A Queens resident has spent years distributing suits and ties to local men in need. Now, he wants to teach them more than just fashion tips. NY1’s Tanya Klich has more.
Allesandro Engler is learning fashion tips for an upcoming job interview, but not at a trendy men’s boutique. Instead, he’s at the Manhattan office for 100 Suits for 100 Men. The Taiwanese immigrant says the nonprofit is upgrading his job-hunting techniques and his wardrobe.
“From this job training program I learn a lot, I learn how to dress up for interviews,” said Engler.
“I want them to look sharp,” said Kevin Livingston, founder of 100 Suits. He’s helped more than 7 thousand men-in-need get suited up, all thanks to donations from the community.
"When we first started 100 Suits we were just giving out suits on corners, we used to give them out on Parsons and Jamaica Avenue, we used to give them out on Merrick and 109th,” recalled Livingston.
He's since fine-tailored his efforts. He teams up with government agencies to serve all five boroughs with offices in Queens and Manhattan.
“It's overwhelming to see someone in a bad rut then just provide something as small as a suit or garment, to grant them an opportunity,” said Camee Lee, who works at 100 Suits’ Manhattan office.
Now Livingston is going beyond ties and cufflinks to help empower young men. He recently launched an entrepreneurship program to help former inmates.
“For men and women who are just coming home from serving state time,” said Livingston, “if we could teach you how to find a job we could teach you how to start a business.”
He teaches at the state's parole offices in Jamaica. His first class has eleven students, ages 21 to 40.
“We have another young man who wants to be an aspiring artist so we teach him how to build a social media platform,” said Livingston. “We have another brother who wants to start in construction so we’re helping him get his OSHA. I really teach them self-sufficiency.”
Livingston says he has more ideas up his sleeve. He wants to open a Brooklyn office to help teach more New Yorkers about the true meaning of a "power-suit."
That’s something so many have learned from him.
“I feel confident, it looks beautiful and you get more excited for [the] job interview,” said Engler.
If you’re interested in donating professional attire for men or women, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.