At a party on the last night of Market Week, there was a man walking around holding an open coconut without a straw, which meant one of three* things: he received it as a gift and was unsure how to dispose of it without offending the gifting party; he wandered inside a crowded store with the intention of pouring a convertible coconut down his throat on some Castaway shit; he had no plans on drinking from it and was classifying it as an accessory to test the emotional stability of the rest of us.
(*I’ve spent an indefensible amount of time thinking about this. This is the correct number.)
There is no satisfying conclusion to this encounter — I never spoke with him, I never saw him drink from the coconut, and I am but one person with a single point of view — and it’s probably a bit dangerous to extrapolate anything further from Coconutman (a cigar probably being a cigar), but it was something that happened and if it was going to make it in, it might as well go up top. Also, the extrapolation effort might be worth a try.
So, for starters, if you’re unsure about what to wear to a function and you want to be memorable and also don’t care about becoming the subject of a delayed market week recap, carry a coconut. Coconutman was also wearing a mesh t-shirt and carpenter jeans and had a haircut laden with choices, but I had to check photo evidence to be sure of these things. All I really remembered was the coconut, and to be honest I can’t remember a single other accessory on anyone else and the outfits were good on balance, but zero came with the raw horsepower of a raw coconut.
It’s also safe(ish) to assume that Coconutman clearly cared about clothes. Or at least had strong feelings about personal aesthetics, which clothes objectively contribute to. What was less clear was who makes clothes for a man who chooses to punctuate an outfit anchored by carpenter jeans and a mesh t-shirt with a coconut in Go Mode.
No really, track with me here. This dude is very much not the norm in isolation, but the idea of taking increasingly large swings when it comes to personal style is becoming something of the norm, particularly in the algorithmically automated abyss we currently inhabit, wherein crackpot shit is prized and Never Let Them Know Your Next Move is a lifestyle.
Like, the Camp Collar Takeover was only a few years back, the 5” Inseam Revolution only really bubbled to the forefront around 2017, the Great Double Knee War of 2022 feels ancient and we may or may not be in the midst of A/The/Whomst Samba Situation, depending on who you happen to ask — the point here being that trend cycles are collapsing on themselves like a glitching multiverse. And that in and of itself is probably ok, considering that peak of the menswear bell-curve tends to be one of the least volatile landscapes in all of Wearable Items and trend surfers are mostly looked at with at least a touch of ambivalence. That doesn’t mean that either end of that spectrum is, as is seemingly the case in most endeavors, more interesting than what’s in the middle, but it’s also becoming increasingly volatile, esoteric and unpredictable — and also a lot more populated.
And that isn’t an easy thing to plan into, especially for brands. It’s expensive, it’s logistically taxing from a production perspective and it requires a penchant for prophecy, which is a nebulous gift even in the most successful of instances. Are some brands better than others at this? Duh. It’s as much art as it is science, and good brands will often cause the consumer to react instead of reacting to the consumer, (re)introducing them to styles and concepts they might’ve avoided by believing in those styles and pushing those styles, subsequently mainstreaming them in the process (see: fisherman sandals) and all that. But as everything further fragments and references are easier to find and trends turn over faster than any normal consumer can keep up with, at least from a spending perspective, fewer brands truly have the ability to hold consumer attention and far more are forced to react to market forces that are actively shifting under their feet*. Or, in other words, the algorithms love the crackpot shit, and crackpot shit is hard to monetize at scale.
(*Brian Cox is in a Kith ad, for instance. I don’t know why, and the ending is cute I guess, but if that’s the reason for doing it, it was an incredibly expensive joke. The only piece of clothing that is readily identifiable is a logo hoodie, making the whole thing more of a headline with a campaign reverse-engineered behind it).
