Alvin Hill (@thecustomsuitguy)
Our father feature for the month of May is a father who has grown on me over my Happy With Daddy career. Right off the bat, we clicked over our interests in sports and our Saturday morning 90's R&B vibes. Last year, I felt like I was with him in Ann Arbor even though I was just following his every move on his IG story as he was cheering on his Michigan Wolverines. Then, the relationship became even tighter as we talked about how one kid could have so many toys or how cool it is to raise loving daughters. He doesn't know this but connecting with Alvin over Instagram has all but pushed me to be a better man and father. I have realized that I DESPERATELY need a new custom suit and that, if I just push myself a little harder than the rest, I can achieve what I want. I hope all of your teams win a championship at some point in your life. I hope your wife is proud to call you her husband and I hope your daughter realizes how much of a hard working and loving father she has. And finally, from me to you, thanks for driving others to be better even when you don't even notice it and thank you for being a great example of what a man, husband and father should be. MY MAN!!
What is your favorite part about doing what you do for a living?
This is actually a really good question because there are multiple things I love about what I get to do for a living. If I were to narrow it down to just one thing, I think the best part is a client’s reaction to putting on his first custom fitting suit and seeing that moment change his life. The reason I think we change a client’s life with our clothing is because, once you put on your first custom suit, your whole demeanor changes. A man finds confidence that he never had before when he puts on a suit that fits every crevice of his body. To slightly add on to that answer, when I receive a call or text message from a client telling me that this is the best fitting suit they own and they just got the job they wanted or attended an event where they were easily the best dressed and received multiple compliments,it’s better than any paycheck I receive. It is what truly brings me joy and happiness and why I never feel like I work a day in my life.
What is that one thing that we should all know before getting fitted for a suit?
The first thing I want a client to know is that this will be the best clothing/customer experience that they will ever have. We like to think our process is the best in the business because we truly give every client the same treatment. We put the client first no matter what. As our company continues to grow, this is something I will never let us forget. It doesn’t matter if you’re John Cena (who is one of our great celebrity clients) or you’re someone getting your first suit for your first job interview, you will be taken care of the same way and leave knowing you won’t get top notch service like this anywhere else on the planet.
Who is your fashion idol?
That’s a great question. I don’t know if I really have an idol in the fashion industry that I look up to. I like to think I dress a little differently from the pack and think outside the box when I’m putting together certain looks for myself. If I were to pick one person who I’ve pulled bits and pieces from, I would say that person is the actor Michael B. Jordan. His style is never over the top but he has certain subtle combinations that remind me of what I try to do. I also try to keep myself in the best shape I can.Following his career, I can see that he does this as well foreach movie he’s had a role in.I think keeping yourself in the best shape possible willonly enhance whatever suit style you are trying to pull off.
Last year you did something special for a young kid in Pittsburgh. Share that story with us.
Every year that our company has been in existence, we’ve flown in the celebrities we work with to put on a celebrity fashion show that raises money for a local charity. Last year, we wanted to bring awareness to young children who have been dealt an unfortunate hand in life so we chose to work with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh for our fashion show. The child I got to work with for the custom suit fitting was Lance Hupkovich. Lance’s story really hit home with me, especially because I had a 2 year old daughter at home. At the age of 4, Lance was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor in his brain stem that compressed his spine as well as a tumor in his optic nerve. From the first moment that I heard his story, all I could think about was how devastated I would be if something like that happened to Elaina. Lance’s parents, though, are probably the strongest people I’ve met. They never wavered through the whole process of treatments and doctor’s visits.
Lance was able to overcome this horrible disease and now he’s living a life where he can play hockey with his friends again. I remember the day I was heading to meet Lance for his fitting and I was asking myself how I could bring joy to a child who was already the ultimate fighter. I went down to my man cave where I have some sports memorabilia and remembered Lance was a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates. I automatically grabbed my signed bat by Pirate’s second baseman and All Star Josh Harrison. I knew I needed to give this to Lance. After everything he had overcome, I knew he deserved to have the bat more than me. When the fitting ended, I told Lance that I had one last gift for him and, as I brought out the bat and tried to hold back the tears I knew were coming, I saw his huge smile and it was truly the best feeling I’ve felt in my entire life.
As a man of fashion, how has that translated to your daughter's fashion?
This is another great question. As I stated earlier, I like to think outside the box with my own style so I try to do the same thing on the days when I’m the one getting my daughter dressed for her day. My wife will occasionally look at Elaina’s outfit and say that she never would have thought of that combination but that it actually looks good together. I will say that I get zero credit for her hair, though. I have no idea what I’m doing with my daughter’s hairstyles so all of that credit goes to my wife, Stephanie. She does a great job making sure that Elaina’s hair is ready for the long day at Nana’s house.
What was your reaction when you found out you were going to have a girl?
I actually was not surprised at all.The first morning that we woke up after having found out that Stephanie was pregnant, she told me that she had had a dream in which Stephanie’s grandmother, who had just passed away a week prior,had put her hands on her belly and told Stephanie that “SHE” was going to be ok. From that moment, I knew that we were having a girl. Elaina is the best first daughter a daddy could ever ask for. She’s already so loving and caring and I can’t wait to continue to watch her grow up.
What have you learned about fatherhood that you would pass on to someone expecting their first child?
PATIENCE!!! That’s the biggest thing any father needs when expecting his first born. I don’t only mean patience with your son or daughter but patience throughout the entire process. You have to have patience when your significant other is moody during the pregnancy and asking for the moon and more. You have to have patience as you’re driving to the hospital to bring that new bundle of joy into the world. You have to have patience when you’re in the delivery room. We were fortunate to have had somewhat of a quick delivery but, on the other hand, Elaina had breathing problems so we had to stay in the hospital an extra week after she was born. That was the most patience I ever had to employ in my life.
My wife won’t know this until she reads this article but, every day when I would go back to the house to shower and bring back fresh clothes, I actually got onto my knees and cried out to keep our baby safe and let her get through that first challenge. I promised myself that, when I was in the hospital room, I would only show courage and strength because that’s what Stephanie needed at the time but back home was when I would pray for patience and for our baby girl to make it through. Once your child arrives, the need for patience is only just beginning as they will test it and test it and test it. Honestly, it will be the biggest test of your life and you’ll want to pass with flying colors!
If we asked your daughter to tell us one thing she loves about you, what would it be?
Well,now that she speaks in full sentences, she would probably give you the honest to God answer that she loves that daddy brings her Panera Bread broccoli cheddar soup after the gym every day. To me, that really means that she knows daddy will go to any limits to get her what she needs or wants. My dad was our protector and our provider and I will be that for her for the rest of my life!
Is it OK to be fashionably late?
It is NOT okay to be fashionably late.I’m an athlete at heart and, in my collegiate football days, I was always taught to respect people’s time because time isthe ONE thing we will never get back in life. I live by the great Bill Cowher’s (Steelers Hall of Fame Coach) number one rule. If you are 5 minutes early, you are LATE! Simple as that.