Joshua Katcher is pushing the paradigm and evolving vegan fashion with his awesome website The Discerning Brute: fashion, food & etiquette for the ethically handsome man. While Katcher’s website is geared towards men, I see his dapper vegan aesthetic as having a cross-over appeal to many queers, especially for those on the market for vegan clothing and an ethical wardrobe. I mean, the man wrote a post titled The Handy Dandy, Dandy. In addition to his dapper fashion sense, Kather’s website addresses fashion and the environment in posts like Pride and Luxury.
In a recent interview, Katcher is quoted as saying:
“I was vegan before I was out as gay. I was terrified; I felt I had totally compromised my manhood by being vegan – and then I was gay, too.”
I recently asked Katcher a couple questions about his website and fashion line The Brave Gentleman.
Jamie: Firstly, you are doing awesome things at The Discerning Brute. Can you tell us a bit about your motivation with the website?
Katcher: My motivation for the Discerning Brute is simple. I want to show mainstream men and their friends that not only is it easy to make ethical decisions, but it is emboldening, pleasurable and rewarding to do so. I try to communicate this message in a way that appeals to mainstream (or perhaps, slightly left of mainstream) male identity. When I started the website, most of the ethical and sustainable lifestyle world was being geared toward women, appealing to their feminine qualities of being a nurturer and empathizer. However, many mainstream men are terrified of being perceived as feminine. That’s where the appeal of striving toward being a protector, defender, aesthete, hero, visionary and sleuth can come into play.
*Items available now at the Brave GentleMan shop.
Jamie: Finding vegan friendly winter wear can be a daunting task. For those looking to avoid leather and wool this winter, where do you recommend they begin their shopping venture?
Katcher: Vaute Couture offers some great men’s option, as does Hoodlamb and Nau. I’d start there, and if that’s too pricey, check out Military surplus stores, second-hand stores and vintage boutiques.
Jamie: Are there any particular designers you have your eye on this season? And tell us about your own line The Brave Gentleman.
Katcher: I really love how the John Bartlett Collection has evolved into a vegan and sustainable brand. I’ve been to his runway shows, seen his new stuff, and he is also a good friend of mine. My own line, Brave GentleMan, is still in it’s early stages when it comes to my classic, tailored suits. They are designed in New York, constructed in Italy, and made from fine Italian, French and Japanese sustainable textiles like recycled PET, organic cotton, Tagua nut and hemp. I am hoping to do a lot with Brave GentleMan, so definitely keep an eye out!
Jamie: Do you have any advice for our readers concerned with finding appropriate fits when it comes to winter wear for the more masculine of center?
Katcher: The fit of clothing has many factors. What is your personal style? Do you like to show off your physique in a tailored and narrow suit, or do you prefer the look of a silhouette that departs from the classic male form? One thing that should always fit correctly are shoes, but it would seem everything else is up for grabs. Personally, I prefer the look that it fitted to and enhances the classic masculine form. Broad shoulders leading into a narrow waist with straight legs. It might be hard to find what look works best for you, but don’t be afraid to try things on that you would never otherwise give a second thought, and also consider what message you send out with your clothes. The semiotics of fashion is a majorly overlooked but incredibly powerful form of visual communication. Items that those who like a masculine aesthetic should seek out are all classic indicators of strength and influence. A suit, a flannel button down, suspenders, boots, denim, knitted ties, newsboy caps and biker jackets are all a good place to start.
Thanks again to Katcher for taking the time to answers these questions. Please check out the Brave Gentleman shop.