Buyers Select:
Costas Karageorge
The Business Fashion
Edition 101
Buyers Select takes you behind the scenes of your favorite stores to meet the people who choose what you’ll be wearing this season.

The English city of Leicester might not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about high fashion, but Costas Karageorge has been on a mission to change that since the early ’00s. At just 18-years-old, he founded The Business Fashion, a multi-label outlet that’s now widely recognized for carrying some of the most exciting brands in the industry today. 
Karageorge and his team source their offering directly from the world’s most vital fashion events and their selection has drawn international attention, counting Kanye West and Lionel Messi among its fans.
So, before he heads to Florence in January, we sat down with Karageorge to learn more about how he curates The Business Fashion and what he’s looking forward to the most at Pitti 101. 

How would you describe The Business Fashion aesthetic?  

There isn't an aesthetic as such, it’s more of a carefully curated store comprising manufacturers, designers, and brands that I like. Each party has its own look and identity represented on a rail. 
What trends/styles resonate the most with your customers?

The customer we target is the guy that's always looking for something fresh and new, they are not looking for heavily branded items. It's a specific guy with self-confidence that doesn't care about fitting in with society or following [trends], they come to us to find something interesting and special. An interesting [person] with an open mind.

What are you hoping to find at Pitti this year? What will you be looking out for?

I am looking for emerging designers, brands looking to make a resurgence, and products of superior quality.  

Which designer/brand are you most excited to see at Pitti this season? Why?

I really appreciate Herno and Lardini, brands that have the know-how and produce for many other brands — it's always interesting to see the quality on their own label. I will visit SLOGGI x 032C (Pitti is great for discovering collaborations), I see Bikkembergs is back so I will take a look at what they have planned, and finally, Ann Demeulemeester. I am sure it’s going to be one of the important brands in the future.

What would you say is the most exciting aspect of menswear today?

We have so many options compared to the past. Each morning, when you wake up and decide on your selection of outfit, you have to choose wisely as it says something about yourself, anyone that you are going to meet for the first time will have an impression before you even say hello based just on your choice of footwear and ability to create your outfit. We live in a time that we can choose who we want to be.
What would you like to see more of/what do you think is lacking in contemporary menswear?

I would like to see smaller companies having more market share. Consumers all want the same thing and a handful of companies really dominate the market. It would be nice if people were less influenced by the label and would experiment with something different. I am all for taking risks and if I see something I really like I am quick to invest. 
What clothes do you take with you to Pitti? Take us through your packing process.

This is always an important decision to make before a trip. At the moment I am debating to dress in Japanese, Americana, or avant-garde, as I am starting at Pitti then straight to Milan then finishing off in Paris. It’s important that my choices all gel together and can be rotated because I am away for 2 weeks at a time and space is limited. I usually go for a walk around the store a week before the trip and I stock up on statement pieces that stand out. As it’s a winter exhibition I love to play with layers and textures. If I was only going to Pitti I would probably choose to take some tailored pieces in beautiful fabrics and fits.

What’s your ultimate fashion staple? Why?

Shirts. In the summer, I like to opt for either a kimono or a cool printed Cuban. Kanye West once told me that regardless of how hot it is, he always makes the effort to complete a full look with a jacket. So, during summer, spring, and autumn — whenever it’s a little warmer — a good way to achieve [that completed look] is to use an overshirt. In winter it’s time for a flannel shirt. I like to take a shirt and dress it down with shorts or track pants, which makes it cooler than just wearing it in a traditional way. 

What, in your view, makes the Pitti experience special?

 It’s an important date for any serious buyer’s calendar and can’t be missed.  It’s a multicultural meeting place for a community of like-minded people who travel from all corners of the world to attend the fair. The venue, a 14th-century fortress in the center of Florence, is something very magical, and there are always lots of events and interesting things to do in the evenings. I love the buzz of Pitti and seeing the outfits. It’s always a highlight of the year. I am honored that my job allows me to attend such places and that they exist.