For his directorial debut, Gregory Caruso’s documentary, Making the American Man, (which began streaming on Netflix on July 1) explores the history, present, and future of the culture of masculine identity relating to fashion, grooming, and work. Son of Rick Caruso, owner of Los Angeles’ The Grove, Gregory was inspired by his love of film, fascination with men’s style and value of American-made product.
The documentary shines light on what it takes to be “Made in the USA” through the lens of over 40 designers, retailers, manufacturers and bloggers of American made brands who are leading the dramatic change in men’s style. Featured interviews include, but are not limited to: Freeman’s Seattle, J.Crew’s Millard Drexler, Schott NYC, Shinola, Tanner Goods, and more.
“I’ve always been interested in men’s style and looking sharp, probably due to the way my grandfather and father dress,” says Caruso. “All the makers featured in the documentary are passionate about whatever it is they make – they needed and wanted a certain product for themselves, so they made it with heart and quality.”
As for the film’s biggest takeaway: “I’d say two things,” asserts Caruso. “It’s possible to start your own company in the States, it’s coming back. And second, it’s okay and it’s masculine for a man to take pride in the way he looks, in his clothes and his presence – it provokes confidence. Being a good person and a gentleman – that’s obviously paramount, but it’s also important to look good and it doesn’t take a lot – it can be modest and understated.”