HE FOR SHE
Like it’s done in the past, Brave GentleMan partnered with Novacas, a cruelty-free label based in New York City and Portugal, to create its boots, loafers, sandals, and pumps.
Clad in “Futureleather,” a biodegradable, EU Ecolabel–certified faux leather from Italy, the shoes are durable and water-resistant yet supple to the touch.
He says the material even outperforms traditional animal leathers.
“They are shoemaking and sourcing experts when it comes to impeccable craftsmanship, ethical labor and vegan materials,” said Katcher of his frequent collaborator, whose name means “no cow” in Spanish and Portuguese. “So much of the ethical fashion community is about collaborating and community, and this is a great example of that.”
Other items in the collection, produced in Manhattan’s historic Garment District, feature globally sourced materials that are as environmentally kind as they are animal-friendly.
Brave GentleMan fetes sheep-free “Futurewool” tweeds made from recycled polyester and cotton fibers, “Futuresilks” derived from diverted plastic bottles, organic-cotton shirting, and buttons carved from ivory-like tagua nuts. All of these, Katcher claims, are superior to their conventional (read: less humane) counterparts.
“The story of our materials and processes are something in which I also take a lot of pride,” said Katcher, who also teaches fashion students at Parsons School of Design at The New School. “We’re sourcing from the best sustainable mills all over the world: Brazil, Italy, Japan, the United States, and it comes together to form something that has integrity and realness that our customers are proud to be a part of.”
Katcher values the way products are made over any kind of “marketed ‘story.'”
“We embrace a ‘slow fashion’ production model,” he said. “For us, ethical Fashion is not an aesthetic, it’s a methodology.”
And if Katcher has his druthers, cruelty will soon have no place in fashion.
“Our starting point is that good design should make you look and feel amazing,” he said. The second step is that the need for animal materials in the fashion production system is obsolete.”
But more than a purveyor of quality garments, Brave GentleMan is also a subversive force for change.
“We think our customers as citizen investors, not ‘consumers,'” Katcher said. “Because they are investing in ethical systems they want to see flourish.”