Check out my special news appearance on local Baltimore WBAL TV 11 News Sat. Where I discuss Wear It Out Wednesdays , suits and my curated event Pinstripes & Panache
Thank You ! I am a winner because of you! Saturday was the official awards ceremony for Fashion Awards MD, and I am happy to say that I walked away with the award for Best Tailor ! Thank you all for your support .
83′ World Series MVP and MASN Orioles own Rick Dempsey sits down with Phillip Ko of Baltimore Fishbowl to discuss his signature line of ties. Video edited by Ricky Johnson
A Life Suited is more than just a tongue & cheek play on words , the title itself is a representation of what a man sets out to do the moment he becomes aware of himself and his needs. He seeks to build a life suited for himself, and sets out on a path to do so. Often at times the wrong choices made can lead one down a path in the wrong direction, that would make life less suitable for themselves and those around them. Today’s style profile is dedicated to Howard Wicker, a man whose sole mission is to get men back on the right path.
Howard is the Program Manager for Patrick Allison House inc. and the director of The Ex-Offender Mentoring Academy and Training Center through Living Classrooms Foundation , a non-profit dedicated to fighting recidivism amongst male ex-offenders returning home after being released back into society. Which he founded in August of 2012 after receiving a grant from the state of Maryland for $1Million. The Academy is tucked quietly away in Baltimore City’s Mt. Vernon neighborhood. Part of keeping these men out of prison is ensuring that they are able to have employment so that they are financially independent. This can be a difficult thing to achieve when being released back into society with virtually nothing and no support system. Howard through The Mentoring Academy working hand in hand with Sharp Dressed Man, a non-profit set up by Christopher Schafer through The Baltimore Fashion Alliance seeks to help these men overcome that first hurdle by providing them with donated business attire to wear to job interviews. Today Mr. Wicker gives us an inside look into the program and what drives his own personal style.
Top : Christopher Rondo of CSC with members of The Mentoring Academy
Below: The members of The Mentoring Academy after visiting the Sharp Dressed Man Boutique
DC King: What inspired you to create The Mentoring Academy ?
HW: Something in me just wants to help people , I don’t know what to call it , but I do know where it comes from (GOD).. And the need to help men coming home from jail is big. More importantly is the need to help them not to go back. Did you know that over 50% of the people in Baltimore who come home from jail go back to jail.. Unbelievable
DC King: What inspired you to include the Sharp Dressed Man Boutique as a part of The Mentoring Academy?
HW : I love fashion , it was my dream to be a fashion designer. I was actually accepted and attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. But I chose the “Street Life” instead. But I was always into style and fashion from a very young age. So the Sharp Dressed Man Boutique just compliments my personality , so it’s my personal touch on the Ex-Offenders Mentoring Academy and Training Center thanks to Chris (Schafer), Rondo and Yourself.
DC King: Why do you think teaching men to have pride in their personal appearance, is a key component in helping to fight recidivism?
HW: What we are attempting to do is to remove the stereotype and the “label” ex-offender. Society has given the ex-offender a “look”. A well dressed man NEVER comes off looking like a ex-offender ……
DC King: How would you describe your own personal style?
HW: Classic with a twist of Swag…
DC KIng: Do you have a style icon, time period in history or favorite designer that you draw your inspiration?
HW: I am a Ralph Lauren baby. I grew up wearing the man on the horse on everything. But Ralph Lauren is bigger then Polo. I like “Purple Label” / “Black Label” / “Denim Supply” / “Rugby” ..I could continue , Yes I am truly a fan a Ralph…
DC King:Name 4 items that you can’t do without ?
HW: My GOD
My TAG watches
DC King: Lastly… What impact do you hope to see The Mentoring Academy make here in Baltimore City?
HW: It is already making a difference , in 4 months since we opened we have already enrolled over 75 men. All have been given the opportunity to meet true fashion designers. Not only meet them , but to be personally measured for a suit. I have talked to guys in the Academy that have cried once they put the suit on and saw how they looked in the suit. I hope we are bringing hope back to the city of Baltimore ” One Suit At a Time” … Thanks to the Sharp Dressed Man Boutique
If you are interested in providing donations to the Sharp Dressed Man program, go to http://www.sharpdressedman.org. Or if you are interested in finding out more about The Mentoring academy contact Howard Wicker at email@example.com.
1. When was Sette started ?
We officially launched Sette in December, 2011. However, we got the idea several years ago, while in a former life of politics we found ourselves traveling in Italy on official business. We noticed that the Italian head of government was giving out as a ‘gift’ some very personal ties handmade by a local label. They were nothing you could find in the U.S. It made us extremely envious of the recipients that there were very small Italian companies making neckties with the sole purpose of making a beautiful accessory with all of the most personal touches.2. What is it that sets Sette a part from other neckwear brands?
We have yet to see a seven fold tie constructed like ours, or with all of the hand crafted features. For example, the silk on our seven-folds crosses the entire width of the blade when you open it in the back. The idea being, that we wanted the ties to still have the necessary heft without using a cotton liner. In order to achieve this, we had to make up for it with extra silk. Our bar tacks are also intentionally left higher so that our customers can take a look inside. We have nothing to hide! That idea came after reading the book on Steve Jobs, and learning about how obsessed he was that Apple products were quality from the inside as well as the outside. We have a rare confidence that our neckwear would pass the ‘gut’ check test. In addition, we number each tie. After we make a certain number of any of our lines, we end it. Its like a club.
3. Who is currently wearing Sette Neckwear.?
People who have a love for handmade neckwear or to own a tie with a personal story. Your readers in Baltimore would be happy to know a handful of the Superbowl Champion Ravens are among our family. In addition, we’ve been seen on a number of television programs on anchors or guests.
4. If you could sum up your brand in 3 words what would it be ?
Finest In Neckwear.5. Outside of your website where can readers find your neckwear ? Christopher Schafer Clothiers !If you are in Baltimore and want to know more about the Sette go to the Christopher Schafer website and send an inquiry.
Photo from a recent shoot I styled for Christopher March Photography this past Thursday . Model : Michael Ryann Clothing: Christopher Schafer Clothiers
This weekend we had the honor of showing for a crowd of 12,000..yes! 12,000 honorable members of the largest black sorority in the US Delta Sigma Theta Inc. This has been the largest fashion show of my entire career.The theme was for the period of 1953-1963 and we were the only menswear designers to walk. We wanted to give a nod to that period and a time when all men regardless of creed or color dressed like gentleman, despite their station in life. The period in which my parents were born and my grandparents lived. It was a for me a reminder of how we carried ourselves with dignity and class despite being viewed by some as second class. As an African American I was proud to be a part of the event, and learned much about the rich history of this sorority of strong proud women. Their participation in the struggle for civil rights, justice & equality and how because of the sacrifice and hard work of organizations such as theirs and the other frats and sororities of the “Divine Nine” I and my son are able to enjoy freedoms that we sometimes take for granted.
DC King ALS-CSC