In November 2009 I proposed to my long-time sweetheart. After getting over her initial shock she agreed that we should allot ourselves some considerable time before the actual event. We wanted to reduce the amount of high-intensity stress that inevitably goes along with wedding planning. Initially the date was set to be sometime in March of 2011, but due to venue technicalities, we pushed that back to April 30th, 2011. As of writing this, the date is just around the corner!
One thing I instantly started thinking about was the wedding suit. Seeing that we sell shoes and belts, I already had that covered. I have a great french-cuff Ben Sherman ivory shirt I recently had tailored and had never worn, so that was also set. Plus I had gotten a pair of amazing “His Masters Voice” cufflinks which I was determined to wear (For those not familiar with “His Masters Voice”, it’s the dog and record player from the RCA/Victor records logo. One cufflink is the dog, the other is the record player. Pics will be shared after the event!). That just left the hard part, finding the suit itself.
As many dapper vegans will tell you, finding a nice 100% vegan suit is a difficult undertaking. Beyond the typical “wool blend,” companies seem to sneak non-vegan elements in the weirdest places. Silk thread, horn buttons, and wool under collar felt are all things you need to be on the lookout for when purchasing a vegan suit. I knew I definitely didn’t want a cotton suit, and seeing that the wedding was not taking place in Miami during the 80′s, a linen suit was also out of the question, so the hunt was on.
The first thing I looked into were the Bagir EcoGIR suits. I had read an article about Bagir using PET recycled bottles to make suits a couple of years ago, but after a bit of research it looked like all that was available were cotton/PET blends or wool/PET blends. After making a trip to Sears where they were sold, I was never able to get a definitive answer as to the thread or the under collar felt. Plus I thought the suits were pretty ugly, so they were out.
I then turned to Joshua at The Discerning Brute to see what he had to say on the topic of vegan suits. There’s quite a few options if you look through the archives but I knew I wasn’t going for a tuxedo and a certainly didn’t like the look of polyester. If it’s something as important as a once in a lifetime event like a wedding, I want to make sure I’m 100% thrilled with what I’m wearing and none of the options I saw really grabbed me.
Eventually I started discussing the idea of a custom suit option with my friend over at Thick As Thieves. I knew they had done custom vegan suits before (even for me), but never to the extent that I wanted which included supplying my own fabric. The idea of those recycled PET Bagir suits really stuck with me, so I started trying to hunt down my own vegan equivalent to a wool/PET blend. After searching on and off for 8 months, I tracked down a limited edition fabric that was an 11 oz. hemp/recycled PET blend. The small swatch came and it had the same feel as a heavier tweed fabric with a matte black finish. I wasn’t 100% sure how the 2″x3″ swatch was going to translate into a full suit, but I decided to take the gamble. Worse case scenario, I have a cool black suit and have to keep looking for another fabric. Best case scenario, I just found my perfect wedding suit. After having my measurements taken, the fabric was purchased and sent off to their tailor.
Four weeks later, I got the call. The suit had arrived. From all indications over the phone it sounded like my experiment in fabric had been a success, but the true test was what it looked like on. My first impression was that it was really heavy, but in a good way. I was thinking since it was an 11 oz. fabric that it would be the same weight as a medium-weight wool blend, but apparently the recycled PET blend in fabric makes it considerably heavier. The cut of the jacket was perfect, but the pants still needed a little alteration due to my “sans butt syndrome”, as my fiancee often tells me. Overall, the quality is outstanding and the tailor did an amazing job down to the finest details.
After months of calls, e-mails and conversations back and forth, I came up with exactly what I wanted. A great suit for a once-in-a-lifetime event, but also a jacket and pants versatile enough for future occasions. Look for photos of me actually IN the suit next month!
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