If Kevin Lavelle is sweating the start-up life, it’s impossible to tell. But that’s partly because of the shirts, pants and blazers his clothing line Mizzen + Main offers. They look business casual cool but incorporate the kind of fabric found in gym wear. His idea being that no one should ever see you sweat, no matter the setting—and most especially at the office.
Q: What made you want to blend menswear with the kind of clothes you’d wear to the gym?
A: The idea originally came to me in college. I was working in D.C. as an intern when I saw a frantic Congressional staffer running into a building soaked in sweat. It made me wonder why performance fabrics traditionally reserved for athletes hadn’t made the jump from the gym to the office. After a few years of the idea just bouncing around my head—and about a year of product development—I started Mizzen + Main. And I did it without any background in the fashion industry. Previously, I worked as a management consultant in the Middle East and for an energy venture capital group based in Dallas.
Q: What fabric do you use to eliminate pit stains?
A: It’s a proprietary blend of advanced performance fabrics that include various combinations of fibers. It’s an incredibly difficult manufacturing process, but one we’ve been refining for a few years now.
Q: We have a guy at the office who wishes he didn’t have to change his clothes. Ever. Could he do that with Mizzen + Main?
A: Well, our Abrams Advanced Denim and either the Beckett or Hawthorne Gingham dress shirts never go out of style. So if that’s the issue, we’ve got him covered. As for not showering—that’s a different problem.
Q: A lot of athletes wear your clothes—guys like Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Malcolm Jenkins and LeBron James. What do you think they like the most about your stuff?
A: They’re happy to finally have something that looks great, but is also incredibly comfortable. Athletes live in performance fabrics on the field and in the gym; why shouldn’t their off-the-field clothes live up to the same demands?
Q: What about the regular guy?
A: Mizzen + Main is for any guy who wants to look great and be comfortable all day long, any guy who hates ironing or dry cleaning and any guy who is tired of sweating through his clothes and looking terrible.
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