Episode #20 – Joshua Katcher: Bravely Challenging The Perception Of Ethical Fashion
“The only thing to combat the perception that an ethical lifestyle sacrifices pleasure is proof that it’s, in fact, extremely pleasurable.”
Joshua Katcher never saw himself getting into fashion. Or Fashion with a capital F. Vegan since high school, with anti-establishment, activist tendencies and an interest for punk-rock music, it’s pretty easy to understand why the fashion industry wouldn’t feature high on his radar. And yet…
Today, Joshua owns a brand of fine vegan menswear called Brave GentleMan which he established in 2010, shortly after he started blogging as The Discerning Brute (like the name? I love it!) about the effects and impact of fashion. Especially ethical, vegan fashion and how it can bring together the concepts of empathy and kindness with mainstream notions of masculinity.
If that sounds intriguing to you, you absolutely need to listen to this interview. Joshua is both concise and incredibly eloquent in his reasoning – one of the consequences of his fashion-based activism was a teaching post at Parsons School of Design, and I can imagine his lectures must be well-attended.
To tell you the truth, I could have spent the entire hour of our talk picking his brain for opinions on the fashion industrial complex, its parallels with the food industry, its anachronistic foundations and how to shake them by offering a different discourse on fashion. One that views it not as vanity, but as an extension of our natural sense of beauty.
This sets the basis of what Joshua does – the very practical lessons you can take away from this episode are his views on future materials and his approach to building an ethical fashion business. One that started with a pair of elegant black vegan dress shoes (even though he justifies well why he’s NOT marketing to vegans) and grew into a brand with a brick-and-mortar store in Brooklyn and investors knocking on the (figurative) door.
This talk is also a great example of how to set yourself up not to quit, regardless of how many chances you get, what being in the fashion business really means, and where are the areas of untapped potential that anyone looking to change the world with ethical, vegan clothing should consider.
Physical address of the Brave GentleMan store: 367 Graham Avenue (L Train Graham Avenue stop)
Main website and online store: Brave GentleMan
Joshua’s blog: The Discerning Brute
Book that reinforced Joshua’s vegan beliefs in high school: Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation*
Armani’s fur-free policy
Footwear and future leather collaborator: Moo Shoes
TechCrunch article on bio-fabricated spider silk
Finally, some vegan shops yo can find around Joshua’s Brooklyn store:
Modern Love restaurant by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
*This is an affiliate link – purchasing through it won’t cost you extra, but I’ll receive a small percentage of the sale, which I’ll gratefully use to create more great content for this site.
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