Vagrant Nobility designs durable duds for the Midwestern man
Aside from an affinity for flannel and work-wear, Midwesterners aren’t known for their fashion sense. But two very trendy dudes in the heart of Chicago are trying to change that. The guys: Tim Tierney and Mike Moriarty. Their fashionable brainchild: Vagrant Nobility. With high quality materials, vintage hardware, and serious Midwest love, this duo aims to change the country’s prospect of Midwestern style—and look good doing it.
“Yeah, there are a lot more resources in New York and Lost Angeles for manufacturing and promoting clothing brands,” Tierney says. “But in Chicago, there’s that strong Midwest work ethic. People have hometown pride, and making our clothes right here in the city feeds off that.”
One thing Tierney likes about starting his own label? “I don’t have a boss,” he says. “It’s freedom.” But it took a while for him to gain the right amount of fashion experience to really establish his label. Before creating Vagrant Nobility’s first line, Tierney studied up on the fashion industry. “I worked in every facet of the business,” he says, noting that he took classes and started working with pattern makers to get ready. “We spent about a year preparing. We wanted to be informed before entering the industry—I wanted to have that experience. And because we did, we saved a lot of time and money.”
Now Moriarty designs the clothes and Tierney develops the pieces, bringing them from a concept to a functional, wearable garment. “Mike and I decide which pieces we want to produce, then he comes up with sketches,” Tierney says. “I know how clothing production works, so I condense Mike’s images and concepts into things that are efficient to make.”
Vagrant’s first line has a strong military influence and was actually produced at a factory specializing in military garments. “We looked at archives and Civil War photos for more inspiration,” Tierney says. “For fall and winter, we wanted to create clothes that had a rugged aesthetic but with a tailored fit so they can be worn outside as well as downtown.” And Vagrant’s clothes are exactly that—trendy by design and functional by production. Another thing that sets Vagrant apart from other labels is its emphasis on practicality over trend value. “We build the collection as a whole, not just for different seasons,” Tierney says.
The guys outsource from all over the world to collect hardware for their clothes. While hip men’s clothing is often made with the cheapest and most accessible materials, their clothes provide sustainability and style with a local touch: Vagrant uses high-quality fabrics. Right now, Vagrant specializes in shirts, jackets, neckwear, and vests, but they have more in store for the future, including pants.
Tierney and Moriarty don’t have a store, but that’s not a problem: The Vagrant experience lies in how the clothes are produced, not where they’re purchased. “We’re more interested in crafting each piece to be great,” Tierney says. “We’re designing for ourselves, really—we make things we want to wear. We design pieces so each one will be a favorite in our wardrobe.” It’s this common-sense attitude—combined with above-average materials, strong attention to detail, and a unique design process—that makes Vagrant Nobility’s clothing perfect for the modern Midwestern man.
Find Tierney and Moriarty’s designs online and in-stores at these locations: Vagrant Nobility (Vagrantnobility.com), Dovetail (Dovetailchicago.com), Independence (comingsoon.independence.chicago.com), Eskell, (eskell.com) (accessories only), Heritage Bicycles (heritagebicycles.com)