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my journey in men’s fashion began in the contrast of corn fields and rugby uniforms; the story is curious and different, and its narrative reflects a lot in the feel of Kempt.

i started college in a small town in illinois, choosing the school for its rugby team. i loved sports and brands that found inspiration in them. i’d always followed ralph lauren’s rugby line, feeling understood and inspired. being intentional about what i wore in college was my way of creating an identity for myself when i was far from home. i have always believed that the clothing we wear is one of the few ways we can explain ourselves to others without saying a word.

like a lot of college freshmen, my path and my passions weren’t lining up, and before long i was looking for the escape hatch. i eventually found my way to new york city and the fashion institute of technology. i lived over the bridge in brooklyn, and worked at a flagship retail store in union square and for a start-up men’s personal styling company. learning about the contrast between the rigidity of the corporate world and the agility of small business was the first glimpse that i might want to create something small of my own. 

the thing about new york city is that it’s not home to me, and i learned quickly that i didn’t want it to be. i’d assumed that to succeed in fashion, i needed to be at its epicenter, but nyc isn’t home to the people and places and trends that made me fall in love with clothing in the first place. there’s something special about georgia’s slow crawl towards innovation -- its scaling culture and diversity, paralleled with its centuries-old roots and elaborate history. during my final 2 college years (this time at the nation’s greatest university - go dawgs!) i learned that athens is all of the things i love about georgia within one drive of the loop. the energy of this city is unique. the more you look for it, the more you’ll find.

when i transferred to uga, i reached for the thing that always helped me root myself in a new place - clothing. after living here a few months, i’d tried to find a place to shop that felt like it was true to me and to the story i wanted to tell here in athens. i found a few pieces here and there that i loved, but i felt like there was so much more out there that hadn’t found a home in the classic city. that’s what Kempt is to me, and what i hope it can become to you. 

when i started talking about this journey to family and friends, we started calling Kempt “clothing for the other guys.” it’s a place for the people who are trying to tell their story differently, and who aren’t afraid to break the mold a bit. georgia is southern, it’s classic, traditional, warm… but it’s also experimental, cutting-edge, and unconventional. you’ll find all of those things at Kempt. whether you’re looking for a first date outfit or just grabbing a drink and reading the newest GQ on the couch, we’re looking forward to being a small part of the story you’re telling.

see you soon,

ryder chosewood
Kempt founder