Maintaining an impressive physique can be quite a challenge, and finding clothing that complements that muscular physique can be equally challenging. Bodybuilders usually find that off-the-rack dress shirts are too tight around the neck and chest, while big-and-tall shop offerings have excess fabric in the torso. Brad Poppie, a local entrepreneur, author and bodybuilder, had so much trouble finding clothes that fit, he ultimately decided to create his own clothing line.
Along the way, he attended a Dreamer and Doer workshop hosted by Brandi Shigley, a 2005 Westword MasterMind and founder of Fashion Denver, who helped bring his idea for a clothing line for muscular men to life.
Now, after years of planning, Poppie is ready to launch his Denver-based brand, Bradley Allen Apparel, which specializes in comfortable, affordable dress shirts with a tailored fit. The line will be unveiled at a party and fashion show on Saturday, May 26, at Armbrust Pro Gym in Wheat Ridge. The men in the fashion show will be wearing Bradley Allen Apparel, of course, while the women will model designs by Francis Roces and James Silvrants, with hair and makeup by Glam at the Grove. The event will also feature local music, food and drinks; guests will get a 20 percent discount on Bradley Allen Apparel.
Bradley Allen shirts are designed for the muscular V-shape physique: wide shoulders, large arms, small waist. The shirts are made from athletic performance fabric, a blend of cotton and spandex. The dress shirts are $90 each and available in three colors: solid white, black and blue.
“At Bradley Allen, our vision is to transform the image of bodybuilders and muscular men by inspiring confidence and style when they wear dress clothing,” says Poppie. “Rather than settling for baggy shirts or expensive tailoring, we foresee a world where every man has a quality, ready-to-wear dress shirt that he feels great in no matter how big his biceps are."
Keep reading for our interview with Poppie.
Westword: Have you always had an interest in fashion?
Brad Poppie: Ever since I was in high school.
Is there a connection between fitness and fashion?
Over the course of the last five years, fashion has become a very popular topic in the fitness arena. Typically, fashion is centered around looking good in your fitness clothing when you're at the gym. While there is a market for form-fitting gym attire, there is a large void with carrying over that form-fitting image that is portrayed in the gym to that of dress apparel. Bradley Allen is the premier men's physique-tailored dress apparel that fill this void in the athletic/bodybuilder physique.
What inspired you to come up with a clothing line specifically for bodybuilders?
My inspiration came from personal experience as a lifelong bodybuilder having a very difficult time finding dress clothing that actually fit. Shirts were either too tight or too baggy around the torso. All of my hard work in the gym didn't show when I had to put on a long-sleeved dress shirt. I felt like I looked ridiculous.
How long ago did you take Brandi Shigley's Dreamer/Doer workshop, and what was the impact on your clothing line?
I took Brandi's workshop approximately four years ago, which is when I met her. I was introduced to the key players that helped me make Bradley Allen a real clothing brand.
What kind of garments are you making? Is it just collared shirts, or more clothing and accessories?
Currently, we offer long-sleeved men's dress shirts. We have short-sleeved polo shirts coming out this summer, and dress slacks projected to launch this fall or winter.
Where can customers purchase your clothing?
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Customers can buy our clothing online at bradleyallen.com. Here you will find a size guide to ensure you are purchasing the right tailored fit.
What can guests expect at the event?
We are launching our apparel line to our local Denver community, and couldn’t be more excited. We have already seen great traction in our national launch, and now it is time to celebrate with our Denver community.
Bradley Allen Apparel will celebrate its launch from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday, May 26, at Armbrust Pro Gym, 4240 Kipling Street in Wheat Ridge. The fashion show will start at 7:30 p.m. Find more information on Bradley Allen Apparel here.