Change of a Dress (Shirt)

Designer Kevin Lavelle

Amy Adams
November 06, 2012

When it came time to develop his own socially responsible business, Kevin Lavelle checked all the usual boxes: Innovative concept? Yep. American-made goods? Of course. Philanthropic mission? Uh huh. But what distinguished his enterprise from most was that it was born — literally — out of someone else’s sweat. Six years ago, while interning in Washington, D.C., this SMU grad watched a perspiration-soaked man make a mad dash into an obviously important meeting. The thought that flashed into Lavelle’s head at the time was: “Why not make a dress shirt out of Dri-fit material?” He shelved the idea, as he was still in the process of finishing his engineering degree. After graduation, he ultimately joined the venture capital group at Hunt Energy Consolidated, which didn’t leave much time for anything but the occasional Google search for Dri-fit. But after locating a U.S.-based source, he began step two: finding someone willing and able to create a tailored dress shirt out of the moisture-wicking fabric most often associated with workout wear. Much product testing later, Mizzen+Main has introduced wrinkle-free, machine-washable tailored white shirts (available in a smooth or textured finish) suitable for even the most buttoned-up office, priced at $105. Future plans for additional colors, styles and sizes mean Lavelle is running at a breakneck pace of his own. and WAREhaus.