This Emerging Designer Wants to Get Guys Excited About Dressing Up Again

If there’s anyone who knows that the clothes make the man, it’s Whitney Michel. The designer and menswear expert has tackled the industry from every possible angle before deciding to leave her footprint on the industry and launch her own line, MICHEL MEN. Her extensive experience, which includes working for Vogue and being mentored by GQ’s veteran Creative Director at Large, Jim Moore, and strong brand ethos recently culminated in a collaboration with Tie Bar, which became the first brand to partner with the emerging menswear label.

It was a natural fit, which she calls a “perfect opportunity to bring what I really love to a brand like Tie Bar, which really tries to hold such tradition together for the everyday guy.” While working as a stylist, Michel frequently pulled pieces from the Chicago-based label for various celebrities. The Tie Bar, a brand that offers affordable, quality menswear with great customer service to help men navigate the sometimes confusing world of formal dressing, has a full grasp of the ever-changing menswear consumer, which is why the collaboration makes sense now—Michel was determined to mix her label’s type of casual sophistication with Tie Bar’s classic appeal.

The bold prints of MICHEL MEN were used in a refined line of socks, ties, and other accessories that transform the mundane staples into an opportunity to elevate your fit. Ankle socks are knit in eye-catching blue and burgundy colorways, and festooned with funky line patterns. One black tie features an all-over water droplet print, bringing new meaning to the word “drip.” And as more people get comfortable with the idea of heading back to the office, brace yourself for the return of the pocket square. The collaboration features a series of them, each with a vibrant print that evokes a dandy-business casual. After a year of sweatpants and Zoom meetings, Tie Bar and MICHEL MEN are ready to usher in a new age of post-pandemic style that refers back to a classic look.

Whitney’s Haitian upbringing, which included growing up alongside four brothers, influenced her perspective of the men’s market from an early age. “Being raised with guys, working with men on set, and being in charge of market [coverage] has really given me a good understanding of what men want.”

Despite being inspired by contemporary movie icons and business titans, like American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman and Wall Street’s Gordon Gekko, those that epitomize a type of metropolitan corporate power, her focus lies in a more timeless consumer, one who isn’t a blind trend follower and is instead interested in developing their own timeless all-American uniform, which she believes more men will embrace as we emerge from lockdown.

“I genuinely believe that there will always be this idea of [a] uniform. Like with Thom Browne, the idea that everyone has their own go-to’s, I believe that that will always exist. But what I’m most excited about is bringing elevated pieces that guys are excited about,” she says. “I feel like my customer is that guy who challenges the new Americana—challenging what we think of as the traditional American man ‘look’ and what we normally look at as being masculine.”

You can shop the 15-piece limited-edition collection online. The collection is the first of many collaborations to come under Tie Bar’s Strong Ties incubator program, which will allow emerging brands to release affordable collections under the Tie Bar label with 100% of proceeds going towards the up-and-coming labels.

Buy Some of Our Favorite Tie Bar x MICHEL MEN Pieces Here:

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