THE CLASS ROOM ~ JON ‘CABBY’ CABALLERO
Jon Caballero, most commonly known as “Cabby”, can easily be considered one of Houston’s top men’s fashion insiders. As the Co-Owner and President of The Class Room, Cabby and his team of masterminds have brought style to Houston in ways other men’s boutiques haven’t. His style is impeccable, and he’s one of the most down to earth individuals you would ever meet. Thankfully, The Class Room reflects just that. We had the opportunity to interview Cabby and get more insight on his style, and why The Class Room has been creating such a buzz.
@KeagaNoelle: Tell us a bit more about yourself ? Are you originally from Houston?
Well I am a Houston native born and raised on Northwest. I went to Klein Forest high school
and later attended University of Texas in Austin. There I studied management information systems and
obtained my bachelor’s degree. After graduating, I took up a corporate gig, where I performed mostly IT audit work, specifically SOX(Sarbanes-Oxley)compliance audits
. All the projects I was getting staffed on, were SOX audits and I began getting bored with it. I always wanted to open a boutique, so I started saving and putting some money aside, along the way of my corporate career
, in case opportunity happened to present itself. I left the corporate field in June 2011, and along with my business
partners, opened ‘The Class Room’ in November 2011.
@KeagaNoelle: Out of curiosity, where does Cabby come from?
I think it comes from middle school
, playing basketball and stuff. My legal name is Jon Caballero and I was called Cabby for short. I am also known as Cabby James(@cabby_james). One time a friend of mine didn’t know my middle name, and he said to another friend “What’s his name? He looks like a James”. And that’s how that came about. Haha.
@KeagaNoelle: Tell us a little bit more about ‘The Class Room’ . When and how did it start and how long have you been in business?
Cabby: My Freshman year in college, I was called a ‘sneakerhead’, although I wasn’t sure I was worthy of that title. I had quite a few sneakers but not nearly enough, in my opinion. But I was really into sneakers. Premium goods and Tipping point were the only two sneaker boutiques in Houston at the time. And this was back 2003. I felt that there were no real ‘streetwear’, or at least not enough boutiques in Houston. My interest began to grow, and not just in sneakers, but style/streetstyle overall. Over the years, my style began to change gradually. At this point I was now in the corporate world and so the streetwear style, began to conflict with how I wanted and needed to represent myself as an individual. I quickly began to notice that there was a need to bridge a gap between streetstyle and traditional menswear.
@KeagaNoelle: So if your style were a car what would it be?
Cabby: It would probably be a 3 series coupe…with a really interesting interior. I’m more about subtle details that set things apart… I know the way I dress seems pretty normal. Right? Maybe just a t-shirt or button down with jeans. But little details, like how my clothes fit, or some of my accessories, or maybe the lining of a suit jacket I have. I’m more about those kind of things. Like a 3 series coupe. They’re pretty common, but you just have to customize it. It (a 3 Series Coupe) could really set itself apart with the small details. There’s something classic about it. With my style, I try to have a classic aesthetic to where it won’t get played out.
@KeagaNoelle: What is a style tip you would give to women?
Cabby: If you’re going to walk in heels, know how to walk in heels. I love when women wear heels, and I also love when women are able to flip their style. Like a woman that’s as comfortable in heels as she is in J’s. Even if you’re a tom-boy, know how to walk in heels like a lady.”
@KeagaNoelle: What is your impression of fashion and style community in Houston and how would you grow it?
Cabby: The style and fashion culture in Houston is late I think, in terms of trend. We are kind of late to get them. It takes about 2 years for us to adopt almost anything new in Houston. I do think Houston is gaining the awareness. But the maturity isn’t really there to figure out the Houston lifestyle or what fits the individual. To make matters worse, right now there is no ‘distinct style’ staple to the city unlike New York or Cali. But I do think we are in the first stages where people are conscious and aware of their appearance, and wanting to have style. In terms of how we intend to do our part in growing Houston style, it really is by being true to ourselves. By this, I mean putting out things and products that WE really like and are passionate about.
@KeagaNoelle: What would you consider to be key pieces in building a wardrobe or an item every man must have?
Cabby: I think it depends on the person’s lifestyle. For instance if you’re a business person, your lifestyle would be different. I would probably say every guy needs to have a charcoal grey suit. And it should fit correctly. Now for me ‘Cabby’, It would probably be a pair of good white tennis shoes. I can dress this down or dress it up, and basically wear it with anything.
@KeagaNoelle: Cuff Links, Bow Ties, or Lapel Flowers?
Cabby: My favorite accessory for a suit is actually none of the three that you mentioned. I actually have 2, right now. The number one is a pocket square. I think it’s so versatile. A subtle pocket square, with a detail that highlights a different color tone within your suit. I think that does a lot. Even sticking with a plain white pocket square. And then something I haven’t done yet, but I want to incorporate are the collar pins – or the collar bars. You’ll see them if you watch Boardwalk Empire, and even a little bit of Mad Men. It’s something that hasn’t really been popularized yet.
@KeagaNoelle: What sets The Class Room apart from any other men’s wear boutique in Houston in your opinion?
Cabby: I think the number one thing is our customer service. We try to be friendly and personable, without being pushy. And we know that not everybody likes to be bothered when they shop. But if you need advice, we’ll give you any help that we can. We try to be very honest. If something doesn’t look right, we’re going to tell you because we’re just not trying to get a sale. We are trying to establish a relationship with our customers so they can learn to trust us, and we can help them develop their personal style. You’re not going to find a lot of our brands in Houston; or Texas for that matter. We carry brands that are highly sought after in other boutiques, highly respected throughout the world, and we are fortunate to carry them and bring them to Houston. Even if we do carry similar brands to what other boutiques may carry, a lot of the styles that we pick are different and reflect our personal styles. It’s a reflection of us. Everything about The Class Room is genuine; from the customer service to the products we bring.
@KeagaNoelle: What are some brands that pretty exclusive to The Class Room that can’t be found anywhere in Houston?
Cabby: Norse Projects, Rogue Territory Denim….I don’t think anybody is carrying Naked and Famous denim anymore – ever since Barney’s Co-Op closed. There used to be one or two other places that carry A.P.C. but I checked the A.P.C. website the other day and we’re the only Houston stockist listed. Mark Mcnairy, Vanishing Elephant, Our Legacy, the Brooklyn Circus, Shwood sunglasses, DSPTCH [accessories]. We carry Unis, who is known for their perfect fitting chino – and that’s not just hype, they really are the best fitting chinos. Zanerobe out of Australia, we just got them in. Jungmaven, another made in the USA t-shirt brand. Our Ebbets Field Flannels “Houston” hat is a custom hat they make for us. Actually, come to think of it, the majority of our brands are exclusive to us. I think there are only 3 or 4 brands in our store that you could find in other boutiques or stores in Houston.
@KeagaNoelle: What can we expect from The Class Room in the Fall?
Cabby: For the Fall we’ll be going a little deeper with the brands we carry. We’ll have more products from them. We’ll be carrying more outerwear [than we have in the past]. We’ll also be bringing in more from the A.P.C. collection [as opposed to just their denim], which I’m actually really excited about. We are looking at bringing in a new denim brand – but I don’t want to speak on that yet because it might be a surprise. And our 2 year anniversary is in November, so there’s definitely going to be a huge party. I’ve already started cooking up some ideas so we’ll see.
You can find The Class Room at 2534 Amherst St. Houston, TX 77005. In the meantime, visit their website and please be sure to follow any of their media pages.
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