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Joshua Katcher has a reputation as a rebel wunderkind in the fashion world, thanks to the elegant and animal-product-free menswear he designs for his brand, Brave GentleMan. With its dapper pieces made from innovative materials, Katcher’s Fall/Winter 2014–15 collection, debuting at New York Fashion Week last September, seized the attention of the mainstream media.
What inspired you to start Brave GentleMan?
In researching [for The Discerning Brute, Katcher’s blog] men’s lifestyle products and fashion that met my set of standards and principles, I noticed a lack of high-quality options. So
in 2010, I decided to make the things I hoped to find. I began with a shoe collaboration with Novacas, which is ongoing, and later began making men’s suits that were free of wool, horsehair, and other animal fibers often associated with fine menswear. From bioplastics and plant-based organics to recycled cotton and recycled poly blends, there are luxurious and durable materials that
largely get ignored by the mainstream fashion community.
Do you have any advice for someone aspiring to create animal-friendly fashion?
If you want to be a designer or artisan working in fashion, first and foremost you should produce good design. Nothing will make a better argument for ethical fashion than beautiful ethical fashion. It’s like food: if you want to win people over with vegan food, it has to be superb and exciting.
Are you into cooking? What’s your favorite meal to make?
I really love making stew. Especially as the weather gets colder, I like going to the farmers’ market and getting a bunch of organic squash and mushrooms and garlic and shallots and adding any number of greens, then slowly cooking it all in a really savory broth for a big, hearty, hot stew.
Tip: When it comes to gentlemanly winter style, Joshua Katcher recommends “cohesive layering”: slim-cut shirt and fitted suit or blazer (that can be swapped for a motorcycle jacket for an edgier look). Pocket squares and bow ties add interest and polish without bulk.