”Need to Know" is a series spotlighting the brands that are gaining steam and breaking through the noise. Whether its 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.

How many fashion brands are really trying to do the "right" thing?

If you’ve been reading this series on emerging brands, then you’ll have noticed that it often highlights brands that strive to do things the right way. Beyond my own personal beliefs that these are brands that deserve to be celebrated, there’s a good reason why so many seem poised for success. In this day and age, customers have one simple demand for brands, borrowed from Spike Lee: Do the right thing. It’s simple.

We live in an era where brands are held accountable for the actions and inaction—for how they treat workers, customers, the environment—and how they make their clothes. There may not be an easily-defined singular “correct” answer to how to do things, but there is a right and wrong way and there’s denying that customers—and a handful of Instagram accounts that seemingly keep the industry in check—are able to sniff it out.

A sterling example of one such brand—and one which actually helps to define that so-called right way—is Story Mfg.

Founded by the wife and husband duo of Katy and Bobbin Katazome in 2013, Story Mfg. hails from London’s East End. It’s a small operation, but a thoughtful one, which has been central to Story Mfg.’s ability to sustain growth over the first decade of its existence.

It would be easy to chalk Story Mfg.’s increasing popularity up to aesthetics. The brand’s clothes sit comfortably in that easy-going earthy-meets-artsy niche, with camp collar shirts, unique dyes and embroideries that are often inspired by nature.

It would be naïve to ignore the similarities that Story Mfg. shares with Emily Bode’s eponymous brand, but they manage to exist simultaneously without stepping on each other’s toes in an admittedly small space. Bode tends to nod to slightly more bourgeois inspirations—horse riding, tuxedos, antique stamp collecting and heirloom-quality quilts. Story Mfg. is a bit more aloof—taking inspiration from aliens and peace signs and mushrooms. Don’t get the wrong impression: We love both brands—but… well, this is a story about Story Mfg. after all

It would make sense, then, that both brands might enjoy success around the same time, especially considering the fact that men have been increasingly favoring the kind of relaxed yet refined silhouettes that both brands favor. They’re clothes that you’ll look good in without looking like you’re trying too hard.

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Tags: sustainable-fashion, sustainability, 18-east, london, workwear, need-to-know, emerging-brands, bode, story-mfg