That’s not to say it isn’t a good time to be a consumer: the sales are fucking hitting, inspiration is coming from every direction on every channel, secondhand goods have been fully E-Comm’d and brands have differentiated themselves more from each other in many ways (stool-filled lookbooks not withstanding), particularly after the COVID silos and the subsequent lack of commiseration at events like Market Week. Do they all still flock to ultra popular things? Of course (good time to look for knit polos!). But it does seem like lanes are emerging, and the best brands are still trying to translate trends they do jump on into their own language. But the good times only can last as long as the brands underwriting them can afford to do so — and, unfortunately, it’s practically impossible for both parties to be in the midst of a “good time” simultaneously. We want deals and brands want to maximize (or at least maintain) margins, it’s hard to reconcile the two.
At the risk of straying any farther from the source material, I still do think it’s probably best to not try and draw too much out of the coconut incident — lest we learn nothing from the Monocle Test — but that didn’t stop me from waxing insane for 1,000 words, so do you, I suppose. And also, if you do see some weirdos wandering around with decorative coconuts, you won’t be blindsided by the phenomenon.
Otherwise, there was an entire Market Week that happened before this moment, and that’s what you’re here for.
So, what is Market Week? (Seems important.)
Market Week is, technically, a string of consecutive days (not necessarily a week in length) that provides space for brands to gather in a central location, mostly allowing for buyers at multi-brand retailers to see the things they’ll be checking off on a line sheet in person, and for the media to get a little preview as well. The goods on display are usually two seasons away — i.e. this summer was for S/S 2024, even though F/W 2023 hadn’t hit shelves at the time of the shows — which means that things can ultimately change, but for the most part, what you see there is what you’ll see on shelves six months later.
But Market Week isn’t actually a singular thing, or even a particularly well-coordinated one. It’s a series of spaces occupied by a series of brands, usually thematically linked in some capacity. (Because space is, definitionally, finite, these spaces fill up, which means that not every brand can fit under a single roof.) These spaces, however, and those filling them, don’t really seem to commiserate, which means that they’re often kind of far away, and access to one doesn’t always guarantee access to another.
Trade events like this are an odd model, when you zoom out, because these spaces — each called “shows,” but there’s little entertainment value aside from information acquisition — basically stack industry peers (re: competitors) on top of one another and make them reliant on the same factors (marketing, existing networks, etc.) to succeed. So as a vendor, you’ve got to be cheering for your competition to be good enough to not bore attendees and draw some in, but also not so good that they siphon your sales or force budget reconsideration. They’re all rooting for each other — rising tides — but are also keenly aware that their competition could be nine feet away and might cut into brand-supporting sales. Meanwhile, the main goal of the show organizers, in this case Man/Woman and Welcome Edition, is to get as many relevant and interested eyeballs into the building (which usually means ignoring factors like saturation), yet their existence is also predicated on brands still wanting to pay to be included. It’s a moral hazard for everyone, except those attending.
Anyways, you guys want to know about gear, so let’s get into gear.
The Heddels All-Stars:
What you know them for: Very Heavy Denim™; a hit of silver on the selvedge ID, the leather patches that have two samurai warriors fighting with swords on them (specifically Musashi and Kojiro); great cuts; an underrated catalog of non-denim things.
What’s coming (highlights!): More Heavy Denim™ — including a beefy 21oz. deep blue, a green-ish one and an undyed one from the Samurai Cotton Project; heavy chinos; on-theme alohas; conductor-grade (idk if this is a thing) railroad stripe trousers; some long-sleeve camp collars; all-over logo print Big Shorts (their Supreme era); straightforward Big Jorts; some cheeky contrast stitching; a UPS rip (that’s actually very good); a seemingly infinite run of graphic tees (sliding scale); JACCESSORIES.
If you guys were hoping for some heavyass denims, congratulations, you will get your heavyass denims. Mostly in the form of Samurai’s Year of the Dragon releases — which clock in at 16oz. and 21oz. respectively — milled special for the collection with an actually-shiny(!) gold selvedge ID and outfitted with special little flourishes in a manner normally reserved for expensive tasting menus, but also in the form of a green-ish slim-straight/regular-straight duo and an undyed swerve for those needing an almost-white pair.
