Man made: these five brothers have taken on the fashion game, playing by their own rules and redefining what we call All-American design
His take on his designs: "I'm inspired by exotic places--Kenya, Bali, Mexico," says Wilkerson.
His brilliant career: Before becoming design director for Lafayette 148 New York, Wilkerson designed for Anne Klein, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan.
His customer: Lafayette 148 New York is a favorite of women in charge who want it all: pieces that exude elegance and simplicity and also travel well. The line is sold at Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's and Saks Fifth Avenue stores.
Prices: From $200 for a blouse to $1,000 for a cocktail dress. For more information, call (212) 965-9606.
His take on his designs: "My work is simply complicated," says the couture designer with a laugh.
His brilliant career: michael entered the fashion arena as an apprentice to designer Oscar de la Renta in the early 1990's. By 1999 he was on his own, presenting his first collection of daytime, cocktail and evening wear.
His customer: michael's designs are a mainstay of society types such as author Susan Fales-Hill, actress Lynn Whitfield and philanthropist Malaak Compton-Rock. The line is sold at Saks Fifth Avenue stores nationwide.
Prices: From $1,500 for a cocktail dress to $5,000 for an evening gown. For more information, call the b michael showroom at (212) 703-9494.
His take on his designs: "My clothes are deconstructed and romantic," says the Harlem native. "They're art, but they're always wearable."
His brilliant career: In the early 1990's, the self-taught go-getter sold hats and scarves to Barneys New York as well as specialty boutiques, such as Traffic in Los Angeles and Big Drop in New York. LL Cool J and the late John F. Kennedy, Jr., were among Epperson's first fans.
His customer: His work appeals to artsy types like Erykah Badu, Cassandra Wilson, Aretha Franklin, Yolanda Adams and Les Nubians. His bridal work, which first appeared in 2000 in ESSENCE, has been a huge hit. Epperson's wife, Lisha, collaborates as his design partner. Their plus-size line debuted in October.
Prices: From $90 for a knit top to $1,500 for a bridal gown. The pieces are sold at Epperson Studio in New York City, (212) 239-2088, or online, eppersonstudio.com.
His take on his designs: "My signature fashion statement is classic with a sexy twist," he says.
His brilliant career: The Baltimore native and Parson's School of Design graduate worked for Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger, so it's no surprise that his own designs are fashion-forward and popular.
His customer: Green's sexy, contemporary pieces are sold in more than 200 specialty stores throughout the country, as well as in Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom stores.
Prices: From $90 for a knit top to $500 for a leather jacket. For more information, visit derekgreen.net.
His take on his designs: "They're whimsical and architectural," says Lars. "If my clothes could talk, they'd remind you how fierce and comfortable they are."
His brilliant career: Lars graduated from Fashion Institute of Technology and worked his way from a Seventh Avenue pattern maker in New York to a major Seventh Avenue designer.
His customer: Women who favor sportswear pieces with something extra, like his ultrafeminine blouses in menswear fabrications. Lars's designs are sold in more than 200 specialty stores, as well as in Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue stores.
Prices: From $130 for a blouse to $1,000 for an evening suit.
For details, see Where to Buy.