Published on December 28th, 2015 | by Daja Marie0
Leon Wu: Sharpe Suiting #OfficialHype2.0
Who is Leon Wu?
In short: Founder & CEO of Sharpe Suiting.
The longer version: Since the world saw me as a little girl, I have been fascinated by masculine style and menswear. And over the years my passion has become about instilling confidence in my clients through their own personal style, and being a catalyst for the evolution of the fashion industry towards the inclusion of all identities. Contributing wherever possible to the gender revolution brought me towards building a successful gender-neutral bespoke company and ready-to-wear collection – Sharpe.
What’s happened in your career that makes you feel this is the industry for you?
This company grew directly from my own life experiences, as well as those of my friends and community. I’ve spent a lot of time researching style and what that means to me as a person, and I’m convinced that personal identity grows from self-definition, and style is a key part of that. My previous corporate career gave me experience in being a key problem-solver and I knew I could bring this to my own passions, to fill a crucial gap in the market. Our company’s motto “We Fit You” is a really great example of this in action and our commitment is to shape clothes to match the person.
What makes you stand out in the Fashion Industry?
Our revolutionary new sizing system. It works on a reinvented measurement system I’ve trademarked as ‘Andropometrics’. We took 4000+ body metrics from over 250 men and women of all identities, and put the measurements through three rounds of testing. Our resulting standard sizes fit both men and women, and we’ve been thrilled by the feedback we’re getting.
Who in the industry today, could you see yourself working with and why?
Other queer-identified celebrities who have made significant contributions in the fashion industry constantly inspire me. Two that immediately come to mind are Joe Zee and Mikey Koffman.
Joe Zee: Former stylist and creative director of Elle and now editor-in-chief and executive creative officer of Yahoo Style, Zee has driven his own career through buzz on social media. And, if he was not busy enough, Zee spends time as a business consultant helping designers in need. His advice on the possibilities for Sharpe would be invaluable. And we even share a hip-hop dance class, sometimes! I’ve always especially loved this quote from him, in the New York Times: “When I really first started interning in this industry, I worked with people that were horrible, absolutely horrible,” Mr. Zee said. “I thought, when I become a boss, I’m never going to be that person where people are going to work for me out of fear”. That’s exactly the kind of boss I always strive to be myself.
Mikey Koffman: Former cast member of The Real L Word, Koffman is a mastermind of event planning, as CEO and Executive Producer of Endless Road Entertainment, and primary coordinator for LA Fashion Week. My dream of working with her would include co-planning an amazing fashion show – specifically a benefit show to empower and support the full range of identities of women.
What trends do you see being huge this Spring/Summer 2016 Season?
As clothing trends go, I’m looking forward to seeing even more androgyny, as well as short suits for the warmer months, and brighter colors in less classic places, such as orange and pinks for menswear.
What should people expect from your upcoming 2016 lines?
While Sharpe has always been more committed to suiting the community than following trends, gender neutrality is always in around here. We’ve also seen real demand for brighter and bolder color and style choices, and we’re right there with our collections. Anticipate some really cool co-designs, collaborations and charitable causes in the works for Sharpe!
Is there anything you would like our readers to know?
Our blazers and suits really do fit all identities – we’ve even got an upcoming Buzzfeeed collaboration to prove it, where you can watch a fun video about four really different identities styled using our classic white dress shirt, The Easton.
Sharpe doesn’t just do suits! We also make custom couture dresses for clients.
Get your hands on our ready-to-wear collection, or make a bespoke consult booking right here on our website www.sharpesuiting.com.
What’s your CRAZIEST “Where they do that at?!” moment…
A version of this happened at our ready-to-wear collection launch. We screened our collection launch video, which I find really personally moving, and after a whole evening of amazing feedback about our clothes, I got to see all the emotions people have about the company and what we’re doing reflected back at me in the faces of the people around me. It completely blew me over in that moment, to realize what effect we might be having on the world around us, and what it means for all these amazing people.
Interview By: Daja Marie – @RealDajaMarieTweet