Man to Man

Neil Ferrier is persistent. After weeks of email exchanges, moved meetings, and delayed dates, we finally connected one afternoon this past spring. At the time, Neil and I worked steps from each other in the Village of West Greenville, but until that day I’d never laid eyes on him—probably because he is usually meeting with an international client or cocooned at his desk, drawing up his next big idea.

Neil is not a designer. He is a mechanical engineer with a designer’s mind. More than anything, he is a creator. That is the core of his firm, Discommon, which is part incubator helping a variety of companies succeed through better design, and part workshop bringing to life men’s accessories that Neil dreams up. He calls these Discommon Goods, which are sleek, sexy, functional, and characteristically masculine (knives, razors, flasks, bottle openers, and more, are the physical embodiments of speed, adrenaline, testosterone).

Neil calls himself a “disruptor,” upending tired modes of design through creativity and positive intention, deeming the impossible possible.

For our annual Men’s Issue, we’ve assembled a storied cast of gentlemen: Neil Ferrier, the disruptor; Manny Houston, the triple threat; Jay Bergen, the famous attorney (who represented John Lennon); Jamie Cribb, the bright young chef; Greenville’s Camp Sevier, the brave boys of Old Hickory; and more.

We celebrate men in their varied, inspiring, and exasperating ways—but we’re not that different. We’re all complex, soulful, vain, sensitive, and stubborn. Ultimately, we’re what we believe we are. This is our common experience.

But in the style of Neil Ferrier, I’d urge us all to be a little more discommon.

Blair Knobel, Editor-in-Chief,

Photograph by Bob Gruen,

Attorney Jay Bergen (far right) dines with John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and colleagues in New York. He will present John Lennon, the Lawyer and the Mobster on August 2, 7pm, at the Peace Center’s Gunter Theatre. For more, see “Come Together.”