I'm Joshua Katcher. I started The Discerning Brute, the world's first men's vegan lifestyle website, over 10 years ago. On this website you'll discover food, fashion, sports and culture for the ethically-handsome man.
Indulgence doesn't have to be shameful. At The Discerning Brute, we believe in the simple idea that the handsomeness of an object should be matched by the handsomeness of how it was made. Some think this is a radical approach. I just think it's common decency (and I'm guessing you do too).
Photo: Eric Mirbach
Joshua Katcher is a fashion entrepreneur, author, educator and vegan cheesemonger who has taught at Parsons The New School and LIM college, and has lectured internationally and lobbied in the United States for sustainable and ethical fashion. He is on the Advisory Board for the New Fashion Initiative and in 2018 he published Fashion Animals, the first book dedicated to understanding how any why animals are exploited in the fashion industry.
Katcher launched the first vegan, ethically-made menswear fashion brand, Brave GentleMan in 2010 after launching the first men's vegan lifestyle website The Discerning Brute in 2008. VOGUE says that, "The full scope of Katcher’s ethical commitment is rather head-spinning, just as it is to gape about his Williamsburg shop, with its complete future-is-now men’s range". PAPER MAG said BGM has "just about everything a mindful fashionisto could want”, while Sportswear International said that BGM is, “vegan smart and cool menswear”. Brave GentleMan has graced the cover of British GQ's November 2016 Issue on Benedict Cumberbatch. Forbes has featured BGM in their gift guides, while COMPLEX called BGM one of the “coolest things” they've seen. Katcher was awarded "Menswear Brand of the Year, 2016" and "Most Influential Designer of 2015" by PETA. He is a contributor to CFDA News, has appeared on the cover of Vegan Good Life Magazine, and has been interviewed on major networks, such as PBS News Hour and Al Jazeera America as a fashion expert.
In 2018, Katcher cofounded RIND, a French-style, plant-based cheese of the future that goes through a primordial process; microbes break down the proteins & fats into many molecules that pack tons of flavors. Edible spores form a rind that locks in and magnifies this magical, biological process.
Let's be clear: mainstream-masculinity has some serious, far-reaching, negative impacts. At a systemic level, many of its tenets form a roadblock to a more compassionate and sustainable world. Empathy, kindness and caring about animals, ecosystems, other people, and even our own wellness have traditionally been relegated to the false stereotype of femme sentimentality and general weakness. We live in a culture that tends to excuse, celebrate and reward many forms of brutality, and tends to ridicule, shame and punish gentleness and compassion.
So why have I made a "men's lifestyle" website? I believe it's still necessary. Thankfully, the perception of veganism among men has changed a lot since I started writing in 2008, but we're far from solving this problem. Veganism need not be gendered - but for many, veganism is still perceived as an anemic regimen in the realm of the femme, and as a sacrifice of both power and pleasure. While The Discerning Brute features traditionally-masculine pursuits aimed at appealing to masculine-identifying people, I hope to subvert these tendencies and create a space where mainstream men can consider new ideas that center compassion in a context that doesn't frighten them off, with the goal of bringing about personal change. Is it perfect? Certainly not. Is it free of contradictions and missteps? Nope. Nonetheless, I aim to use The Discerning Brute as tool with which to critique and revise masculinity and challenge our notions of aspiration and what it means to "be a man" today.
Ultimately, The Discerning Brute is a tool for anyone, not just the strictly-masculine among us, who wants to live an ethical, enjoyable life.