And while the Year of the Dragon pieces will (justifiably) get plenty of shine, don’t sleep on the Heavy Chinos. I’m pretty sure they’ll stand up on their own from the jump, but I also think they’ll outlast whatever hellscape awaits us in the coming decades. 🙂
Other sleepers include the legitimately good mechanic-ish shirt-and-short combos — shoutout the frenetic all-over logo shorts, idk what we’re wearing those with but the energy is appreciated — some Big Jorts™ for those holding out for their Cinderella pair and a UPS shirt that is so fucking good. (I have no idea how much labor victories are playing into my feelings on the matter, but I’m so amped on it).
Like, for years mail carrier style has been something lauded by weirdos who laud these things (re: me), but aside from the Vetements x DHL collaboration in 2018 (what a weird fucking string of words to type), it’s largely remained an untapped well of inspiration. Will I buy it? I have no idea, but the patch is great, the graphic on the back — which says “Whee-ee the New Super Kids” — is even better, and that color combo hits as hard as it does when you’ve got a package out for delivery.
Finally, I assume I’d be doing you all a disservice if I didn’t mention that fully kitted-out — pocketed, riveted, buttoned, etc. — jurses, jotes and jouches are in the works. I’m not telling you what to do with that information, but you do now have it.
Pure Blue Japan
What you know them for: Slubby, hairy, yarn-dyed denim made on an extremely low-tension machine; small lots; meticulous craftsmanship.
What’s coming: A whole new sashiko line; some lighter 14oz. ecru and beige pants; a Type II-esque jacket; funky indigo-dyed leather pocket tees; a chambray anorak; double-sided guazy plaid shirts.
Pure Blue Japan spends so much time actually making their denim that the line kind of has to stay tight. This, to be clear, is a good thing, because tight usually means focused. For instance, the rope-dyed indigo knitwear — which somehow looks like an oil painting of knitwear — is as slubby and uneven and nuanced as the denim is, and the tees are even coming with washable leather pockets because consistency is key.
But there is some new new on the horizon, most notably with the surprisingly buttery sashiko offerings. Think Kapital’s Century Denim but with way more give and presumably the same amount of durability*. It’s not selvedge — not sure if it can be, someone does know this information I’m sure, though — but considering it’s reinforced absolutely everywhere, it doesn’t really need to be. And because choices are sometimes fun, the sashiko pieces are coming in three colors — black, indigo and OD — and in both pants and jacket options.
(*Decidedly less persimmon, I did ask.)
Merz B. Schwanen
What you know them for: Maybe the best knitwear in the world; old-ass loopwheel machines; The Bear; a cult underwear following; heavy sweatshirts.
What’s coming: Polos; wovens; some double-pleated pants; sneakers done with Novesta; COLORS; terry cloth that will make you reconsider most other fabric choices.
A quick note about Merz before we get into Merz: About a year ago, the TV show The Bear came out and it became a pretty big hit and the main character Carmy, played by Jeremy Allen White, wore a t-shirt (very well) for pretty much the entire season. He wore it so well, in fact, that the t-shirt kind of became its own beloved character, on some 21st century Rebel Without a Cause shit, and because Carmy and White T-Shirt became (arguably) the summer of 2022’s favorite duo, ID questions were asked.
And considering the place where ID questions are asked now tends to be The Internet, the answers led to some Extremely Online Debates, during which valiant cases were made for, at various points Velva Sheen, LVC and Hanes models. Upon further investigation — literally, Reddit threads were flooded, TikToks were green-screened, actual phone calls were made by legacy media outlets — it was (correctly) determined that Carmy was wearing Merz B. Schwanen tees in the most referenced stills. (He also wore Whitesville at other points in the season). The clues were there all along — the distinctive ribbing at, and width of, the neckline, the loopwheel construction, the triangle armpit gussets — but it took the collective us a second to get there. Once we got there, however, those tees sold. Fast. Try finding one right now. Seriously.
