In Mens Mens Clothing Mens Fashion Mens lifestyle Mens Spring/Summer 2018 Review Mens Style Menswear Murray West

Survival By Design: Murray West


When did the infamous and often sought after 'fifteen minutes of fame' become the longest most fruitful fifteen minutes to some, but the most annoying and mind-numbing fifteen minutes to others?  Some traditionalists may puff out their chests and squawk that it was when rock-solid values were broken-down and challenged in this age of circus antics and self-promoted head-swelling.  However, some modernists and iconoclasts might clap-back that it's those questionable values, with their shaky foundations of hypocrisy and prejudice, that were bound to break and must be challenged for the skepticism and outrage they create.  Well I say, how we get our information is often fueled by an absentminded fast-pace that it may seem talent takes a backseat to, but where in fact it actually has to just coexist with on a quick-moving stage that craves something favorable in everyone be they talented or talentless.

It's usually at this point that I investigate those fifteen minutes.  Is it hype, are they truly talented, is it a passionate drive, cry for attention or money-based motivation?  I often see skeptical infamy more than talent, however when I actually do see the promise of talent, I stamp it to watch and remember.  Talent makes the people want to see those fifteen minutes turn into a lifelong story.  Enter Jerell West of Murray West.  Murray West is a modern menswear line that takes the spirit of American sportswear and merges it with global signifiers that the cosmopolitan male connects with such as luxury, versatility, streetwear, art and culture to create thought-out clothing with a voice.  


What struck me as interesting upon seeing this collection from Murray West was that it adhered to an interesting element of the current direction in menswear that serves as a distinct departure from 90s minimalism and new millenium basics-building.  The rise of individuality on social and global fronts has of course created fashion for the trendhumpers & hypebeasts, but has also seen a growing return to non-confirmative fashion choices from individuals who want to step free of the status quo.  This is what I find intriguing about about Mr. West's clothing.  It is balanced without being boring and appropriately design-savvy without being questionably over-the-top.  This collection shows an eye for communicable form, plausible ideas and clean craftsmanship that are all commendable. It's exhibits a thinking seasoned mind from a 24 year old whose drive and mentoring from NY-based Creative Director Mykel C. Smith has amassed him a growing following for the menswear legacy he's been building since winning a fashion contest at his high school years back.  


This Murray West collection is not complicated, its well-communicated.  The color blocking is fresh & exciting and the individual pieces create lively pairings, but also have strength on their own for integrating with one's already existing wardrobe.  That is the modernity key, the forward trifecta if you will.  That each piece works together for a cohesive collection but still has the potential to stand alone through clean relatable color, strong identifiable shapes and quaint edgy details is what sets Mr. West up as a designer to watch with a growing following.  So it would appear that Mr. West's talent, passion and rise with Murray West can't be contained into a mere fifteen minutes.  May the traditionalists and modernists both rejoice.    



Creative Direction- Mykel C .Smith 
Photography- Joshua Scott
Grooming- Rashida Bolden 
Models- Charlie James - Fusion Management 
        Angel - Best Boy Management 

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In I Rant You Read Mens Mens Clothing Mens Fall/Winter 2018 Review Mens Fashion Mens lifestyle Menswear OpEd

I Rant, You Read: Beauty, In The Eye Of The Bedecked - Fall 2018 European Mens Collections Review


Does menswear denote beautiful?  Is that even a word that should be associated with menswear?  And what is beauty after all?  One's person's tall, dark & handsome can certainly draw skepticism from someone else's delight in the short, fair & freckled.  One's pressed, steamed and starched ending could be the canvas waiting to be darned, exaggerated and distressed for another.  There has been a growing momentous shift towards redefining the beautiful, the appropriate and the acceptable.  The momentum behind it seems to be a push to see beauty in all things and for all persons albeit that where the examination stems from is still largely visual in nature.  A key behind this stance seems to be something I've spoken about in past rants.  Exhaustion!  The crumbling face of austere politics, the collective shout of marginalized voices and the desperate efforts to hold onto pseudo-legacies all feed into fashion's ingestion of the signs of the times.  To perpetually be cajoled to accept obvious societal fallacies is exhausting. To consistently be expected to turn a blind eye to overt realities is exhausting.  One's exhaustion could very well be blamed on another's point of view or just highlight one's apathy. 


Fashionably speaking, one could very well say that the pretty little system of fashion much like the world it tries to interpret through broadcloth and brocade is not as collectively beautiful as it once was.  Or perhaps it still is beautiful, but the hands who've dictated what beautiful always was now have to share the thrown with a global band of influentials that defiantly assert that conventional beauty is not so much so anymore.  This assertion creates a broader, more accepting and diverse fashion cycle to some and a beginning of the end to others.  Admittedly, I was one of those who saw armageddon on the horizon at first, but then I had to delve deeper to remind myself about of one of fashion's principles.  Fashion serves as a direct interpretation of society through dressing and adornment.  However, as the individual voice became louder globally, the system that once dictated like a monarch had to share its throne with the influence of style and its skewed lines, which given the amount of expressive folks globally, doesn't fit so neatly into a box, a season, a collection or a preordained definition of beauty so easily.  


