"Need to Know" is a series spotlighting the brands that are gaining steam and breaking through the noise. Whether it’s an emerging brand or an established brand having a major moment in pop culture, we’re focusing on introducing, discussing and dissecting the brands shifting the men’s style space today.

One time, while working outside a fashion show in London, I spotted a guy standing around wearing white paint-stained double-knee pants, a red flannel shirt and brown leather work boots. I could have sworn that it was head-to-toe Junya Watanabe—it was around the heyday of his paint-stained Levi’s and Carhartt WIP pieces (pieces pulled from the Spring/Summer 2018 collection, if we’re being specific)—but, lo and behold, his colleagues followed suit shortly after, paint cans and rollers in tow. It underscored the fact that good style transcends labels. It’s not about what one’s wearing so much as how one wears it. Anywhere you go, you’re likely to find people constrained to a uniform who nevertheless find ways to look both unique and good. It’s particularly true with workwear, which has an ability to level the playing field and showcase style rather than fashion—just scroll through Mordechai Rubinstein’s Instagram feed and you’ll see what I mean.

When it comes to stylish workwear, Darryl Brown is emerging as one of the world’s foremost experts.

Born and raised in Toledo, Ohio, workwear has been part of Brown’s life for as long as he can remember. It’s what his mom and dad wore when he was growing up, and what he, himself, wore when he was a steelworker and, later, a railroad engineer. So, for Darryl Brown, workwear isn’t an aesthetic trend—it’s clothing that he’s intimately familiar with.

That’s a huge component of his success with his eponymous label, Darryl Brown Clothing Company. Brown is an authentic, knowledgeable voice on workwear, from the fits to the fabrics to the overarching visual language—and it shows.

But, before delving into the specifics of Brown’s eponymous brand, there’s one glaring question: How does one go from a railroad engineer in Toledo, Ohio to ultimately launching two brands?

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