This fashion week, it’s safe to say I wasn’t expecting to find myself sitting in a PowerPoint lecture. But that’s exactly what guests saw first at the Brave Gentleman presentation. Designer Joshua Katcher, whose line is 100% vegan and ethically made, introduced his new collection by first giving a short presentation about the history of fashion and animals. To be perfectly honest–it was fascinating.
Before Katcher started his fashion line and his lecture series, he was first preoccupied with a trend he saw frequently in fashion magazines: models pictured with live animals while also wearing items made from other animals. From there, an exploration into this trend had begun–what do these contradictory pairings reveal?
Katcher later combined his interests in environmentally friendly fashion and classic menswear with his line Brave Gentleman.
“I saw a void in the market, there weren’t many beautiful suits and shoes that met my standards. I found that other people had those standards, too,” said Katcher. The result is beautiful, classic menswear made with fabrics sourced from recycled materials. Upon viewing the collection, I couldn’t help but do a touch-test of the materials, and not only did they feel exactly like leather, suede, and their substitutes, they also looked amazing.
I caught up with the designer for a quick q&a:
What was the inspiration for this collection?
Taking traditional menswear cuts, giving them an edge, and having fun with innovative textiles. Very much about the feel and also how you feel wearing them. There’s a real revolution in menswear and suiting. With Brave we want men to feel confident with the brand, about both aesthetics and having pride in the production.
How much more difficult is it to source 100% vegan materials than to go the normal, largely unsustainable route?
It’s a fun challenge, but it’s becoming easier and easier. It’s not a limitation–instead I’ve been able to focus on sustainability. It’s difficult in a challenging, fun way that any good designer would take on.
What’s one piece of style advice you would give to the general male public?
Read the label, in the same way you read your food label. Abandon the idea of being a consumer, embrace being a citizen investor.
What person, real or fictional, would you most like to dress?
I would go back in time and dress Don Draper. He’s an ideas guy, he’d be excited about our approach. We’d do a trade; he’d do an ad, and I’d dress him.
If there was one song or album to capture the collection, what would it be?
“Yahoo or the Highway” album by Lockah.