by Joe Lafko
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The past year has been the longest decade of our lives! We’ve been from the brink of implosion to corporate purgatory, to steady growth, and everywhere in between; something we all have in common. Not knowing how to get through inventory stockpiles, renegotiating lease agreements, debt consolidation, funding, travel, etc. It’s been hard, and it’s been an equalizer of sorts. Surely it’s been a humbling experience for even the most tactile business operator.

Though, considering all of this we keep coming back. It’s the people we love seeing, selling to, buying from, and working with. The past few months have given a great many of us the opportunity to chill out, focus on what matters, and find the good in things.

Ending 2020 with a smile was hard, but we seemed to gang together and did it anyway. The proverbial sun came up and we refused to be relegated to imprisoned mediocrity when it came to clothing. High third-quarter revenues boosted fourth-quarter outlooks and we haven’t looked back. Good!

It’s not where we’re headed. Seeing retailers in the stores, promoting new styles, new websites, social media campaigns, and generally being bright stewards of our industry is something that motivates us all, and we’ve got to keep encouraging it.

At the recent Memphis Prime and Dallas Men’s Shows our industry’s refusal to be held back by negativity and general doom & gloom was on full display.

Retailers and labels alike were in full swing (as safely as one can be) and engaged in crafting our futures. Shopping more confidently, having more conversations about the transference of style and taste, being more appropriate with buying at differentiating price points, and so on. Most of all it was the happy faces and positive outlook that took a stronghold.

A motivating atmosphere was present at both of the events and feels like it could be something to hang on to going forward. Labels and retailers alike are seeing the blossoms of new innovative ways to work together offering the customer freshly updated ways to dress whilst empowering each other’s businesses. This is something we’ve needed for a long time, admittedly.

Menswear as a whole has never been an early adopter of innovation in the modern sense per se, and there are ups and downs to that. However, what the last 10 days have shown is that now is surely the time to look up and push forward with a smile. Let’s keep giving our customers something to take home that’s more than a good deal on their new laundry. Let’s share with them how excited and motivated we are to be here, looking out for them, and let’s not let that feeling go!

Joe Lafko is the managing partner for Southern California-based denim start-up Trinidad3 Jeans. He can be reached at


  1. Love this! Definitely felt the positivity and energy in Dallas. We are all in this together!

  2. I appreciate the positivity Joe. Its easy to bemoan all the effects of a post-covid menswear world and the dearth of reasons for dressing up. But that just increases the need for us to be creative, tenacious and connect with our clients more than ever.

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