Elise Diamantini looks at six noteworthy brands from the New York menswear trade shows.
Though not a new brand, Gant is certainly noteworthy. Christopher Bastin (who designs for Gant Rugger) is taking on the main line, and repositioning it as a modern, luxe label for fall. Still rich in heritage, updates include trimmer, more modern silhouettes, giving the collection an overall contemporary look.
Korean-based Plac is a contemporary brand launching a full menswear collection this fall in the U.S. I loved everything this line had to offer from the moto-jackets to the bold graphic prints. What’s more, nothing retails for more than $500. Plac can keep prices down because it’s a vertical operation: the company owns five factories and a fabric mill in Korea.
Original Khaki Company
Original Khaki Company is a collection of non-denim bottoms, stocked year round. As VP of sales Jeff Block says, retailers can make money up front without holding inventory ($58 wholesale for $148 suggested retail). Khakis are available in multiple colors and in three fits: skinny (14-inch leg opening), slim (15-inch leg opening) and straight (16 ¼-inch leg opening).
Descendant of Thieves
One of my favorite woven shirt brands, Descendant of Thieves, is growing its product categories and its reach for 2014. The company recently launched e-commerce and is introducing new products like casual blazers (under $300 retail), knits ($98 to $125 retail) and reversible shorts ($89 retail).
Mizzen + Main
In its second season, Mizzen + Main injects performance fabrics into traditional menswear shirting. Co-founders Web Smith and Kevin Lavelle created a proprietary fabric that incorporates four-way stretch with anti-microbial, wrinkle-free and moisture resistant properties. The founders say athletes are especially drawn to this brand not only for the technical attributes, but for the ease and comfort the four-way stretch offers. Dress shirts are made in the U.S. and retail for $125. They’re also introducing a blazer ($495 retail) made of the same fabric for fall.
Gary Newbold, former head of design for Barbour, stepped out on his own and launched English Utopia as a casual outerwear brand. Fall 2014 marks the third season and Newbold says the collection mixes performance and fashion. Key fabrics include waterproof tweeds, vintage nylons and waxed cottons. Retails range from $300 to $400.