Taylor Draper is the CEO of INHERENT and the creative director behind the designs. Everything about the shop suggests a meticulous dedication to beauty and excellence. But a conversation with Taylor quickly reveals a passion that goes deeper than artistry. INHERENT is a social impact small business; their for-profit side (INHERENT) is paired with an equally important non-profit side, Foundation by INHERENT, which exists to support men’s mental health. Specifically, Draper wants to see men talking to each other about their daily struggles.
“Men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women,” Taylor says. “One man dies by suicide every minute of every day globally, and 75% of those guys are in professional, or managerial positions. These are everyday guys. I don’t think men know how important talking about their emotions is, and so they don’t. Then the pressures of life get to them because they don’t have an outlet.”
Monthly “Huddles” on the third Thursday of every month facilitate conversation between men, and open the door to getting further help from the Foundation. 10% of INHERENT’s profits go to support the foundation, and patrons can donate extra if they’re so inclined.
The mission fits well. “The reason we’re called INHERENT is because we believe confidence is inherent in everyone,” Taylor says. “We try to awaken that confidence through clothing, by feeling confident in your presentation.”
Sometime during the 1970s, suits gained a bad reputation as a sign of conformity. A man’s suit became an expression of his work, or even his political beliefs, rather than his personality. Taylor wants to remind men that a suit was originally (and still is) the most versatile, central part of a man’s wardrobe and can be as unique as the man wearing it.
“The suit can be dressed down, it can be dressed up, it can fit anyone’s style,” he says. “If you’re into streetwear, there’s a lot you can do with the suit. I just don’t think it’s talked about enough, which is why menswear feels almost out of reach for some. There needs to be more education about how to style a suit for anyone’s lifestyle.”
Before it was a sign of conformity, the suit was an expression of community. Before the days of mass-produced, ready-to-wear fashion, a visit to the tailor once carried generational significance. This ritual has since been lost, and Draper is bringing it back.
“One of the reasons I want to bring this back is that a lot of men or father figures would bring their sons to meet their tailor and teach them how clothes should fit, and which patterns and colors compliment their body. It was a whole rite of passage that almost every single man in America went through to be able to dress well, and it was passed down.”
This generational concept is clearly present in Draper’s designs. There’s something a little old-fashioned about INHERENT, while still being deliciously modern and cutting-edge. But this is another way of expressing the timelessness of men’s fashion. “If you took Cary Grant or Sammy Davis Jr., the way they dressed in the 1930s, and dropped them into 2023,” Taylor explains, “they wouldn’t look out of place.”
“We stick to a lot of the old ways of doing things,” Draper continued. “When you get a suit from us the pattern is hand-drawn and hand-cut, which is a very important process. I wanted to make sure we hand-cut our garments, rather than just putting them through a machine.”
Draper loves the way that customers tend to respond the first time they put on their custom-tailored piece. “It’s overwhelming and is one of the reasons I do what I do. The first time you put a jacket on somebody you can physically see a change in their posture and presence. Their chest goes up a little bit higher, they stand up straighter, their chin goes up, and they always have this great big grin on their face. It’s special.”
Taylor’s gentle, self-effacing manner presents an interesting contrast to his list of impressive accomplishments. He graduated top of his class in graphic design, and since then has been a business owner several times over, excelling in marketing and advertising. In May of 2020, at age 32, he began his fourth business, INHERENT. Since then, INHERENT has received invitations to New York, Paris, London, and Milan Fashion Weeks. He’s currently in conversation with a well-known department store in New York about adding his menswear line to their designers. In February 2023, he was recognized as Designer of the Year in Brooklyn.
I’m genuinely impressed, both by his artistic abilities, and what he’s done, and I find it hard to believe what he confesses next: that he struggles with confidence and with valuing himself.
“I think most people who’ve met you would say you’re a really successful person,” I said. “You have this thriving business and an amazing talent.” He gets embarrassed and seems to visibly shake off my compliment like an ill-fitting jacket.
“That’s kind of you to say, but again,” he says, “this happens a lot with men—they start to put their identities in their accomplishments. Those adjectives that you just used to describe me are things I’ve done. Things I have. But that’s not me. That’s not my soul.”
As often happens in interviews, my casual off-script comment brought out more truth than all the scripted questions. This is about so much more than the external. Fashion is art, art is about self-expression, and Taylor has found a way, in the midst of an industry that often refuses to look deeper, to encourage men to connect deeply with themselves.
As INHERENT’s tailors help a man discover what fits and flatters him externally, they are also helping him discover, and ultimately recover, an understanding of his value—not just as a father or a husband, not just as a leader, or a business owner, or a hard worker. Not just as a provider, or a lover, or an artist, or an athlete—but as himself.
“In the end, when you put on a custom suit, it’s for you,” Taylor says. “For the guy in the mirror.”