Aaron Monu

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New York City, New York

At what are did you become fascinated with fashion?

When I was younger, my mom always dressed me nicely. I was always in the newest Reeboks, Jordans, or Levis, and she constantly told me "As a black man in America you have to present yourself in a way that is top notch. You always have to look your best". Her words subconsciously stuck with me through the years. Initially, I was really into street style, then it began to evolve, and I fell in love with menswear. I decided at around high school that I wanted to go into fashion. Fooling myself, I went to school for medicine, but at the end of my college career, I knew I was going to go into fashion no matter my degree.

How would you define your personal style?

I’m currently in a transitional state, a mix of athletic leisure and suiting. I’m moving towards something more sartorial, where it’s less about fashion and more about timelessness and functionality.

You are currently a Bespoke Specialist for Musika Frere. How did you get this opportunity?

I didn't get an opportunity; I created one. I was in was not happy with the company I was working for in Orlando, FL. I wanted to be in New York, but I had no idea how I was going to make that happen. I had been following the brand for a long time. I knew Musika Frere was a young brand with cool, trendy designs and they were one of the first brands to use social media to get big. I knew I had to do something dynamic to stand out from the other resumes. I created a leather clamshell binder. Inside I had suiting designs I sketched using fabrics from my previous company (hopefully they don't read this) and scanned my sketches onto a trifold portfolio. The concept was Aaron for Musika Frere, as if I was designing for the brand. The wording for the collection was describing my skills and qualifications. I sent the binder along with two mini bottles of high-end alcohol. I had previously scheduled a trip to New York, so I also included a card with the dates I would be in town so that they could check off for a meeting. Fast forward, I was at a conference touring the Sam Adams brewery, and I got an email that my package had been delivered, 30 mins later saying they wanted me to come in for an interview.

What are some important things men should look for when purchasing a suit?

I would say the most important thing is fit, more specifically how it looks on your shoulders. Also, the material, whether it's wool suit or polyester blend, that determines how long the suit will last, how it will breathe and how it will form on your body.

What risk and sacrifices have you made in your career pursuit?

I would say the move from Florida and New York. The cost of rent, the overall standard of living is a big sacrifice. Also, many people don't know my role is 100% commission. It's a big risk because I have to build my clientele.

Spring/Summer 17 is here. What are some trends men should look for as it gets warmer?

Regarding suiting, the beige trend, the whole color palette of beige will be used a lot. Perhaps yellow as well but I'm not sure how men are going to wear yellow. Unrelated to suiting, bucket hat is a trend that is coming back. Also, Camo for casual wear is going to be big again. Those are trends most men will be comfortable with wearing. There are others that I think are kind of outlandish.

Who is your favorite designer?

Ralph Lauren is one of my favorite designers at this moment. The timelessness and simplicity of his designs are elements of I’m incorporating into my personal style.

How important is tailoring?

It is the most important thing you can do. Most body types do not fit the mold that mass manufactured goods are sold in. I would suggest before you go buy new stuff, tailor your old stuff. You may have items that are not terrible; they just don't fit you right. Tailoring is a necessity and can enhance your confidence about your wardrobe.

What time should a person be willing to spend a little more money on?

Your suit and shoes. 100%

Upcoming projects:

I'm in the process of creating a series of suiting style tips on Instagram. In May, I'm assisting with the Musika Frere Pop Up shop in SoHo.

What is your dream job or project?

I would like to start a creative agency that outsources teams for company and brands based their vision and aesthetic. I would like to do creative direction for Musika Frere. I'm shooting for that now. For projects, I want to put on an awesome fashion show in New York.

What quote or affirmation do you live your life by?

Simplicity is subtracting the obvious and adding the meaningful - John Maeda

From more on this style maker, follow on social media @aaronmonu