By JJ Stankevitz
As Ronnie Stanley strolls across the stage in downtown Chicago Thursday night to be revealed as a first-round draft pick — perhaps by the Chicago Bears — the suit he’ll be wearing will stand out, destined to blow up on Twitter and Instagram.
Ge Wang, who founded and runs the Chicago-based bespoke suit company ESQ Clothing, coyly won’t delve into what Stanley will be wearing. It’s going to be a major reveal for Wang and his hand-made bespoke suit shop, which has risen to prominence in NFL circles over the past few years.
“I’m just grateful for the opportunity, especially for Ronnie,” Wang said. “This is a night they’re going to remember for the rest of their lives. I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
Wang’s path to outfitting the likes of Stanley, former Bears running back Matt Forte, Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, Minnesota Vikings safety Harrison Smith and plenty others isn’t what you may expect. He’s a native of suburban Chicago and attended Glenbard South High School before earning a political science degree from Notre Dame. That route brought him to DePaul’s law school and on to practicing real estate law in Chicago.
While working as a lawyer, though, Wang felt he couldn’t find a suit that fit him, so he started dipping into custom-made ones. Something about that experience took hold, and he decided to give up a stable profession to follow a passion.
“I had absolutely no experience, to be honest,” Wang said. “I just kinda knew what I liked wearing and I went from there.”
So Wang started designing custom, hand-made suits out of a tiny, 250 square foot room in his Lake Shore East condo. His dog was running around, his girlfriend was nonplussed, and his parents questioned why he left his old job.
But he came in contact with a friend of a friend of a friend, who happened to be former Bears fullback Jason Davis. Davis liked Wang’s stuff, and word got around the Bears locker room. And then, all of a sudden, Wang had a request from Forte to make him a suit.
“You know that feeling you get when you get off a roller coaster and you can’t feel your legs? That was kind of what it was like,” Wang said.
Forte became one of Wang’s best clients — “now he comes in here and we shoot pool and play FIFA together,” Wang said — but also was key in promoting ESQ Clothing. NFL players talk a lot, which is why after seeing the garment he made for Forte, Wang had a message on Instagram from Charles asking for a suit.
Wang was able to tap into his Notre Dame connections, too, to help get the word out there about his business. For a high-end, custom shop — ESQ’s team of tailors are picky about the materials they use, and hand-made bespoke suits start at $2,000 — having pro athletes wearing his stuff was a huge credibility booster.
But what athletes seem to really love about ESQ’s suits is the custom printing they can put on the lining of a suit jacket. Portland Trail Blazers and former Irish swingman Pat Connaughton has the Golden Dome printed inside one of his. Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce both ordered jackets with their likenesses in it, as did former Notre Dame running back and NFL Draft hopeful C.J. Prosise. Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown went a different route: Skittles.
Those designs turned heads. But Wang thinks what Stanley will wear Thursday night is going to stand out even more.
“He came in asking for something — the color scheme was just beyond, something I would’ve never have thought of,” Wang said. “What you’re going to see is going to be really cool.”
Original article here.