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Interview: Michael Burns

Monday, July 10th, 2017

President’s in conversation with Michael Burns, founder of the NYC based M5 Showroom and recently also, M5 Shop.
Photos by Thomas Welch

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Your showroom, M5, has become a destination for menswear cognoscenti because you house and sell a fantastic edit of European and Japanese menswear. How did you get into such a specific niche? 

It was developed over the years but basically I work with brands that I like, that I would wear. That goes for me and the M5 Team.

Tell us a little about the M5 shop concept. 

The M5 Shop is a unique retail experience. It is by appointment only as it started as a way to work with some celebrity friends of the M5 Showroom. The average stay of a customer is one hour and 20 minutes. The store is staffed by the brand ambassadors from M5 Showroom so you have guys that know and love the brands they handle. It is a relaxed place to meet the guys from M5, talk about current events, how bad the NY Knicks are and of course about some fantastic clothing.

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What’s your story? How did you get into the apparel business? 

I got into the business about 20 years ago.

From high school, during university and after I worked for my uncle in the gaming industry in the USA and Mexico. My uncle used to take me with him on shopping trips to Louis Boston, Barneys and Bergdorf; he would buy new things and I would get some great hand-me-downs. From that I developed an appreciation for nice things. On trips to Italy and London I would pick up stuff from Stone Island and other great brands. A friend and his brother had a necktie factory outside of Milan, they were looking for someone to sell in America so I jumped in and that was the start, selling neckties. I should say, trying to sell neck ties I wasn’t very successful but it was a very useful experience and got me into a business that I really have a passion for.

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How has the new space on Varick St. been working out? You guys have some fantastic views of Manhattan… 

Right, fantastic views of NYC. We all love the space. It was a former photo studio and we kept one of the photo ramps to do our in house shoots and to make it available for others. The space also allowed us to open the M5 Shop in the same location and we are able to hold fun events inside as well as lend it to some charities that we believe in.

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What’s the best thing about running a style-oriented business in New York City? 

Well NYC is definitely a style city; style from street to luxury. You have to do it right here otherwise the city will call you out.

What is it about President’s that drew M5 to the brand? What, specifically, do you think sets Italian brands apart from brands from elsewhere in Europe? 

First I noticed the design and then on closer examination I could see the quality of the garments. After checking out President’s I met Guido, the designer, and from there I knew that M5 and President’s were on the same page.

I think Italians know quality, from the fabrics to construction. Sure they know style, we all know that but they are masters at producing “nice” things. I like high quality especially when it comes with a correct price, let’s say a fair price.

President’s is a very good value, Made in Italy, top fabrics, quality construction and classic modern design.

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President’s is available at M5 Shop in store and online here.