El Lewis is Combining Innovation, Performance and Fashion With His Menswear Brand O.
El Lewis is a designer who understands the importance of form and function. He, along with business partner Alex Muresan, created their menswear brand, O., to be beyond just fashion but also representing unity, performance and innovation. For example, after extensively researching textiles, they created knit separates specifically designed to conform to the male physique. The Quintessential Gentleman's fashion editor, Aaron Campbell, spoke with Lewis about the brand, his aesthetic, and his clothes being worn by the world's sexiest man.
How did you develop your interest in fashion? My interest in fashion really came from developing my own personal style - a particular way of doing things and dressing my body. I would dress to communicate my identity as fashion can also be psychological.
How did you translate your fashion interest into your brand and business, O.? I was a dancer in college and loved training as a gymnast as a child so I have always valued comfort in my clothing. I like my clothes to adapt to things I do in life and have incorporated that into the brand.
One of O.’s mantras is “Made for Movement.” How would you describe the brand's aesthetic? We believe in smart dressing. Having dependable staples that you can pair back to existing items in your wardrobe. O. is versatile and the people who wear our clothes tend to be on-the-go.
There is a technical aspect to your clothing, can you tell us more about that? Yes, our knits are technical and created on a huge knitting machine. The design has to be programmed and then knitted; it cannot be created without that piece of machinery and technology. Also, our product design process uses 3D technology to visualize our samples - we do not draw sketches. Instead, our designs are digitized from inception and then used as marketing.
Michael B. Jordan Wearing an O. Knit Shirt for People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive Spread
Did you know Michael B. Jordan was going to wear your piece for his Sexiest Man Alive cover? No, I did not know MJB would wear O. in his spread for People's magazine.
What was your response and how has it impacted your business? MJB wearing O. was a full circle for me and it was such a successful moment for the team. When he wore the shirt, it humanized our garments and people saw themselves in them and how they should look.
Your line has recently been picked up by Nordstrom. What was the process like working with a major retailer? It's like the major leagues. We had to step our game up. A company has to be tight to be successful in wholesale.
With these major accomplishments happening for your business, how else do you see your brand growing in the future? I have such big plans for O. I really aspire to create a uniform for all.
Learn more about O. here.