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5 Menswear brands to look out for

One of the question I am frequently asked by my male friends is which brands I would recommend. And because my blog has a reactionary approach to current attitudes, and because I believe that end-consumers do shape or direct trends I put this post together.

We all know and love the likes of Philip Lim, Public School, COS, and Acne Studios but there are a few less known brands that are making enough of the right noise to deserve our attention. New blood is attempting to redefine our perception of menswear, moving away from the tired “regular jeans and crew neck mid-bicep t-shirt” model, towards a new mindset that prefers to experiment with shape, volume, and masculinity.

Andersson Bell SS 2017

But what is also interesting – watch this space- is their alternative route to market. Most of these brands choose to sell their collections only directly (via their reference retail and online shops) instead of selling via big department store chains and online conglomerates. They also understand that by collaborating with other cool brands, whose expertise is different to theirs, beefs up their offering. Collaborating and exclusively selling your product might sound a bit too dangerous for the fashion establishment, but it seems to be working for these new brands. Questions are born: are male consumers ready now to embrace the ‘lifestyle-model’ retail experience? Are they willing to search around for exclusive brands instead of finding a one-stop shopping experience like they used to?

But for now, let’s get back to the point and answer my friends’ question: I would recommend the below 5 menswear brands. They are definitely the ones to watch!

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London Fashion Week Men’s AW17 Trends

We expect the fashion coming out of London to push boundaries, and it does. But interestingly enough, men’s shows this season while still challenging, felt incredibly wearable. They were more mature, more thought through, concentrating on how the clothes translate to the street without losing sight of the message. And God did AW17 shows have strong messages…

We had the norm gender-bending, gender-defying message, a stable for British brands, but this time it was less gimmicky. It felt less of a concept for the fashion crowd’s internal consumption, and more of a discussion on how modern men view their masculinity. For example, why is it ok to wear lycra trousers when doing sports and not when walking down the street?  Why does playing with proportions, and distorting the balance of the body, is a womenswear only preoccupation? It was less of a drag show, and more of a sincere question on gender defining attributes.

London Fashion Week Men's AW17 Trends: Christopher ShannonBut what raised a few eyebrows in the post-Brexit referendum era, were the political messages communicated by many designers. In a few shows the message was very subtle; with clothes that looked battle-ready, or with clothes that felt as if they have been bruised by a battle. However, Christopher Shannon, not shying away from a clearer stand on Brexit, sent models down the runway with melted flags obscuring their faces. And to make things even more straight-forward his play on Hugo Boss’s logo, spelling ‘Loss international’, summarised the feeling many young people have in the UK.

But to the point, there were a few distinctive trends emerging from the AW17 runways. Menswear brands overcame the division between performance-wear and daywear; the merging of the two was complete and did feel sincere; a fresh approach to “athleisure”. What also excited me was how ‘utility’ was brought to the next level; proving that juxtaposing utilitarian and a design-focused approach can be irrelevant. Designers showed us that a happy co-existence is possible. But there was a micro-trend, related to these utilitarian-performance-daywear hybrids, I cannot wrap my head around. What is it with all the ski-wear down-filled jackets, trousers, and separates? Even my ski-crazy friends will struggle to stand behind this…

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Today’s Edit: 3 different men, 3 different outfits

This is my first post about menswear. I have been asked by many why I don’t venture into the realm of men’s fashion. My answer always confuses them; it is way too personal…But I have been asked so many times I decided to start listening. This blog is not a reactive blog but more of an interactive one. Your feedback informs it and pretty much directs it. I am a strong believer in listening to people’s needs and trying to cover them, instead of assuming what these needs are. But enough about me!

So, for my first post on my “MEN” section, I put together an edit of three outfits; a selection of what is available to buy right now. Through these 3 edits I try to summarise-excuse my generalization- three attitudes, or better, to describe three different shoppers. They are all fashion enthusiasts, but have a different relationship with their clothes. It was real fun making up these characters…

The Urban guy

urban-man

He is a real urban dweller. His idea of nature is the well-groomed Victoria Park in East London; coffee less than 15-minutes’ walk. He loves it when people compliment him on the fact that he looks at least 10 years younger but hates it when his mum says he should start dressing his age. He will never conform!

He doesn’t do brick and mortar. No shop understands his magpie aesthetic and they are all too mainstream to even attempt catering for him. Roll in online shopping, and endless hours spent hunting for the right garment. Add on top of that the hours he spends monitoring each garment in his wish list, ensuring he is the first to push buy when the price is satisfactorily reduced. What he does is not internet savvy but proper data analysis.

His outfits look like they have been casually put together, but look more carefully and you will see the hours spent assembling them, each garment a nod to each one of the season’s trends.

He loves Korean buns and artisan locally produced beer, and detests narrow-minded people, logo t-shirts, and ill-behaved children. 23rd of June was one of the worst days of his life, he made himself feel better by buying yet another pair of jeans…

The Edit:

Camouflage jacket by Alexander Wang

Collarless shirt by Saturdays NYC

Embroidered T-Rex t-shirt by Rag & Bone

120z drop crotch tapered hand-washed jeans by Natural Selection London

Felt military backpack by Dries Van Noten

Leather sneakers by McQ, Alexander McQueen

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