For those who love that shirt and need it right now, there are other colors. (Also, rest easy because The T-Shirt isn’t going anywhere.) For the “I liked Merz before the Yes Chef Era” crowd, I’m sorry. Toothpaste and all that. I get it. Your corner is a bit cooked. I’ve been there, I’ve written about this, I’ve thrown full-on tantrums. Feel free to do the same. But here’s the thing: Merz makes other stuff, a lot of it, and *everything* is done just as well as those t-shirts. And I’m not just talking about their apostle-inspiring underwear or their knitwear, which is also returning in a big way (keep an eye out for the new crewneck, the Ringer Tee all other Ringer Tees think they are and the zip vest). They’ve got some killer big ol’ double-pleat chinos in the pipeline, a full range of slutty-adjacent buttonless polos done in jersey, terry and pique cottons, and even a sneaker done in collaboration with Novesta.
In other words, come for the Berf, stay for literally everything else.
What you know them for: 115+ years of rock-solid footwear; indestructible mocc toes; chunky soles; the roughest rough-out suede.
What’s coming: Postman back; so is the Postman Romeo (9198); the Silversmith; a mocha mocc toe; a dusty rose suede that is the perfect amount of dusty and the perfect amount of rose; the Shop Moc.
In every city I’ve ever been to there are these mom-and-pop restaurants that have been around for forever and make awesome food but also have zero idea what “fusion” means or that people have ventured outside of Potato in the wide world of fries, and they have absolutely no intention of discovering what aioli is and if they do they’ll rightfully claim that it’s just fancy mayonnaise and shrug. They just do really good diner food or awesome red sauce Italian or whatever and have stayed relevant exactly because they just do what they do, without worrying that the team behind That One Place (You Know, in the West Village) is considering doing a Boozy Popcorn Spot That Also Serves Smash Burgers down the road.
Every half-decade or so, these stalwarts get a surge in popularity, presumably as peak dissonance overtakes whatever microgeneration happens to be nearby, when they no longer can handle another Ethically-Sourced Fast Casual Concept or VC-Backed Salad and just want tried vibes and familiar food that’s consistently good. (I could get into which restaurants this applies to, but this would start the wrong kind of debate I fear.)
If you’re anywhere below 14th St. in Manhattan, for instance, you’ll run into one of these places without any effort or intention, but unless they’re having a Moment, you won’t really clock them unless you’re looking for a good place to eat. (Fine, Fanelli is having a Fucking Moment. That used to be for the olds. Square Diner too. They have table-side card readers now, which, you must understand, is wild.) Inside, you’ll find regulars who have zero reason to swear by the food because why would they, they just like it and will continue to like it and don’t need to broadcast that or feel the need to enter the tuna melt into an Infatuation Best Of discourse. I love these places because everyone loves these places. This isn’t unique to me — it’s literally why and how they exist — and they allow everything to bend back toward them. And because of that, they do what they do really well.
If you’re still here, that is sort of what Red Wing feels like in the broader footwear landscape. They have their tight rotation of signature dishes that don’t change because they’ve bridged generations of customers already, and they have enough of a catalog to add a special or two with ingredients they already have on hand or are readily available — allowing for them to never betray their DNA or seem like they’re forcing things too much during the frenzy cycles.
Anyways, you guys want to know what’s coming, so tl;dr: Postman back in normal incarnation, but also in one with a very cool vamp, and they’ve expanded into a couple other OD earth tones. The Silversmith is coming too, which adds an extra eyelet to a boot you know (the vamp grew too, it’s not just more crowded), and they’re also coming in with a Chelsea for the rustic brunch crowd, as well as a globally available range in Alpine Portage leather — a full-grained, oiled leather rendered in a deep, dramatic green. Even though some of their internal components seem to be slipping, Red Wing will always be Red Wing, and we’re lucky for it.
