JOE MATHEW, 33
Hometown: Chingavanam, Kerala, India
Location: Washington, DC
JM: I would say my style vibe is traditional, comfortable and colorful!
JM: Looking back at my childhood as an adult, I would say two intertwined influences have inspired my casual style. The first is growing up in Kerala, India where no one is afraid of mixing colors, patterns and textured fabrics, the more vibrant, the better. This culture fearlessness translated directly into how my Mom used to dress my sister and I, as well as her personal style. My sister and I always had on colorful ensembles and our mom would always be adorned in sarees, churithars, shawls and accessories with loud patterns, bright colors, beadwork, metallic threading and plenty of 22 carat gold accessories that Kerala is famous for.
UD: What sets you apart from the "vanillas"?
JM: Not much! If I were to point out anything, it would be that as man who has fluctuated up and down the scale and is often frustrated with the limited size options at most popular retail options, I often have to search extensively to find at least one component of my outfit that will make me feel happy and not so vanilla. Some days at work that may just be a pair of cartooned socks, outside of work it could the llama printed shoes I picked up in Peru.
UD: Do you put conceptual or visual thought into your outfits daily? How?
JM: For my casual style - sometimes. I'll put together an outfit based on what I'll be doing throughout the day, what clothes resonate with my mood at the time and making sure that I'm comfortable. I'll sometimes pick out a shoe, accessory, top or pant that I want to wear and center the rest of the outfit around it.
UD: What are some of your go to brands?
JM: Destination XL, Amazon, Target. ASOS- for accessories.
UD: Do you have a hard time finding clothes at your size?
JM: See my response to the above question and then I'll echo that with a YES. For both my professional and casual styles, it's difficult to find clothes that are colorful, have an interesting design and fit well, especially at an affordable price point.
UD: How do you feel about the current men's plus size landscape?
JM: I believe that the men's average and plus size landscape is a underrepresented industry that is a far step behind in the fashion world. The women's average and plus size industry is starting to innovate, gain speed and change popular perceptions and I'll keep my fingers crossed that the men's industry is not that far behind.
Photography by Lewis Meyer-Peddireddy