Archie B. Sudue grew up in Liberia during a time of civil unrest. In the midst of everything that was happening around him, he remembers watching his grandfather meticulously ironing and styling his clothes each morning — sparking an appreciation for the power of clothing and how one’s style of dress can change their outlook.
Today Sudue is the owner of Mel Styles, the first Black owned luxury bespoke menswear retailer in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. The mission of Mel Styles is to elevate the lives of young men through fashion, and to inspire them to reveal the classic man inside.
Mel Styles offers personal styling, wardrobe analysis, maintenance, and bespoke services. The brand aims to educate young professionals on how to dress well by providing custom suits and the confidence to wear them the right way. The business has been prominently featured in events across the country, including New York Fashion Week, Los Angeles Fashion Week and shows in Atlanta, Miami, Detroit, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington. Mel Styles prides itself on selling classic, custom, cutting edge international style with purpose.
Although Sudue developed a passion for style early on, he initially studied civil engineering at Rochester College. After realizing that his true calling is fashion, he changed course and enrolled in a sewing class before taking a full time job at Men’s Wearhouse. He then landed a management position at a department store’s tuxedo shop. While working both jobs, Sudue learned the ins and outs of retail, fabrics, customer service and consumer preferences. He was determined to go beyond what he saw in retail and to inspire and uplift men who look like him. So, with just $45, Sudue started his business.
Locally, the company is known for its contributions to the community. Each year Mel Styles hosts a charity fashion show that brings in about 600-700 guests in attendance. During prom season each year, Mel Styles provides up to five suits for young men who can’t afford it. Mel Styles is much more than custom suits and fashion, it’s the best of fashion, with the purest of heart.