Ethos: F.E Castleberry

Ethos (noun): Character, spirit.
One could easily mistake Frederick Egan Castleberry for a principal character in a Wes Anderson movie starring alongside Bill Murray or Owen Wilson, two staples in Anderson’s movies who portray men fighting doubt and who are constantly searching for the elusive “self”. For Fred Castleberry, however, there is no such doubt. He has solidly and confidently rooted himself in New York, establishing his shop F.E. Castleberry, downtown and is already putting his particular stamp on men’s fashion. Castleberry’s style, an edgy preppy look, has set him apart from his contemporaries in that he is not just a tailor but an actual fashion designer. Castleberry’s take on classic American style is fresh, witty and smart. From velvet bench made slippers to English boating jackets, snappy accessories and even Made- to-Measure suits (some in bright, playful colors and patterns). The point is, he gets it right.

Castleberry, who does his own photography for his website, brings a certain cinematic flare to his ads. In one campaign a man gets on an elevator wearing a seersucker suit frantically adjusting his tie, presumably after a tryst, while a French torch song plays over the scene with the caption: “The better you dress the worse you can behave”. In another short titled The Getaway and shot in a parking garage, two sartorially clad thieves, one of them wearing a red cashmere “burglar” cap, are hightailing it after a heist, making their escape in a late model Mercedes. The scene is replete with a jazzy drum solo. This is Fred Castleberry using film to clever effect: creating the world for which his clothes play the starring role while evoking that Indie Film vibe. Brilliant stuff, really.

That same eye for the dramatic also extends to his Altier downtown. It is carefully curated with colorful prints, books and objects d’art all against a background of pink hued walls. It’s like an eccentric version of a men’s club back in the day. One could easily imagine Bryan Ferry lounging in a chair wearing a pair of Castleberry’s signature slippers. And then there are the clothes, carefully displayed on hooks and luggage trolleys. There’s simply no formality about the place, only fun. And while it does reflect his somewhat playful nature, Castleberry is serious about his craft: the creative process of making beautiful clothes and accessories. So why do men like F E Castleberry? It’s simple: He’s cool, and his clothes are cool too. You wear them and suddenly you find yourself going to cool places like the Modern and Contemporary Art wing at the Metropolitan Museum, or that Art House theatre that you’ve been walking past recently or that really great Mexican Sushi place in Soho with the vintage Lucha Libre poster and fancy cocktails. And for the sartorially adroit looking for a bit of adventure, F.E. Castleberry is where it all starts.

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Order issue 2 Redefining American Style here.

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