When I did ‘The Great Escape,’ I kept thinking, ‘If they were making a movie of my life, that’s what they’d call it – the great escape.’
-Steve McQueen

Where were you the day the Cavalier Essentials original lookbook released? It should be like when people ask where you were when Kennedy was shot or Pearl Harbor happened (I wasn’t alive for any of those either). It was February 5 of 2011. I know where I was. I was at my computer sitting in a puddle of drool along with the entirety of the internet lusting after this brand, but it wasn’t even a brand.

Cavalier Essentials was a project that was made by Taylor Pemberton back in July of 2011. In typical cool guy fashion Taylor said that he made the project for school and had no intention that it would be such a hit. It wasn’t even meant to be released. The lookbook was inspired by what Steve McQueen, “carried a beat-up leather duffel bag on the back of his motorcycle.” To me and to much of the internet lookbook was basically perfect. It was crisp, it had the car, and it had the girl. The products gleamed against a white studio backdrop yet carried a rugged manly mystique. Taylor got on interview on Complex, he got a feature on a series called Men of Distinction and a bunch of other blogs scattered across the net. Suddenly Taylor Pemberton was everywhere I wanted to be. In one day he seemed to have accomplished nearly everything I had wanted to. I was a a bit jealous, however my jealousy wasn’t full fledged. You see, there was one problem. The whole production was just a concept. None of the products actually existed.

There wasn’t anything being sold. What was produced was just an idea. Nothing tangible, nothing ready for production. So Taylor and the gang saw a good opportunity and they started putting things in place to actually make these products come to life. I lurked in the shadows of the internet, watching, waiting. It was a lot like when Drake was producing his first album. People wanted to see if Drake could turn all of his unsigned hype into success. I wanted to see if Cavalier could turn all of their current promotion from their into concrete success.

I waited until November 21, and though I don’t know all of the details behind the release, I felt let down when their online shop came into fruition, it didn’t seem to live up to the hype. It turns out they weren’t really a brand. They mostly sold products made by other brands. Also some of the products that we drooled over in the lookbook, didn’t go into actual production. I wasn’t sure whether to scoff at them, or share in their pain. I wanted it to succeed, I wanted it to be really successful because I needed to see another brand succeed. I want to see other brands come out of nowhere and make their own success with solid, quality, accessible product. Mainly because that’s what I want to do. The other side of me wanted to laugh and shun them as if to say, “You thought this business was that easy? Did you think that you could come in and join on this game we’re all playing and it wouldn’t be hard? Just because on your first day you got a lot of press doesn’t mean that you can escape this, reality will find you.” I was their admirer. I want to see people succeed in startup fashion. I want to be inspired.

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