When we think of fashion, Denver, Colorado is not one destination that would come to mind—New York, Milan, and Paris? Absolutely. I am here to tell you, Denver has a vibe that may have us investigating what’s going on, besides its outdoor activities, art, culture, food, music, and sports. Brandi Shigley and her enterange of stylish creatives are definitely making their mark. They’ve got my attention.
I received an invite from Taylor Draper, founder of Inherent, to attend Denver Fashion Week, in Colorado, and see the collection first hand, as well as visit the boutique. What intrigued me about the collection can't be limited to just the impeccable imagery that I received, it is also extended to the connection Draper made between style and mental health. Taylor is quoted as saying, "I felt more confident, and happier with myself, when I dressed up and looked good. We live in a society that tells men that they aren't allowed to express their emotional feelings, sadness, and we have been trained to connect emotional expression as a sign of weakness." It is no wonder why so many men are walking around frustrated, dazed and confused, but Draper, and his team of men, are courageously taking the unprecedented step of breaking the silence of those struggling to deal with their mental health, starting with their grooming.
Draper, himself, has an incredible sense of style and a presence when he walks into a room. Not forced, but a subtle statement that makes you do a double take. He is very charismatic, with a warm personality that seems genuine and welcoming.
I didn't know what to expect from the city of Denver, but what I got was pretty cool. The swagger in the room was very Lower East Side, NYC. The crowd was very diverse and laid back—cool. They had their own sense of style going-on that made me say, "all right now!" The fashion show was held in the spacious Void Studios in South Broadway (SoBo), one of Denver’s most promising growth centers. I was able to highlight two designers that evening. Both designers brilliantly curated their looks, delivering cohesive pieces that complimented each other. The first hour, prior to the show, was intended to have guests, industry figures, and members of the press network while enjoying the ambiance of the warehouse-like space, which serves as a studio for shoots and other industry activities for the area.
Before flying back to New York City, I made a trip to the boutique, which is located in Colorado Springs, about a one hour, scenic drive away from Denver. The boutique is in a trendy area with a variety of businesses. Draper’s team can style you as well as groom you for every occasion of your life. They are stocked with casual attire, as well as items that are suitable for your wedding day, among other special occasions. And if it is not in stock, their bespoke department is ready to measure you and have it for you in no time. The lounge area is giving you sexy mancave vibes.
The Inherent aesthetic is classy and modern, beautifully translating that style into a capsule collection inspired by the late Steve McQueen—the iconic actor who mesmerized so many in the 50's, 60's, and 70's. He would later be given the nickname "King of Cool." The backroom is home to the barber, who is ready to whip you into shape. But if that wasn't enough, they have created a community that invites men to gather to discuss the challenges in their lives—a safe space, judgment-free, while offering services with qualified mental health specialists that can help them navigate through this life safely and becoming an asset to themselves, their families and communities. Taylor and his partner are in the process of building a foundation that will be a pillar of their community.
This absolutely brilliant concept is bound to be just the catalyst that we need after the challenges we faced these past two years, and continue to face. So, gentlemen, we can hang up the negative stigma associated with checking-in with your community to make sure your mental health is as impeccable as your sense of style. Inherent proudly partners with local and national organizations, helping to build awareness around men’s mental wellness issues like anxiety, depression, stress, and self-doubt.
I foretell that the Inherent location in Colorado Springs is only the flagship store—we may be seeing this concept expand quicker than we can say, “dressed for life!”
All images Courtsey of 303 Magazine Production of DFW.