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To help men relaunch their lives, this custom-tailor gives them suits

In our NewsHour Shares moment of the day, a man who has made a living crafting high-end suits has found a way to use his talents to give back to the community: by giving donated suits to men recently out of prison or rehab and looking for work.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And, finally, to our "NewsHour" shares.

    Christopher Schafer has made a living crafting high-end suits.

    But, as the "NewsHour"'s Rhana Natour reports, he has found a way to use his talents to give back to the community.

  • Rhana Natour:

    From his trendy studio in downtown Baltimore, Christopher Schafer designs custom-tailored suits. His shop is filled with patterned blazers, colorful ties and fabrics imported from London.

    And these one-of-a-kind designs, customized down to the button by Schafer and his son Seth, start at $3,000.

  • Christopher Schafer:

    Everything's made from scratch. We take the person's personality, and then infuse that into the garment.

  • Rhana Natour:

    For a man who makes pricey suits, Schafer has a surprising passion: He gives them away.

    In 2011, Schafer started Sharp Dressed Man. It gives donated suits to men recently out of prison or rehab and looking for work.

  • Christopher Schafer:

    There's a lot of programs that do a lot of things for job readiness, but where Sharp Dressed Man was kind of born from was that the idea with what they were going to wear for the interview, they would do all this internal work, but what about the external part? And it was kind of an afterthought.

  • Rhana Natour:

    In the past three years, Sharp Dressed Man has helped nearly 5,000 men, giving away 2,000 suits in 2017 alone.

    Throughout the week, Schafer collects donations from his clients and local residents. Every Wednesday, he hauls the donations here, a former Woolworths department store. As the suit recipients wait to get fitted, they can get a free haircut and a hot meal.

  • Christopher Schafer:

    I really think that the biggest thing, though, is a guy gets treated with respect. And some of these guys have not been. They have not treated themselves with respect, nor have been treated with respect.

  • Rhana Natour:

    Twenty-two-year old Tarod Stewart beamed as he tried on this suit, his first ever.

  • Tarod Stewart:

    I have been in the streets running around and catching charges and stuff like that, really not nothing to be proud of me. Now I'm older. And I'm trying to make — better my life.

  • Rhana Natour:

    Shawn Jones is six months clean, and will soon graduate from a drug recovery program.

  • Shawn Jones:

    When I put the suit, this suit on, it makes me feel like I have grown, I have matured, you know, I'm a productive member of society, I'm a man. You know, it made me just feel proud.

  • Rhana Natour:

    Christopher Schafer knows about wanting a new lease on life. He was once desperate for it.

  • Christopher Schafer:

    I have been clean for 13 years. So that's — that's kind of where the magic happens for me, is that I'm in a situation where I'm able to help, I'm able to help other people.

  • Rhana Natour:

    A lot of people can't imagine — they have never been in that situation — what it's like to rebuild your life from zero.

  • Christopher Schafer:

    It's the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. You have got to have a lot of courage. I needed a support. You need a support.

  • Rhana Natour:

    Schafer is now supporting those at the beginning of their own transformations. Soon, his son Seth will carry on that mission in Los Angeles, where he plans to open a second Sharp Dressed Man.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Rhana Natour in Baltimore, Maryland.

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