ND alum breaks into men’s fashion
Adam Ramos | Tuesday, January 26, 2016
In men’s fashion, the rule of thumb is fit before all else. A man looks better in a well-fitting suit of lesser quality compared too a well-made, poor-fitting suit. For 2008 Notre Dame alumnus and founder of Chicago-based bespoke suit shop ESQ clothing Ge Wang, sacrificing one or the other was never an option.
“During my short stint as an attorney, I had to both invest and wear a suit every day. I soon found that I simply could not find the perfect fit. Thus, I had my first custom suit made and learned about the process that goes along with bespoke clothing. As I delved more into this world, I figured I had distinct advantages that could help myself launch a clothing brand, and it subsequently led to the founding of ESQ in 2012.” Wang explained in an interview with The Observer.
Yet, ESQ has far exceeded its humble beginnings. The business has a prominent boutique in the Chicago Loop and a slew of athlete and celebrity customers, and it’s safe to say fashion is now beyond a passion for Wang.
After graduating from Notre Dame, Wang went on to gain his J.D. at DePaul University. After only a few years practicing as an attorney, Wang began his journey into the fashion world in a transition he admits was “anything but seamless.” Now that he is established, Wang spends his days tailoring to the many customers who come through his door. Chalking his success to his meticulous process and quality products, Wang explained just what sets him apart from other boutiques.
“We do some unique things that give us distinct advantages. First, I personally take all measurements to ensure that there is consistency in the fit. It may seem easy to take measurements, but between our 37-measurement system and my years of experience, we guarantee the perfect fit, even for very oddly-shaped individuals,” Wang said. “Second, all of our bespoke garments are handmade, from our suits to our shoes. Finally, we utilize only the best fabrics in the world, sourced primarily from the U.K. and Italy.”
Throughout his whirlwind of success, Wang has stayed true to his blue and gold roots, and despite having a suit in 60 percent of all NFL locker rooms, Wang gave his “most interesting customer” title to Brian Kelly. But Kelly is not the only Irishman rocking Wang’s luxurious formal wear: Kyle Rudolph and Harrison Smith have both shopped at ESQ. Wang’s influence in fashion has even spread to Notre Dame’s 2015 roster, as Ronnie Stanley, Jaylon Smith and Sheldon Day will all be fresh to death in ESQ gear for this year’s NFL Draft.
There is certainly reason for Wang to be proud of his dapper Irish customers, as he creditd much of his success to his time under the dome.
“The Notre Dame network is invaluable. It still amazes me to this day how a simple ‘What dorm did you live in?’ leads to such quick friendships,” he said. “In both work and personal opportunities, the Notre Dame background is always a significant help.”
In the future, Wang aims to take his niche brand nationwide and even plans to create a women’s line. But for now, Wang offered some essential advice for all college students who will be busting out formal wear for the impending career fair tomorrow.
“A couple quick fixes include hemming trousers to the appropriate length, just enough to cover the ankle. It will clean up the look. Also, look for a more tapered leg, it adds length and height,” he said.
A custom suit may be a bit too pricey until you can lock down that stellar first job (possibly tomorrow?), but splurging on formal wear is never a bad idea, and Wang gives all ND friends and family 15 percent lifetime discount — Go Irish!