Four Corners, One Location

I love that menswear has become all about option.  Never before in the history of men's fashion have men been cajoled to find a look that first, fits well and then are invited to play, explore and sign on to make it their own.  Men's clothing has always been dictated by a set of rules; but once tailoring was lesser scrutinized, the rules became broader defined.  Now there are levels of fit for all segments of tailored clothing and sportswear that only contrive to some core menswear beliefs; that it fit well, be of good durable quality and balance not overpower a man's personal strength.  Also, along with the option comes a greater sense of responsibility to invest in better clothing, better bodies and better eating and living habits to have fuller more balanced lives.  For my last post on the Project trade show I thought I would shed some light on a few brands' offerings for fall 2011, some old, some new.  Their endurance and debuts seem to be hitting menswear from different angles but give it just what it needs to survive; fresh, thoughtful approaches and easy to swallow craftsmanship.

With so many denim brands out there today you tend to think that everything they do has already been done.  Not so!  In walks Private Stock, a denim company whose offerings are quite unique and easily desirable to the average denim enthusiast and denim newbie alike.  The company offers an impressive 17 different kinds of raw Japanese selvedge denim made on right and left hand shuttle looms.  Particularly of note is the company's use of slub denim with black dot selvedge, chain link selvedge and deadstock black dock selvedge from Japan.  And if you know anything about deadstock, you'll know that it's a term to refers to an item that's no longer produced.  Well Private Stock has it to offer.  In addition to broken twill jeans and 13 different washes in their wash program, the company offers more hues of denim in many different varieties than any other denim company in the market.  While they offer a selection of coordinating tops and even accessories like watches, Private Stock's belief is not to sell you a lifestyle brand but rather meticulously concieved clothing to incorporate into your own existing wardrobe.

So last fashion week I'm rushing to a fashion show at a place in the city called Exit Art and of course the logical happens.  My cab hits Sunday traffic and I miss the show literally by one minute.  Doors locked, no mas entrada!  The show was for Simon Spurr and after learning the he was applauded by the Divine Ms. Wintour I, of course, needed to see more of his vision.  Spurr is a very talented designer at combining his British tailoring sensibilities with the sportswear attitude of American menswear.  For his secondary line Spurr by Simon Spurr he takes the cores of American sportswear like denim and casual separates and laces them with a bit of Britain so that it translates as a refined label that can be dressed up or down if need be.  For fall 2011 he continues on with the heavy hitting denim in wider colors but also offers great fitted leather and shearling outerwear, knits and peacoats with slight nods to Americana and the British navy.  Also, although this is his secondary line, quality is not skimped on with manufacturing in the US and suits and outerwear in Italy.  It all begins with the fabric and then is seen how best that fabric can be utilized for what kind of garment and cut.                                              

I used to call Lafayette Street between Prince and Houston Streets Skaters Row.  Reason being was that there was a plethora of stores within that block that catered to skate-heads and hype-beasts alike.  Well times may have changed and some stores may have closed but WESC has endured.  WESC which stands for 'We Are the Superlative Conspiracy' is a Swedish lifestyle streetwear brand that has offered coveted products like Japanese selvedge denim, great knits and those 'oh so cool' headphones.  In addition to producing a collection for men and women, they also have shared their design aesthetic through various collaborations over the years.  Their latest collaboration for fall 2011 is with NYC based jewelry designer Anna Sheffield's lower-priced line called Bing Bang.  It's a collection of mostly unisex necklaces that co-exist rather nicely with the Swede-come-American style of the collection.  If in Nolita checking out their store is a must for that cool speciality knit, smooth collaborated sneaker or amazing  headphones.                                                                         WESC 282 Lafayette Street

There's something rewarding about ordering a specialty item in your choice of materials and seeing who makes it and even how its made.  Then in less than 20 minutes you get to own it.  That was how ETWAS bags reeled me into their durable and attractive line of thick leather bags, although it was hard a catch to hook.  Will Lisak started ETWAS bags to be a 'handmade, energy independent operation with consistent design values through objectives and means'.  At Project, ETWAS gave attendees the option to select their skin, watch and wait while their bag was made before their eyes.  It gave a real sense of value to their line of carryall bags that you would not necessarily get in some overseas factory.  An attractive sturdy bag that the manufacturer will fix for free for life is a very desirable commodity in this day and age that makes investment spending plausible.  

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