What you know them for: being the US denim kings; burly flannels that are inexplicably soft; hardy basics; world-class, meticulously-sourced fabrics; *actually* making things they want to wear; dope mules.
What’s coming: all of the above; some of the best knits around (sweater vest included); non-camp collar short sleeve shirts (and camp collars!); technical fabrics(!).
I’m not sure if this will make sense for people who didn’t play sports, but you know how when you played sports in a group as a kid, there’d be those stretches of time (usually summer) or whatever where you wouldn’t see someone who was always good, but then they come back and they’re just better than everyone? Like something clicked or they figured out how to use their size or something and they just shot past the rest of the group? That’s kind of what’s going on with 3sixteen, if, for whatever dumb reason, you’re not paying close attention. Like they’ve just quietly become one of the best all-around brands, period.
Among other things, 3sixteen is probably most well-known (at least in these halls) for two whole-ass decades of producing some of the best US-made jeans, raw or otherwise, which should absolutely still be their calling card because their jeans are probably better than they ever have been. But if that’s where your brand exploration has stopped, please know that their shirting is some of the best on the entire casual market (I might fight you over this but I also am an actual stooge, though I wouldn’t be if I didn’t think their product was great), their beefy tee/sweatshirt/sweatpant offerings occupy that elusive sliver of real estate at the center of the soft-solid venn diagram and, perhaps most importantly, also know that if you aren’t fucking with their knits at this very moment you are very much missing out.
Last year, due to circumstances entirely out of their control, we were semi-deprived of that impeccable knitwear. Is it hard to internalize a calamity that you might not have been aware of? I imagine so, but now that you’ve been made aware, you can react accordingly. And while “react accordingly” can mean different things to different people, those reactions should probably include filling whatever knit-sized hole in your wardrobe — you have one, we all do — with one from 3sixteen. I particularly like the knit polos, but as someone on year three of a classic rib-knit crewnecks, I also recommend sliding one of those into your rotation.
Also, not sure if this qualifies because they’re already available, but the new slate blue Mule Boyz Mule is really fucking good. OD hairy suede rendered in a sexy slate blue, a white Vibram sole that explodes off the floor and a sleek vamp that’s refined enough for a wedding, all while retaining bodega-levels of insouciance.
Anyways, 3sixteen manages to be one of the most well-rounded brands anywhere, yet nothing new ever feels like a non-sequitur or forced in any way — the things that make the cut are always current, are always value-add, never contribute to any bloat and come with basically zero potential for post-purchase regret.
What you know them for: ties; scarves; immaculate storefronts; Good Suits; a burgeoning line of ready-to-wear.
What’s coming: long-sleeve camp-collars; painters smocks; rugbys; seersucker suiting so lightweight that it’s *almost* translucent; workwear riffs; Austin Powers pops of color; Charmin-soft suede.
The mf British are coming. Or they’re here? Idk. They started with our tie rack (for those that still have them), and now they’re trying to take over our whole damn wardrobe via cheeky classics and some pretty deft high-low mashups. (If this narrative arc sounds familiar, it is. Don’t worry about it, no one starts with Whole Damn Wardrobe and ties are a good way to establish name recognition.)
Quick tangent: there’s a scene in Barry Levinson’s 1982 movie Diner — it might not hold up, great cast though — where Steve Guttenberg walks into the eponymous diner and joins two of his friends (played by Tim Daly and Paul Reiser for the completists) and looks at one (1) dude sitting in a booth a few tables away and comes to the realization that the dude has ordered the entire left side of the menu. They sit there in awe of this trailblazer and the more clarification they seek, the more impressed they become, which is kind of how I felt looking through Drakes’ upcoming suiting/shirting selection. Like, they’re doing all of it. Aside from nearly a dozen suit cuts, they’ve got chambray work shirts and popovers, a linen artists smock, this abacus-looking flap pocket joint that’s youthful without verging into infantile, round hems, flat hems, split hems, plaids, block prints — the whole left side of the menu. Is it possible to do the whole left side of the menu well? Who’s to say, but it was all rocksolid at the very least.
