By Yolanda Donae’
When was the last time you took a stroll through downtown Trenton? Even ahead of the pandemic, the area was not much of an attraction and was in obvious need of a facelift. Long-time residents of the City recall a time when the neighborhood was bustling with people and businesses were booming. While many things have changed over the years, one thing has remained constant: Residents’ commitment to reviving their community. This can also be said for the owner of BeSuited, 21-year-old Evan Harris.
In March, news circulated of a young man from Trenton who had, like many others, lost his job due to Covid-19. What stood out about Evan Harris’ story was not just that he had launched a new business amid the pandemic, but that he was only approaching his twenty-first birthday at the time of its unveiling. Before we were all forced into quarantine, Evan was like most people his age but with his own signature style.
He had graduated Notre Dame High School years prior, was active in the community, notably taking part in the Mill Hill’s Next Generation Community Leaders project, and enjoyed playing soccer in his downtime. He also spent several years working in retail and landed himself a position at a men’s suit store.
It was there that Evan had gotten back into more formal attire after giving his wardrobe a rest while he focused on sports. “There, my manager was my biggest style influence. He was the best dressed [person] I had seen in quite some time. It was like a competition between me and him when I came to work. I had to be tight enough for him to approve,” said Evan recalling the lighthearted competition between him and his former employer. But this was not his first introduction into the world of fashion and style. He began sporting suits in his early childhood years mostly for the church where his parents would lay out his Sunday’s best.
Evan comes from a family of style connoisseurs and is credited as being the resident style expert. It only made sense that he’d have his family at his side when he opened BeSuited. “I’m a big family guy, everyone that works with me is part of my family. They’re the biggest help for me and I couldn’t do this without them,” he added. During business hours, you can walk through the doors of the menswear boutique and be greeted by Evan, his mother Lisa Wilson, or their close family friend, Rodney Washington. Prior to BeSuited making a home across the street from Mercer County Community College, the space had been occupied by Byer’s Men’s Shop since 1924 where Rodney had worked for the last 20 years. This was a bonus for Evan as he modernized the business operations and continued to service Byer’s clientele. In the months leading up to their closing, Evan made note of their outdated items and was eager to provide a refreshing new shopping concept. What he was able to do at 127 North Broad Street was take his own style, sophisticated, timeless and creative, and develop another aesthetic that mirrored his own. He not only renovated a storefront but designed a multifunctional space that fulfills his styling and image consulting offerings, can accommodate moderately sized book signings and runway events as well as video and photoshoots. BeSuited also offers a group shopping experience where guests have private access to the store. Refreshments are served while patrons are serviced by Evan and another consultant for the duration of their booking.
The quality of the products offered at BeSuited have been well-received by the community, says Lisa, Evan’s mother.
“People love that they can come into the store and have high-quality items tailor-made or customized.”
Evan’s goal is to be a force in a way that encourages people to take pride in dressing well and to get the community thriving again by encouraging other young entrepreneurs to set up shop in Trenton. In the future, he plans to collaborate with African American designers and extend them a place at BeSuited to carry their designs. The store is open for business and is ready to service men’s apparel needs. Visit BeSuited downtown Trenton or shop online at BeSuited.online