American tailor LeGrand Leseur expects more from you. He wants you to snatch the freedom that is offered to you to wear whatever you want to wear, and stop wearing what society tells you to. “People have to start thinking for themselves! As a designer when I see trends I tend to go in the complete opposite direction. That’s why I rarely look at them.”
Growing up in Philadelphia, a city with a rich sartorial legacy often overshadowed by New York, the 24 year old designer embraced the most scorned element of east-coast style; “Flashy is what we’re known for, for better or worse, but I want to create pieces that have all of the flash of Philadelphia with the refinement of other major fashion cities such as New York or Paris. There has to be a balance.” Leseur is, of course, referring to how the world was introduced to Philadelphia fashion.
Today’s Western young working professionals grew up on a diet of pop culture references such as The Fresh Prince on TV – all tribal-print Hammer pants, neon vests, and flat-peak caps – or the 1993 film Philadelphia – drab 90s suits and norm-core outfits – and nothing in between.
Most menswear designers are more interested in the ‘unique’ pattern of the fabric than trying to evolve the concept of the gentleman’s suit.
So how to take these influences and create something new? Sick of designers pushing skirts and dresses as high fashion for men, Leseur is innovative within the classic restraints of what men want to wear, but always adds a twist. “Men have been wearing outfits that their fathers and forefathers wore 100 years ago. Most menswear designers are more interested in the ‘unique’ pattern of the fabric than trying to evolve the concept of the gentleman’s suit.” Leseur plans to change this attitude, client by client, one twist at a time.
“When a client comes to me for a suit we speak about what his life goals are before I start sketching, it’s almost like therapy. A music producer will have different goals than an investment broker so why expect them to dress the same?” Leseur dresses the personality, not the body, “I want you to like what you are wearing not because someone told you it looked good, but because you help create the vision yourself.” His suits are couture for men and couture can never be limited by restraints such as convention or cost; it is frivolous, it is flash. “I think men’s clothing has hit a ceiling. Men’s wardrobes are super limited, people are bored and fashion is getting somewhat lazy. People want to be individualistic. Being different is as simple as being on the other side of that wall and helping to get others there with me.”
Once men realize that they can use colour effectively to convey different messages and emotions you will see a change in what traditional designers do.
Colour is a huge part of Leseur’s life and work, and what marks his work as a designer as attention-grabbing. He tends to look to his pleasures – music and colour – for inspiration rather than following trends, “Once men realize that they can use colour effectively to convey different messages and emotions you will see a change in what traditional designers do.”
He combines function with the unexpected. Coloured cuffs and button holes, a curve pocket in a contrasting colour; these are all small changes you can make to your everyday office wear that change whether someone remembers you over the other twenty Suits they’ve met that day. As LeGrand Leseur rightfully states, “You don’t fit in, stop trying to.”
Find out more on legrandleseur.com.