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All For One And One For All: New York Men's Day Spring/Summer 2019 Collections Recap

Do designers ask who their customer is anymore?  I ask this since a popular American brand can appeal to both disposable-incomed teens in Japan and new-money middle-agers in New England just as how a highbrow European brand can have clients ranging from affluent day traders to downtown fashion 'night-people', but sell-out to trend-seeking 'hype-beasters'.  Yesteryear's worries of stocking more bathing suits and cabana shirts in Palm Beach than in New York have taken a backseat to the more attuned reality that it's kind of getting dicier to decipher just where and how a designer's clothing will reach its final home.  For a designer to consider that their customer could be anyone and anywhere, how does one market to a target customer that could be several men rolled into one?

Maybe they don't have to and that's probably the beauty if it too.  That you may live in a small town in Northern Europe and connect with the aesthetic that a brand is selling with their inky metropolitan club-going verve is the infectious beauty of culture, be it something you connect with or oddly enough find yourself wanting to.  Then perhaps the broadening of menswear in this global age of accessible information, e-commerce & social media has created broader opportunities for designers to fiscally reach their bottom-lines while simultaneously driving home their brand's lifestyle & aesthetic.  I thought of this as I attended Agentry PR's 'Men's Day' presentations during the recent New York Mens Spring/Summer 2019 Collections that debuted here this week.  Yes, mood-boards came into 3-D existence and fabric & trim magically formed jackets and trousers, but with all the different kinds of men finding their voices worldwide, do designers really have to convince anymore or do they just have to get it out there with enough exposure to just watch the men come?
                                                                 70s in swing at David Hart

                   David Hart                                                     Vanessa Zhang

            Vanessa Zhang                                         Krammer & Stoudt

It has to be a clever bit of both.  Some men know what they connect with and some men will always need some help figuring that out.  How fitting that modern menswear has become a motley cruë of tailoring in several silhouettes, sportswear that can look like the day but be priced like an expensive night and ensembles that fit the body of a man but caress his inner (and sometimes outer) feminine-mystique.  The case for tailoring was true at David Hart, where the wide-lapeled, saucy jacquard-wearing swanky 70s party host came to life and at Vanessa Zhang who loosened up the idea of a suit and merged it with almost caricature-esque sportswear shapes.  The appeal of sportswear just makes sense on a worldwide scale as the suit today is not all that's worn when closing deals and throwing around ideas.  The wabi-sabi Japanese vibe from Krammer & Stoudt was comforting to a level that gave the collection an artistic and informed zen quality while Sundae School offered up a collection of more Eastern references with remixed quilting and soft 'east meets west' tailoring.  The vibrant heavily printed collection with nods of Mexican motifs and cheeky floral pair-ups was retail-friendly and handsomely executed at Descendant of Thieves.  There was more slick sportswear from Agent with darker artisanal pieces that made the soft sheers, cozy bombers, inky plaids and fresh pleating moody yet very laid back and inviting.  
                                                                         Sundae School

                                              Descendant of Thieves


There was some fabulous usages of color, explosive prints and watercolor-esque shredded/printed surface treatments worked onto sportswear staples at Taakk and a toned down 80's color swinging on  summery and clean-silhouetted separates from HBNS.  The athletic edge at Bristol was on par with the current trend in mens sportswear updated with special added touches like reverse surfaces and slouchy layering.  The band on chill mode was the scene at Limitato with their artsy introspective printed tees and trim cuts in a dark & brooding and highly wearable collection.  Rounding out the collective for Men's Day was This Is Sweden, whose conceptual and slightly avant collection of reworked denim styles and tailoring themes were for the one who thinks a bit outside the box.



In this day and age, there's room for many kinds of aesthetics to be received into the menswear arena.  I could say that the collections at Men's Day set the tone for the creations displayed this week, but it was more that they just added to the narrative that speaks on subscribing to the unique voice of a collection instead of subscribing to a collective voice that gets lost in a crowd.

 This Is Sweden

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