By Nathan Hakakian on behalf of the YU Observer
Club Name: YU Menswear Club
Heads: Founder and President — SJ Tannenbaum; VPs — Benji Feldmus, Benny Kutner, Binyamin Sloves, Natanel Salman, Max Leventer, and Max Baker
Relevant Campus(es): Wilf and Beren
What is your club’s mission statement?: The mission of the YU Menswear Club is to inspire, educate and introduce students to real world fashion and menswear professionals — both from the business and creative ends. These professionals have included CEOs and founders of their own companies, social media influencers with thousands of followers on their various platforms, bespoke tailors and more.
Why is this club important?: This club is important because it allows students to learn more about a field — fashion and specifically menswear — that they may not have been exposed to previously. College is about trying new things and exploring possible areas of interest in order to better know yourself and what you may want to do in the future. After students attend our events, hear from our guest speakers, read our industry news updates, watch or download our style videos and pictures, or engage with our club’s content in any way, we want them to walk away feeling that they have gained something — whether it be for a possible future career or simply for their own general knowledge/interests. Additionally, we want our members — or any students that attend our events — to feel inspired to chase their passions, interests and dreams no matter what they are or how unlikely they seem. We believe in out-of-the-box thinking and goal-setting.
What was your pull to get involved in/start the club?: The pull to start the club was based around my love of menswear and style. I truly believe — and have felt for myself — that the way you dress truly makes a difference in how you conduct yourself, how others view and treat you, and how you view and treat yourself. I knew that I loved fashion and menswear and that friends of mine did as well. Due to this knowledge, I founded the Menswear Club during my first semester at YU in Fall 2018. I love that the club gives students the opportunity to explore a creative and interesting area, meet with real professionals, and network with students of similar interests to create a real community on campus.
What are some things your club has done in the past?: In the past, we have had social media influencers such as Diego León (@dandyinthebronx) and Jon Shanahan (@the_kavalier), company founders and CEOs such as Hillel Lichtenstein from Made2Measure Bespoke, Michael Berkowitz (SSSB ‘10) from Norwegian Wool, and Ray Li from Sene. In addition to our speakers, we provide our members with content via our club Whatsapp group chat such as deals, exclusive discount codes, industry news, and style tips and tutorials.
What are some plans you have for this semester/future semesters?: Next semester (COVID permitting), we would like to visit the atelier of Yosel Tiefenbrun. Mr. Tiefenbrun is a former rabbi who trained on London’s Savile Row to become a bespoke tailor and has been featured in GQ magazine. We would also like to bring back menswear influencer Diego León, who has presented to the club twice in the past and is always one of our best speakers. Additionally, we would like to have workshops in which students learn fashion design skills, such as tailoring, drawing, and designing on Adobe creative cloud, in addition to fashion business skills such as fashion marketing, branding, entrepreneurship and more.
With COVID, how is your club adjusting?: COVID has not been terribly negative for our club. Unfortunately, there was one event we had planned in which we were invited to visit the atelier of GQ-featured, Savile Row-trained tailor and former rabbi — Yosel Tiefenbrun. However, we had to postpone that event due to the pandemic. Despite that postponed event, we have thankfully had three amazing guest speakers present to the club this semester via Zoom, which were events co-branded with the Marketing Society: Jon Shanahan aka “The Kavalier” who is a menswear and lifestyle influencer and expert, Hillel Lichtenstein, a co-founder and CEO of Made2Measure Bespoke, and Ray Li, a co-founder and CEO of Sene, a custom clothing company for men and women specializing in performance fabrics.
What is your advice to someone looking to get involved on campus?: If you have a passion or interest — no matter what it is — someone else probably has that passion or interest as well. So don’t be afraid to share that interest with others. Just create your club, set up events, advertise them well, and even if very few students actually come, they can still get a ton out of the programming. They can then tell their friends and your club will grow. The Menswear Club has had events with as many as 20 students and as few as seven; However, we have found that small, intimate events with our highly experienced and successful speakers have actually allowed our students to engage and ask any and all questions that they may have in a safe and welcoming environment. When it comes to club event attendance, sometimes less is more. If your club is not based around guest speakers, but is instead one based on shared content in a group chat, then share any and all content that you think your members will find interesting. In the Menswear Club group chat, we try to share special deals and exclusive company discount codes with our members (such as the 10% discount code “WeLoveYU” which you can use at custom clothing company, Sene), in addition to industry news articles/videos, style videos/pictures, and more. The great thing about sharing content in a groupchat is that even when you can’t have a guest speaker, you can still engage with your members.
Anything else to say about your club: I would just like to take this opportunity to thank my current VPs — Benji Feldmus, Max Baker, Binyamin Sloves, Natanel Salman, Max Leventer, and Benny Kutner, former VPs, club members, student liaisons, student council presidents and vice presidents, and everyone in the Office of Student LIfe for helping create a wonderful club with truly unique experiences for the YU student body. If even one student is inspired from the Menswear Club to take on a challenge and share their unique and creative interest/s with others, I believe the club has been successful.