In Krane

Inside His Mind and Bag

There's a movement going around that many men would chalk up as just life and not what many the casual observer has pegged it.  Vanity!  Yes, believe it or not, many men have dipped their consciousness in the pool that is clothing, style, beauty and adornment and come out with raging, mildly treatable cases of vanity.  Gone are the reliances on your wedding/funeral suit, your modest work suits, your leisure wear and your navy blazer.  The natural progression of society, and life, has left men wanting, demanding and expecting more from designers and manufacturers alike.  More is at the modern man's disposal and he is getting quite comfortable with imbibing.  This is not the time of our fathers, so while we appreciate their influence, we don't want to carbon copy them.  This is the era of remixing aesthetics and redefining pre-established rules to come up with modern ways to pay homage to the legacies that grew from the hard work of trailblazing nationalism, broken social morays and liberation in menswear.  I mean, fashion is a cyclical machine, but we don't stay in one place in life.  So we oftentimes look for ways to make the past appropriate for modern living, thereby creeping slowly but surely forward.

One would naturally assume then that while accepted menswear fabrications could be redefined, there is still great strength and influence in the staples that keep menswear separate from all the floral, silk and lacey lore.  I had the privilege of meeting Ken Chow of the brand Krane during the recent 'Project' Show, menswear trade show in Manhattan.  Instantly what struck me about his bags was a subconscious familiarity through Chow's sublime usage of the classic sturdy menswear textiles of waxed cotton and leather.  What Krane achieves is a utilizing of fabrics and hard wear that seem to be representations of strength, durability and character.  Then these raw materials are combined with themes and designs that are analogous to staples of the male experience like raw beauty, the military, rustic aesthetics and protection.

It is also of interest to note that Mr. Chow is a seasoned Menswear designer so he not only understands textile and materials, but also relevance to one's existing wardrobe.  However, just in case your wardrobe lacks what you find the Krane brand embodies in the form of bags, Spring 2012 offers up well-cut sportswear and outerwear.  Clean separates like comfortable dropped-crotch trousers, shorts with Teflon coatings that leave a soft water-resistant hand, non-fussy parkas and blazers and trim elongated tees.  The play with proportion and the mix of silhouettes seemed to 'kill many a customer with one stone' by gravitating towards young musicians, purveyors of easy menswear and on-the-go jet-setters alike.  There exists a harmony between the bags and the clothing and one could easily see a gentlemen cramming some tees and microstriped wovens into an attractive 'Haley' duffel for a weekend abroad.

Now I started out by referring to many a modern man (not all) as vain.  However, what I find as interesting about brands like Krane is that if the spirit of menswear is preserved while pushing the envelope forward with modern influences, what's achieved seems less like vanity and more like accountability.  Accountability in that the things that preserve the essence are duly noted while the items that relate to the particular man's modern life are updated.  The result is a amassment of quality goods each with a unique voice that embody the male mystique.

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