“I can’t think of any guys who love wading through high street crowds on a Saturday afternoon in order to buy a new winter jumper,” says Kieran O’Neill when considering the men’s approach to fashion. Unlike in the past, men do want to look good when dressing and be praised for it by colleagues, family, friends and partner. Nevertheless, they still want things to be as easy as it gets. Thread, the company O’Neill launched in 2012, offers men the service of personal stylists for free, who create personalized looks for them according to their needs and preferences. First, Thread users must go through an online questionnaire that analyzes their personal fashion preferences and also asks practical information like size, favorite fits, brand preferences, desired spending per product category, dressing habits and income. Afterwards, human stylists decode the data gathered online and configure looks that are sent to users, who can decide then whether to purchase certain products or not. Once an order is made, Thread buys it directly from affiliated retailers and arranges delivery to the client, so that customers don’t have to visit third-party websites. At present, Thread operates only in the UK and partners with affiliated retailers such as Urban Outfitters, End Clothing, Liberty, Burberry and Paul Smith, among others. The company currently has over 228,000 users paired with stylists, and about 4,000 new users a week. Here, O’Neill discusses with us about why men still need professional assistance when dressing and the male shopping behavior. Interview by Lorenzo Molina

What is the average age of your male user?
Most Thread users are in the range from 26 to 45, but we see every kind of guy using the site—from the 21-year-old uni grad starting his first job to the older guy who wants to dress better but doesn’t have the time to go to a bunch of shops to find the best things for him.

Men have more information about fashion and beauty on the Internet than ever before. Also image-driven apps like Instagram to search for inspiration on outfits. Why do they keep on needing professional assistance when dressing? And, are they willing to pay for it?
I think that, more than ever, guys want to dress well, in part because they have more access to information and inspiration about clothes and dressing than ever before. But it’s not easy to take that barrage of information and translate it into a wardrobe of clothes they look good in. With Thread every guy can have access to an expert who knows what he looks like, what he likes and his budget, who can bring him a short list of the best clothes for him—and make it all really easy. Also, it’s free.

You told in an old interview that "men want to look good but don't like the hassle involved". Isn't the youngest male generation as shopaholic as their female counterparts?
Of course there are men who avidly follow fashion. But most don’t. And I can’t think of any guys who love wading through High Street crowds on a Saturday afternoon in order to buy a new winter jumper—only to be unsure about whether it actually looks good on them. Most men want a better way, and we have the chance to create a new default for how they buy clothes.

Do you think that brick-and-mortar stores are lacking of good styling service for customers? Why?
Most small stores don’t keep personal stylists on staff, and if they do most guys couldn’t afford to hire one. By using technology to make it easy for stylists to find the best clothes for each guy, we’re able to offer that personal styling experience—for free.  

What are the most important features that men carefully check when buying clothes? Men are said to be more brand-loyal than women and to care more about quality than design... is this still up-to-date?
We did some research and found that the average British man spends more on clothes each year than the average woman—$1,020 per year versus $945. But we also found that on average guys wear only 13% of the clothes in their closets. So although guys spend more, they return to the staples they feel comfortable in time and again.

Thread's style director Shaunie Brett
Thread's style director Shaunie Brett