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Game Changers 2014: Kevin Lavelle

The Mizzen + Main founder started out with literally zero experience in fashion or manufacturing. Three years—and five thousand fabric swatches—later, he's revolutionizing the technology of classic menswear.

Kevin Lavelle’s concept is so simple and brilliant, it's almost frustrating that it hadn't existed before: dress shirts equipped with the same performance technology found in athletic apparel Mizzen + Main's shirts–manufactured entirely in America–are wrinkle-free, moisture-wicking, and stretch to fit like they're custom-made. After washing in the machine, hang to dry and your uncreased shirt will be ready to wear in 15 minutes. Still, they look just like regular (albeit really nice) dress shirts.

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“I'm not trying to put our clothes on a runway,” says Lavelle, who was inspired to leave the world of venture capital consulting by the sight of a man rushing to a meeting in a sweat-drenched (and ruined) shirt one hot summer day in Washington D.C. “Our customers are real guys that want to wear real clothes that make them feel great, and that make their lives easier.”

For an industry defined by the perpetual evolution of style, fashion has been surprisingly resistant to technological innovation. “Some [industry] people were really just kind of assholes about it, and told me I'm crazy and stupid for trying to do this, and at a certain point in time it was just like, 'You know, people didn't love cell phones at first either. Have a good day.” Mizzen and Main's offerings have already expanded to include henleys and t-shirts and will soon include blazers, as well as slim-fit jeans that guys—even those who don't skip leg day—will find comfortable.

Though media coverage glowingly refers to Lavelle as an entrepreneur, Mizzen + Main is more than a mere money-making venture for him. “My goal is to build the next great American brand. I would love for this to be the last thing that I ever do.”

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FIT FACT: Lavelle discovered CrossFit two years ago—“and it’s helped me stay sane over the last two years of running my own business. I used to go to the gym all the time, lifting, but I didn't really know what I was doing. CrossFit has changed my perspective of what fitness really is, and I’m in the best shape of my life for it."


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