Elsewhere, keep an eye out for a couple pretty great takes on a classic chore coat, indigo-dyed and updated with a ticket pocket and just a hint of blazer detailing and those featherweight seersucker suits, if you’re into those sorts of things.
What you know them for: Painter’s Pants; other Good Workwear; some of the best value on the market.
What’s coming: BIG pants; Baker pants; an all-over Sahara Animal-print short-shirt set; more colors; more hickory; 50th anniversary gear.
If you don’t already own some Stan Ray Painter’s Pants, do yourself a favor and grab a pair. You’ll avoid getting lumped in with the New Baggy Carhartt WIP* set and they’re also just really good pants made with really good materials by really good garment workers. The fit is current (re: loose) but not in a way that will fossilize in photos (you know, the way some shit becomes an instant time marker because a; they have enough in the way of detailing to make them interesting (and functional!) without being busy; and they also do that thing where the pricepoint won’t make you feel guilty for wearing them hard, but because you do you’ll also end up falling in love with the cut and proceed to wonder just *how* beat up they can get and still function in social settings.
(*WIPlash, as it’s colloquially known. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, WIP has good stuff too.)
I’m not on the payroll (I swear), I just like the pants. And that includes the Big Pants (idk if that’s their name but you’ll know them when you see them), and the Bakers too. There’s a shitty Bane reference to make about Stan Ray and not-skinny pants, but you can do that on your own. In a world of reactively expanding silhouettes, however, Stan Ray is neither reactive or proactive, just consistent(ly good). So again, go get some Stan Rays, you’ll be stoked.
What you know them for: Western shirts of all kinds; the Ranch Hat (punctuated by the all-timer 3sixteen collab version); cap-sleeve tees; work shirts; heady indigo-drenched pieces; perfect ingredients to be Acceptably Slutty™.
What’s coming: Sandlot-core; good plaids; vintage tanks; wide chinos.
I can’t tell if Wythe is like the most unknown known brand or the most known unknown brand. The distinction probably doesn’t matter and this type of debate was already litigated in the children’s classic The Phantom Tollbooth (iykyk) and I’m really not even sure which outcome is better, but I constantly find myself either introducing them to people who’ve already heard of them/already love them, or find myself assuming someone is familiar and/or a fan when they actually have no idea what I’m talking about.
I have friends who wear their shirts really well — shoutout Albert — and the hat they did with 3sixteen is an objectively good hat and every time I see the guys from Wythe they’re wearing Wythe and they look great in their own stuff, which is always important. (If you own a brand and you rarely wear it, you might need to figure some things out.)
Besides, Wythe has a lane, knows their lane and respects their lane, and lanes are historically constrained and well-trodden. That lane is bordered on one side by their Rodeo Shirt and on the other by their Ranch Cap, but the center is filled with some of the best vintage-indebted shirts, pants and basics you can find.
And it’s also nice that they play right up against the rails on occasion — mostly with fabrication or color choice, but occasionally with whole styles — and have the potential to deliver genuinely surprising stuff without recoding the brand’s DNA. So, when they do add something like a baseball shirt for spring (on some Good Sandlot shit), it not only works within the larger brand, but also pushes its boundaries without stretching or stressing them.
What you know them for: soft ass shirts; Trippy Knits; wild woven fabrics; easygoing cuts; comedians wearing their cardigans on late night shows.
What’s coming: … more wide gauge knits; more flashback-inducing fabrics; a really good sweater vest (idk I liked it); a Muppet shirt.
I wear Corridor, I like Corridor and I am always intrigued by Corridor. If you’re waiting for a “but,” there really isn’t one. Those three things are just true. I particularly like their cardigans, but I also have a flannel I really like and have come close to buying like eight other things but just never did because occasionally I can exhibit some self-control and not buy more things, despite persistent rumors otherwise.
