Over the summer I had the fortune of styling an incredible shoot with a team of talented, creative, good looking group of people.  As an avid lover of menswear, helping style the concept of a casual, yet “sharp dressed” man going about his hustle in Chicago was basically a dream come true.  However, my biggest fashion geek out was over the clothes.  Menswear has been climbing the fashion radar over the past few years, and no longer should it be relegated to ill-fitting suits for job interviews or “falling into the Gap.” Many new startup menswear brands are coming on to the scene with technical fabrics that not only flatter a man’s unique build but also combats sweat or is truly, stain resistant.  For our shoot, I got to know and love a few of these lesser known brands, and they are gaining fast and much deserved attention!

Something Strong

A brand that describes itself as a “clothing line that doesn’t take itself too seriously,” their products reflect a well-made casual vibe.  They make leather braided Triple Coil Bracelets and Beaded Bracelets that can be worn stacked together or paired with a sharp watch.  Something Strong’s bags are sleek yet durable.  Great for traveling from work to play to home without feeling or looking like you’re carrying your entire life with you.  My favorite is their Raglan Hoodies that feel super soft and make you look like you stepped up your shirt game from your beloved college tee.

Paul Evans:

Paul Evans understands the importance of a well-made shoe that doesn’t cost a fortune.  Sharp styles made from high-quality materials like Italian calfskin leather are delivered right to your door without the middleman.  Seriously, beautifully crafted cool shoes.

State and Liberty:

Men’s dress shirts are a bane to my boyfriend’s existence.  He buys designer made dress shirts, and no matter the price tag or materials, fit and function are always his two problems.  If the shirt does miraculously fit him well, he cannot combat the afternoon “pit sweats.”  I mention this because many of my male friends also have this same problem – if it isn’t the fit, it’s the inability of the fabric standing up to the body’s ever changing temperatures.  State and Liberty tackles both these problems head on providing a light-weight literally sweat proof shirt that is constructed to fit a man’s build.  I literally fell in love with these shirts without even trying one on.

Beta Brand

Beta Brand is unlike any website you’ve encountered.  They basically take the ideas of clothing design geniuses and have you the user vote and decide what will come to life and be made.  Beta Brand has launched amazing products such as Dress Pant Yoga Pants , Bike to Work Wear, and Cordarounds. One of my absolute favorite items on this shoot was the Silver Tongue Reversible Smoking Jacket . The coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time, when worn plain, it is a well tailored blazer that goes great with any outfit, and the incredible silk dragon print lining peaks out causing a brief flash of awesome.  But then, reversing the jacket to said silk dragon print side, it’s an explosion of cool meets Hugh Heffner silk robe Playboy millionaire vibe.  It is not for the timid, but this jacket can really make a statement when worn right (which I think we did this jacket justice on this shoot).

Like what you see here?  Check out all my links, support these incredible brands, and count how many heads turn when wearing all these well-made pieces.

The Dream Team

Photographer: Hayden Su


MUA: Alisa Radoi


Stylist: Bekah Lazear


Stylist: Leslie Castromayor


Model: Jefferson West, Derek Hedrick, Jalen Mickey




Liked it? Take a second to support Lauren Ignited on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!