You have to have noticed him. He’s that guy smart-phoning (maybe smoking a cigarette) on the northeast corner of Robertson and Beverly. Perhaps the best-dressed man in WeHo, he meticulously selects unlikely fabrics (like those for interiors), designs his own patterns – then has his clothes made by Klein Epstein & Parker (KEP), the made-to-measure outfit (sorry) that he is retail director of. When we met, his three-piece ensemble splattered the blues of a Chagal painting with the effect of Spin Art. He’s from Kansas City, but don’t let his midwestern politeness fool you. Cordell is so passionate about personal expression via fashion that he may be the first sartorial social worker you ever meet. “We are advisors,” he says and his most likely question for a client may be, “How does it feel?”
Cordell studied fashion design and then went into retail, working in “big box” stores, before being “shopped” by KEP owners, wife-and-hubby team Miray and Jeroen Bik.
The fashion house offers 10,000-plus fabrics, 100 different linings and 86 sizes. Named after the managers of Elvis, the Beatles, and the Rolling Stones, KEP recently celebrated its five-year anniversary with a grand opening party at a new location (302 N. Robertson Blvd.). “Our business has doubled since we started in 2011, but it was still scary to expand,” Cordell said. The new atelier is three times the size of the original and additional staff has been hired.
KEP’s fabrics come Italy and Great Britain. Explains Cordell, “the Europeans do it best, and we wanted that for our clients.” Building relationships with such fabric houses forms the foundation of their value proposition. Cordell told about his most satisfying client experience. “Some of our customers may be large or somewhat overweight. They come in believing ‘fashion’ is not for them. I get to help them see that it is. That they can look good and feel confident.”
Klein Epstein & Parker takes a low-key, word-of-mouth approach to marketing. “Sixty to eighty percent of our business is referrals,” Cordell said. “We don’t believe our approach can be forced into a marketing message. What works for us is when customers tell their friends.” And Cordell does not mean only on social media. Throughout the WeHo store photos showing ecstatic clients wearing their new custom clothing tell the KEP story. “When a client texts me as they are putting on what we made for them and says thank you, that’s what we are after.”
When asked why the store is in WeHo, Cordell said, “This city is diverse in so many ways. There’s an easiness here. There are more voices. We like that.”
Klein Epstein & Parker
302 N. Robertson Blvd.
West Hollywood, CA 90048