It took some examining, but the Fall/Winter 2018 European Menswear Collections that ended in Paris a few days ago still had the conventionally pretty or archetypical handsome, but there were a growing number of designers that offered clothing designed and styled to get nods of approval from those men who say 'eh' to the typical.  One's assertion to it being the way a man brings life to clothes & accessories is another's declaration that the clothes still make the man.  Perhaps that's where style comes in.  The clothes have been offered, now make them into something not by the cut of its cloth, but because of the cut of your cloth.  There were many interesting collections from London to Milan to Paris for Fall/Winter 2018 that showcased the beauty in the conflicts of youth & age, tailored & casual, trim & oversized and hyped & brooding. 


The cartoon homage coaxing the Peter Pan from within the modern man at Bobby Abbley, the moody technical chic from A Cold Wall and the plaid tailored full cut overcoats that took many center stages in London were of a delightfully adult note but made playful and youthful when paired with puddling trousers like at Qasimi, Astrid Andersen and Alex Mullins. The blanket-cushy mosaic-like sportswear at Craig Green segued nicely over into a surprisingly exuberant and refreshing Milan.  Fendi was in great form with a cheeky whimsy added to lush textures, irreverent color and learned adult shapes.  The oddly kinetic conflicted print and color mash-ups proved a provocatively fresh stance for Ms. Prada while Neil Barrett's boys were trimly tailored with great military & workwear bearing a young cadet vibe.  The autumnal balance of sweet colors knitted together in luxe adoration at Missoni and the endearing unkempt nerdy ease at Marni rounded out marking what could be a very retail friendly season for the empire Milan.   It all ended with a lanky and layered Paris.  Styling was key here and the bevy of sumptuous full shapes swinging from shoulders and pooling around legs at shows like Lanvin, Icosae, Hermes and Lemaire were like modernized power suits with an early Armani-esque fluidity.  The disproportionately craggy clashed but intriguing layers at Y Project, Vetements, WooYoungMi and Sacai were bizarely attractive and welcomingly odd and created segues to the stories of young avant romanticisms from Demeulemeester & Margiela, perfect kaleidoscopic print & explosions in soft tailoring from Van Noten and shellacked and otherworldly surface treatments from Jones' last go-round at Louis Vuitton.


Perhaps it's to be said that we sometimes see the polished, formulaic and beautiful so much so that we no longer really notice it.  There's a wisdom of thought, a collective understanding if you will, that we've had beauty, prescribed rituals and set-in-stone rules crammed down our throats for so long that some of us are, well, exhausted.  In a society and world where what was once held as platform and standard is coming apart at the seams, there is a push now to expand our perspectives and our established normative of what is the status quo of beauty, dress and adornment.  Evidence of this is the embracing of non-Western, unconventional and often considered ugly cultural themes in mainstream menswear.  The lines, the formulas, the techniques and the craftsmanship of menswear is still all cherished, but what's being proven more today is that it's the personal diversities, lives and  stories breathed into it once exiting the atelier that makes it a thing of beauty.


*Photos courtesy of Vogue.com, WWD.com and NowFashion.com

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In Billy Mens Mens Clothing Mens Fashion Mens lifestyle Mens Spring/Summer 2018 Review Mens Style Menswear

Fresh-Brewed Sportswear: BILLY Los Angeles



How do you take your sportswear?  Perhaps you shop every month and take your sportswear with a bit of sugar in the form of flourishes and details that are shiny and memorable.  Or maybe you take your sportswear straight up with nothing added ensuring that its shell life and its working into your existing wardrobe will overlook trend and hype.  Then there are questions as to where you've gotten it.  Did it come from the collective spigot of the local fast-fashion deli or from the fine French press of the more seasoned expertly designed trattoria?  Well there's good defenses for both one's choice of sportswear brew, however I've found that knowing what to procure from those that offer the highbrow and lowbrow can make all the difference in a delightfully roasted cup of menswear java.


Great lines that fit well, foresee & often overlook trend and offer colors that can transcend from season to season are always ones to watch.  Menswear has always been a slow-moving animal, but even though it has found an exuberant momentum in the past ten years, certain sticklers like quality in fabrication and building a way of dress as opposed to subscribing to seasonally trending themes still reign supreme.  Enter BILLY.  When I first previewed Billy a couple months ago I was immediately drawn to the attractively somber color palette and nicely weighted textiles.  From the vintage washed & hand-distressed jerseys to the über-soft hands of tees and leathers, Billy, founded in Los Angeles in 2017 by Holly Jovenall, offers the kind of approach to basics that take you from need to want.  You need base layers like hoodies, tees and reliable jackets but after espying the subtle nuances of hue that suggest color but don't overpower you with it, that want turns to need.  Jovenall went from designing vintage wears for private clients in 2015 to creating Billy to cater to the future which has seen a significantly lesser reliance on tailoring and interfacing and more of a desire for comfortable knits and pre-washing.  

It's about how you approach what you do and what you want to wear doing what you do.  This is all while taking into consideration that good design is sensual and not just visual.  That is the appeal that should rest on basic clothing whose wearability of design creates highbrow menswear that goes from necessary to covetable.  That is BILLY.




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