Alan Au’s experience in the menswear business began before he was old enough to crawl. Alan grew up in a playpen set up in the back tailor shop in his father’s first clothing store, absorbing the knowledge from his father. As a young boy he sorted spools of sewing thread and bins of coat and shirt buttons while his parents helped customers in the retail shop. Promoted to helping customers many years later as a salesperson’s assistant, he went on to college to study fashion merchandising at Pasadena City College, and retail marketing and business administration at the University of Southern California. Alan is credited for changing the direction of the family’s short men’s specialty business, Jimmy Au’s For Men 5’8” and Under, from carrying a strictly traditional range of fashion to introducing a more contemporary mix of clothing. Currently Alan is promoting and directing the most significant addition to the men’s fashion industry in the last quarter century.
Alan is credited for directing his father (Jimmy Au) to work with designer brands such as Michael Kors, DKNY, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Kenneth Cole to produce tailored fashion for men under 5’5”. Jimmy Au is recognized as the leading authority in the men’s fashion industry when it comes to developing and designing quality clothing for shorter men. Jimmy Au felt that major designer labels (see above) would have little interest in such a financially small segment of the population – Alan disagreed and approached several designer manufacturers to investigate further. Their patternmakers and Jimmy Au met soon after this and over several years of collaboration and development created the first-ever designer clothing line for men under 5’5” in the world. Jimmy Au’s For Men 5’8” and Under now carries the only tailored clothing collection for men under 5’5” that includes DKNY, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Jack Victor and Remy Leather. Alan is currently pursuing the development process of introducing extra short sizes in Sean John, Michael Kors and Giorgio Armani.
Alan is also credited with securing Jimmy Au’s For Men 5’8” and Under as the official “Fine Menswear Provider” to the Jockeys’ Guild of America. After his father’s long early career in the custom suit business catering to the jockeys, Alan felt it was time to return to that business. However, not as a custom suit provider, but as a retailer. The planning for this started back in 2002 as certain clothing development and a campaign launch was to coincide with the premiere of Seabiscuit. The agreement between the Jockeys Guild and Jimmy Au's For Men 5'8" and Under would ensure, to some degree, the development of extra short and extra small sizes of clothing previously unavailable to jockeys.
Alan Au is also the publisher of the only national newsletter dedicated to the shorter man titled “Success, Style and the Shorter Man”. The newsletter focuses on fashion and lifestyle challenges shorter men face and offers fashion solutions and success stores of men of short stature. The philosophy of the publication is to be “vertically driven, not vertically challenged”.
Alan has been featured in all types of media outlets speaking about the challenges shorter men face from a consumer, retailer and manufacturing perspective (see below). Au has spoken on a wide variety of topics including how shorter men can dress better, how shorter men are ignored by the clothing industry and ways of minimizing the stress many shorter men encounter when shopping for clothing.
Alan’s effort to clothe those in Hollywood is more prevalent than many may realize. Turn on any of the television networks and you’ll find Jimmy Au clothing on someone. Current and past shows include Alias, Crossing Jordan, The West Wing, ER, Just Shoot Me, Married With Children, Becker, Malcolm in the Middle, Seinfeld, Spin City, X-Files, Law and Order and a host of others dating back to Family Ties with Michael J. Fox. Past films include Collateral, Bewitched, Domino, The Italian Job, Agent Cody Banks, Terminator 3, and Intolerable Cruelty. Alan recently helped secure his father, Jimmy, to custom-make practically all of Danny Devito’s wardrobe for the recent sequel to Get Shorty, entitled Be Cool, starring John Travolta. New television projects include TLC’s Ten Years Younger and Fox’s new reality series Skating with Celebrities, hosted by Scott Hamilton (a loyal client). Recent surprise visits include, rap legend Flava Flav, of The Surreal Life 3 and skateboard pro, Jason Acuna better known as Wee-Man, the host of MTV’s Jackass.
More information can be found at Jimmy Au’s online store - www.jimmyaus.com.