A new menswear brand is trying to put “gentlemanly behaviour” back in style.
Dubbed Ædelhard, the “technical-apparel brand” merges the sportsmanlike ethics of rugby, with the quality and tailoring of a bespoke brand-offering.
The brand is the brainchild of Darrell Kopke, a former exec at both Lululemon and Kit and Ace who is the brand’s CEO, and Michael Nguyen, Ædelhard’s creative director of apparel and a bespoke tailor to celebrities such as LeBron James and Ryan Gosling — two men who seem to believe it’s high time some men start dressing (and acting) better.
So, naturally, we asked the two co-founders to explain just what Ædelhard is all about. Here’s what they had to say:
Q: For those who aren’t familiar, what is Ædelhard?
A: Ædelhard designs technical-performance suiting that’s made from fabrics you use on the rugby pitch — which makes it the most comfortable business-wear apparel in the world … Ædelhard is designed with athletic bodies in mind, and inspires to bring elite athletic performance into the workplace.
Q: And, is there a story behind the name?
A model wears a look from the brand Ædelhard.
A: Ædelhard is named after a rumoured 19th-century English private club at the forefront of social change. In the Victorian era, the title of gentleman shifted from royalty and military to those who behaved and dressed in a sophisticated manner, and private clubs played a key role in this shift. We believe that the world could use a rise of gentlemanly behaviour and we feel that rugby, a values-driven sport, can be that vehicle for change.
Q: Do either of you have a personal history with rugby?
A: Kopke played rugby for many years, and it left an impact on his life far beyond the rugby pitch. It’s a tough game, but it promotes values that he connected with then, and carry with him to this day.
Q: What more can you share about this unique rugby angle?
A: Ædelhard believes that the world needs more rugby. Because sport is a powerful tool in shaping culture well beyond the borders of the pitch, arena and field. The sport that best embodies civility, respect, inclusivity and toughness is rugby, the world needs more rugby. We can count on a sport with a code of conduct rooted in chivalry and respect to positively contribute to the evolution of our communities. We can count on a game that is accessible to all body types, genders and skill levels to improve inclusiveness. We can count on a game that is rooted in civility to enhance communication and tolerance in our neighbourhoods. As such, Ædelhard is committing two per cent of its sales to promote community-based rugby initiatives.
Q: What makes it different from other menswear brands?
A: Ædelhard combines athletic-apparel fabrics and classic tailoring design with a modern fit to create the most comfortable suiting for athletic bodies. The knit-fabric construction offers maximum mobility to bring you a feel-good-jogger fit with the details of classic tailoring, so you can dress up with your favourite blazer. The designer uses body-mapping to ensure the Ædelhard silhouette fits perfectly on a more athletic build.
Q: How, if at all, do you see the idea of a sportsmen’s brotherhood translating to fashion?
A: We’re not a fashion brand in the typical sense. An apparel brand can be so much more than just the clothing it sells, there is also an opportunity to create a community based on shared values. If those values guide the brand in an authentic way, you can create something extraordinary. The idea of a sportsmen’s brotherhood doesn’t dictate the design of our clothing, as much as it captures the type of gentleman we design for.
Q: Who is the ultimate Ædelhard customer?
A. The modern gentleman: an athletic, sophisticated professional who desires comfort in his pursuit of elite workplace performance.
Q: What is the price point of Ædelhard designs?
A: The range runs between US$39-$399.
Q: Lastly, where can people check out the collection?
A: Online at aedelhard.com and soon in pop-ups and on the racks at your favourite luxury department stores. Stay tuned.
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