By Wendy Wilkinson, Contributing Writer
Recently awarded Most Influential Designer in the PETA Vegan Fashion Awards, 2015, professor, fashion designer and blogger Joshua Katcher is also an animal rights and environmental activist. Founder of The Discerning Brute, a men’s lifestyle website that focuses on fashion, food, etiquette and ethics, Kathcher profiles creative influencers who want to redesign the world, redefine success, and look good doing it.
An adjunct professor of fashion at Parson’s The New School in New York, he is reexamining current production methods in the textiles world and ethics in fashion production, aspiring toward a more viable model that provides visionary solutions for fashion. Katcher started his upscale men’s ready-to-wear line Brave GentleMan, after two years of exploring a more humane world on The Discerning Brute, researching the very best men’s designers, brands and lifestyle products, “that met a rare combination of a stringent and moral criteria,” Katcher explains proudly.
The thread that stitches Katcher’s mission and career together is confronting ways to work with environmental concerns and ethics in the fashion world, because he doesn’t believe that people take fashion seriously—both academically and in the business world. “Fashion is seen as frivolous even though it has tremendous world-wide ramifications,” he explains. “It’s a pretty dangerous combination to be a global industry, that impacts millions of workers, animals and ecosystems everywhere and to be seen as something frivolous. We need to create aspirations around sustainability and ethics.” “Every choice you make has implications,” says Katcher, “and the industry needs incentives to make the right choice to use these sustainable and morally produced materials. I think we are on the verge of some remarkable innovations that are going to completely change the way that textiles are made.”
Today, the fur, leather and suede industries have a huge global impact on pollution coupled with the moral responsibility of killing these animals for their hides and furs. “This is one of the reasons I started Brave GentleMan,” says Katcher, “I try to make fine tailored menswear in a menswear landscape where suede, leather and cashmere are king. I had to find superior materials, that were more ethical, performed better, looked better and were more sustainable.”
Katcher’s years of research and development have paid off and he is now at a point where Brave GentleMan is able to produce beautiful and elegant tweed suiting for men where, “the materials are made from waste cotton and waste poly, and yet look and feel like a beautiful wool suit.”
PHOTO CREDIT: JULIA CAWLEY, BRAVE GENTLEMAN