But this isn’t about me*, this is about Corridor, and one of the things Corridor has gotten good at doing in recent seasons is making the weird seem approachable — expanding the Overton Windows of the dudes shopping there without making it seem like they’re doing so, if you will. Guys will fall in love with their shirts — if you haven’t tried their flannels, I implore you to do so, they feel like science and nature finally agreed on something — to such a degree that they’ll start wondering what the deal is with a space-dyed cardigan that they might’ve (unjustly) considered geriatric in seasons prior. Pretty soon they’ve broadened their entire silhouette and have no issue wrapping their head around a scallop-knit crocheted cardigan that’s got more negative space than positive, all while remaining entirely within the confines of the brand if they so choose.
(*It is absolutely about me, it’s always kind of about me.)
This isn’t an easy thing to do either — usually you have to appeal to pick a demo. But Corridor manages to attract dudes who were on StitchFix until recently and dudes who shop at places like Mr. Porter or Mohawk General Store, providing distinct entry points for multiple groups and allowing for consumer evolution within its own ecosystem, organically fostering interest in clothing — and, by extension, for more out-there shit — while also keeping approachable, proven staples within arms’ reach. And even though very few pieces feel very directional on their own — the muppet shirt not withstanding, but the muppet shirt fucking slaps — quite a few have the capacity to become so in an instant, particularly when worn together.
It’s probably why celebrity stylists are constantly putting their clients in one of their cardigans for TV hits — Corridor’s stuff manages to mirror the energy of what’s around it in almost any circumstance, and still take over when its surroundings need a star.
What you know them for: Trojan Horseing high-tech fabric into wardrobe workhorses; the wides; the lights.
What’s coming: A brand new recycled nylon taslan; more cotton Gore-Tex; some very neat striped polos.
There is a world in which Nanamica is the future. Like I have no idea if they’ll stay around to be recognized as such (I assume they will), and they’ve been around long enough to have a past, but part of me thinks that the next dominant wave that emerges will have Nanamica, at least in part to thank*. Is this a lofty claim? Sure. I have no empirical, anecdotal or other data of any other kind to back this up. It’s just that, for years now, they’ve managed to apply some of the most technical, utility-packed fabrics to designs — oxfords, chinos, jeans, blazers — that, traditionally, have no business handling more than a single element, and they’ve done so while embracing the hallmark properties of those designs, not rejecting them.
(A Velvet Underground situation, maybe? Idk. They have nothing in common, we’re just trying things here.)
Their Wind Shirt, for instance, is just an oxford. Like it doesn’t have any extra zippers or quirky closures or anything like that, it’s just an oxford that looks like an oxford and feels like an oxford. But it’s also made with a CORDURA® nylon/organic cotton blend fabric that functions like a windbreaker. Or their Balmacaan coat, which looks like the same Balmacaan that traces roots back to 1800s Scotland, but also is made from a cotton/Gore-Tex twill that feels like gabardine AND passes the goofy ass shower test.
Is any of this necessary in city-wear? Not my call to make, but necessity seems to have little to do with consumption in any capacity these days. In a world where Function is occupying more sales pitch real estate than it has in generations, however, a brand that offers it without requiring patrons to look like they’re trying to summit Annapurna feels right.
New Kids On The Block [LFO CHORUS]
For the unfamiliar, they do: mules made out of rare rugs; jackets made out of rare rugs; an actual functioning bulletproof vest made out of rare rugs (there is a theme).
If you have $850 or so that you feel like you must spend, I implore you to buy some King Kennedy mules. Dude makes them from deadstock rugs that he sources in the most remote regions of the world’s most remote regions (and the occasional conflict zone because good rugs care little about geopolitical conditions) and I’ve fallen in love with no less than three (3) different pairs and also, because no two pairs are the same, each pair has their own little story. Anyways, you can currently find them IRL at some Todd Snyder stores and the flagship store in Los Angeles, but they’re going a bit wider, door-wise, in 2024 so you’ll hopefully be able to see them in person in the coming months.
