For Joshua Katcher, proprietor of Brave GentleMan, a nearly decade-old luxury men’s wear brand that traffics in sustainable, animal-friendly materials, the search for the perfect vegan suiting might finally—mercifully—be at an end.
It wasn’t an easy journey. After experimenting with everything from organic cotton canvas to a recycled cotton-polyester blend he dubbed “future wool,” Katcher, who is based in New York City, felt his frustration mount. For a time, he even suspended his suiting line altogether. “I just wasn’t happy with what was coming out,” he said.
Then he came across what he describes as “some of the most beautiful suiting fabric that I’ve ever handled,” with a hand that felt like cashmere with the wrinkle resistance to match. The material, it turned out, was bamboo, milled in Italy to be nearly indistinguishable from high-twist wool.
“It definitely has a more substantial feeling than what the past bamboos that I’ve interacted with,” Katcher said. “It has a drape very much like a super-fine wool. It has a little bit of sheen to it, so it looks very luxurious.”
Luxury is important to the Brave GentleMan ethos. When Katcher founded the brand in 2010, it was with the desire to relitigate the definition of luxury, this time without the casual butchery and environmental damage that breeding animals for fashion can engender.
“A lot of our conception of luxury has to do with access to power, and often that power is a celebration of ruthlessness,” he said. “Even if subconscious, there is a popular belief that something truly magnificent must require great sacrifice.”