Fashion Citizen Spotlight : Kenneth “KAS” Flanagan, Designer

There seems to be a shifting in the air in menswear. We are returning to our roots with proper suiting, appropriate dress shoes and well placed accessories. The era of the gentleman is upon us and it's refreshing to say the least. I'm a great fan of athleisure and the polish that it provides to chilling out but there is nothing like putting on a good suit and top coat. I had a chance to sit down with menswear designer, Kenneth Flanagan and put pen to paper about the nuances of menswear.


 

Kenneth Flanagan & Model, Paul Barnes both in KAS Collection pieces.

Kenneth Flanagan & Model, Paul Barnes both in KAS Collection pieces.

 

 

Fashion Citizen: Your background and knowledge base in menswear and tailoring is quite extensive. Can you give us some of the highlights from your background?

Kenneth Flanagan: I am essentially a self-taught designer. But, throughout my years I was able to come across some great people that were willing to give me some guidance. One of the most influential designers that changed my life was Yves Saint Laurent. He taught me to focus on the silhouette of a women and to always make timeless pieces; pieces that could be worn 5-10 years from now. One of the many things that he told me was "Don't make clothes to make money...make clothes to change lives". Another person that really lit the torch for me was Ozwald Boateng. He was the first African to have a shop on Saville Row in London. When I met him, he too told me to make sure I focus on the cut and fabric. The cut has to be impeccable. He always told me don't be afraid of color for men’s suiting and to make sure it's fashionable.

So I was so blessed and grateful to have worked with these 2 great men.

 

 

FC: We have had extensive conversations over the years about the state of menswear. What would you say is one of the main problems plaguing menswear?

KAS: Men not knowing when to transition from there boys wear into menswear. For example, the proms that I did in 2015 were great. The issue, for me, was that they either wanted the suits too tight and short or too baggy. The killer was that they wanted to wear sneakers with their suits.

{Kenneth pauses to shake his head}

Men need to try new things and stop being afraid to be different. Be original and stop being a copy-cat. Being in Washington, DC, things can get a little boring at times, especially with suits. Being someone known for well-designed suiting, I would just like to see men take the time to really learn about what it really means to wear a well-fitted suit. I hear a lot "I can't afford a custom suit, so I have to buy off the rack" or "my body shape is off, so I have to go a size bigger because of my shoulders etc.” If that's the case find yourself a really good tailor and get them altered.

 

 

Model, Paul Barnes in KAS Collection.

Model Paul Barnes in KAS Collection.

 

FC: Tailoring is becoming as commonplace as double monk straps these days. What should a man look for in getting items tailored or purchasing a custom garment and can you talk a bit about why quality menswear isn't cheap?

KAS: In some cases, if you buy a nice suit of the rack, you may have to get it tailored to fit correctly. And that can sometimes lead to spending additional money which may come out to be just as expensive as getting a custom suit. I always tell first timers when they get a custom suit. The fit will be very different from an off a rack suit. Reasoning the suit is made for your body type.

Let let me say this. There is a big difference between custom and off the rack, when it pertains to cost. Just because you can get a suit for $200-300 off the rack doesn't mean you can get a custom for the same price. An off the rack suit is already made and may have multiple copies in the store in various sizes. Customs are made to measure just for you and only you. With custom suiting you are coming in and selecting fabric, lining, buttons, lapels, functional buttons etc. That is something that most off the rack stores will not provide.

FC: Peacocking is a bit of a problem in menswear. Men are piling on more accessories than women it seems. When you're styling a client, how do you properly accessorize a look?

KAS: When I am dealing with a client I ask various questions such as; are you going to an event, is it for work, red carpet etc. Once you gather as much information then you can determine what you need for accessories, but also it depends on the garment. Men are starting to really get into the accessories, but some do go overboard. A nice bracelet is always a great move. You can never go wrong with a classic watch or tie clip, if you are wearing a tie.

 

IMG_1274

Paul & Kenneth having a roof top conversation about menswear both in KAS Collection.

 

 

FC: You're a designer, stylist, and much more. As I've stated earlier, you're not new to the world of fashion or menswear. Where do you see menswear going in the next few years?

KAS: I really see men taking charge of their look and grooming. And because of that men are really going to get back into being a well-dressed man as we use to see our grandfathers do in the 50's, 60's and 70's. More men will really be getting into the custom arena and you will see a lot of color.

FC: Now I don't want to reveal too much about the upcoming projects you have but can you give us some things we can look forward to seeing from your brand in the coming months?

KAS: {at this point, KAS breaks out in a wide grin} well...I will tell you this. I will be launching a women’s suit line and I am bringing back my urban line W.E.T. (With Exceptional Taste). I have some other projects in the works as well but its best that you just wait and see.

 

If the cut isn't right, the suit isn't right  - Kenneth "KAS" Flanagan

If the cut isn't right, the suit isn't right - Kenneth "KAS" Flanagan

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