And when you do, you’ll presumably find yourself wondering how you can justify the purchase of $850 clogs to those closest to you (alienation is inevitable, but there is a spectrum). Once you’ve reached peak rationalization, you’ll be fully rug-pilled and start wondering how you can work one of the bombers into your rotation — they’re as good as the mules, if not better — and then, once you’ve become hypnotized by the jacket, you’ll notice that there’s a bulletproof vest hanging there that’s also made out of rugs and that yes, it does actually hold kevlar plates, and you’ll wonder if there’s even a natural conclusion to rug application. Then you’ll step out into the bright sunlight, from the darkness of the retail shop, and have only two things on your mind: rugs and a ride home. (In this scenario you’ve sold your primary means of transportation to buy the jacket.)
For the unfamiliar, they make: futuristic-looking, responsibly-produced clothes to do shit in, primarily outdoor shit.
There’s nothing wrong with heavy-duty techwear (assuming you don’t look up the environmental impact of said techwear but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ), but not everything needs to live up to Everest Expedition Standards. It really doesn’t. Is showering in a raincoat fun? Idk, haven’t done it, but I imagine it is in the same way that putting out a match with your fingers can be — like you know what the good outcome will be but you’re still kind of surprised by efficacy.
It’s not that I don’t think technical outerwear is cool — I am made of flesh — it’s just that we seem to have lost the plot a little bit in regards to what we need. Anyways, Earth/Studies hasn’t lost that plot. They make hard-wearing shit that has all the functionality one could want in an outdoors setting (pockets! belts! gussets!), but they do it in fabrics and cuts that are less awkward when back among the people and also don’t shed into water sources.
Like, they’re running a super light, super strong cotton ripstop fabric for next spring — indigo-drenched and also not indigo-drenched — that will hold up under the most arduous of recreational circumstances, which is absolutely all that 99% of us will ever need. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have Gore-Tex in your life, I’m just saying that way fewer of us need it than our coat racks would indicate, and kick-ass outdoor apparel doesn’t need to be made with nuclear fallout-grade materials.
For the unfamiliar, they make: classic menswear, but filtered through a head shop window.
Oliver Spencer isn’t new, but they were exciting. They felt a bit like Drake’s fucked up older brother, and not necessarily because they’re both British (I can’t rule this out however).
They both do similar things at an incredibly high level, but it feels like the people at Oliver Spencer start a lot of internal conversations with “What if…” and kind of go from there. Like, for instance, “What if we used that single-wale corduroy fabric on a Johnny-collar polo?” The rack’s spontaneity and unpredictability was almost hypnotic, and I don’t think patterns contributed all that much to the feeling (I also can’t rule this out, however). So, know that you’re going to be beat over the head with Good Knits next year, but make sure you save some room for Oliver Spencer if you’re in the market.
Small Talk Studios
For the unfamiliar, they make: some of the coolest hand-painted one-offs you’ve ever (or never, but that’s on you) seen; subversive ready-to-wear; unmatched screenprinting on stuff you don’t normally see screenprinting upon.
Small Talk’s first season of ready-to-wear is coming to just a couple doors for fall — shoutout Blue in Green — but you’ll be able to find it more readily by spring, and it would make a lot of sense to start seeing it even wider a year from now. And here’s the thing: considering the skill required to maintain their screenprinting and customization standards on the ready-to-wear, it’s almost impossible to figure out how Nick and Phil are blowing things out the way they are, but they absolutely are, on some built different shit. Not only have they figured out a way to make the illustrated pieces look great at (small) scale, but they’ve done full-garment printing and multi-material construction and Dan Flash-complicated embroidery, sacrificing zero quality along the way. It’s fun, it’s weird and it’s somehow not fussy*.
*(Fine, there are a pair of cutout star jorts that might be a little fussy.)