It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, sorry the holiday season didn’t really cut it considering we’re just coming up and out from under the red in our bank accounts. We’re talking fashion week season. We’ll troll all sites and blogs to make sure we’ve got every catwalk covered. Haute Couture is dreamy, pre-fall makes us long for warmer weather, and F/W shows are the holy grail, but what about menswear? Yeah, sure, us ladies might not have cared to know what was happening in the industry when it came to the opposite sex, especially when your last experience with that gender was being stood up or booty called (let the man hating commence), but if you’re as fashion obsessed as we are, sometimes it pays to know a thing or two.
But rather than read up on the conventional fashion houses that we all know and love, take a moment to get to know some of the less revered menswear designers we feel will be giving the longstanding brands a run for their money in no time. You’ll bring a whole new meaning to gender studies that’ll impress any dude with a stylish flair.
With modern, millennial consumers gravitating more toward casual wear for their weekday and weekend attire it makes sense that there would be a demand for such styles that are equal parts relaxed and luxurious. That’s where Aaron Duncan and Takuya Suzuki come in. Having just launched their line that marries Japanese craftsmanship with the laidback Hamptons lifestyle, they’re giving men effortless essentials that will take them from day to night, or, as they like to imagine, on and off the beach. Recently spotlighted in WWD, Takuya Duncan ranks with the likes of Theory, VINCE, Rag & Bone, and Helmut Lang, with just a bit more of a sand in your toes vibe.
Having founded brands like 7 For All Mankind and Citizens of Humanity, it’s safe to say Jerome Dahan knows a thing or two about denim. That’s why AGOLDE, his affordable, California-cool line of modern and stylish denim, has been gaining popularity since its 2014 re-launch. And although we could go on about all the amazing aspects of the brand, what we really want to gush about is the soon to be released limited edition capsule collection with A$AP Ferg. Being its first celebrity collab, AGOLDE’s team was drawn to A$AP Ferg’s like-minded vision and enthusiasm. It doesn’t hurt that the hit rapper actually has a background in fashion either (he studied fashion design at art school and created his own line of clothing called Devoni in 2005). The six-piece collection, which was just released, is a replica of A$AP Ferg’s favorite pair of jeans, which are made from premium Japanese selvage denim. The line will also include t-shirts, a hoodie, and denim jackets all made in La-La Land.
Stampd was featured as one of GQ’s Best Menswear Designers in America in 2015, has the backing of Kanye West and Justin Bieber, and well, we could probably just leave it at that, but we’re seriously into this brand. Started by Chris Stamp in 2011, he blends iconic styles with luxury streetwear and then throws a dash of coastal feels into the mix. Although the color palate hardly strays from black and white, the cut and detailing of each garment are what elevates pieces like snapback caps, graphic tees, and nylon bombers. Not only does Stamp individually create some badass styles, he collabs on capsule collections (such as the PUMA x Stampd atlhleisure collection called “Blaze of Glory” for SS16 shown above) that make his brand more coveted than most.
They say the best relationships stem from friendships, and that certainly applies here. Best friends Joshua Cooper and Laurence Chandler took their bromance beyond partying and skateboarding and sought to start a business in fashion. Having started with a small venture of graphic tees and branded hats, they realized their potential could take them further than basic streetwear that was being mimicked from any and all trying to break into the men’s design world. So in 2007 the two started Rochambeau, which means “rock, paper, scissors” in French. They crawled out of comfort zones, playing with androgyny and fashion-forward elements that many weren’t accustomed to at the time. The New York based line is progressive and avant garde, yet not beyond the realm of daily wear making this brand for the more daring fashion heads.
Not all gents are hat people, but Nick Fouquet is the reason all men should be. Having an impressive list of clientele (Pharrell wore one of his custom creations to the Grammys and it pays to mention that Bob freakin’ Dylan is a client), the handsome, French-born designer is making waves with his headgear. You might wonder how an environmental science major turned to the art of making hats. Well traveled (he’s been to what seems like every corner of the world) and well educated, Fouquet ended up working as an assistant in his friend’s shop where he was exposed to all the tools of the trade and began practicing it as a hobby. Shortly after, his hobby bloomed into a beautiful business based out of L.A. His designs are all made from raw materials (think 100% beaver fur felt, rabbit, and straw), handmade, and can be custom made based on things like their facial structure, eye color, and personal style. The process of Fouquet’s craft is a story of labor and love, which exude from the final product, and the inspiration behind his creations stem from a buffet of eclectic interests such as travel, gutter punks, Tom Sawyer, Keith Richards, The Sapeurs in the Congo, his father’s style, and the abstract wonder known as love.
Ovadia & Sons was launched in 2010 by Jerusalem-born and Brooklyn-raised twin bros Ariel and Shimon Ovadia. Being drawn to music, street culture, and style from an early age and having studied over at Ralph Lauren, the result is a line fit for the modern urban prepster. Although well-tailored and luxe, the clothes have an ease that fit with the liveliness and energy of New York and nonchalance of Europe lending a fresh take on timeless classics.
Uri Minkoff, CEO and co-founder of Rebecca Minkoff (aka his sister), renamed his four-year-old men’s spinoff brand from Ben Minkoff to his own and then proceeded to change the aesthetic from an Americana, hipster to clean and minimalistic that is reminiscent of Scandinavian and Japanese design, fusing form and function, which has drawn modern businessmen and tech guys too. But that’s not the only change occurring. Minkoff introduced a stylish men’s apparel line this NYMFW to go along with those super sleek bags and shoes he’s been pushing.
For men who can’t forgo their beloved bike ride to their early morning meeting, EFM, which stands for engineered for motion, is the problem solver. This luxury sportswear brand created by Donrad Duncan is the look good, feel good approach to men who want to incorporate fashion sense into their active lifestyle. With applied technologies and innovative features, the multi-functional clothes are as clean and cool as they are cutting edge and savvy to what men need, like outerwear with a protective inside pocket large enough to fit an iPad.
Last but certainly not least is Todd Snyder, American’s menswear sweetheart. For those of you that are still unfamiliar, Todd’s résumé includes Director of Menswear at Gap, and SVP of menswear of JCrew, so yeah, he’s always been kind of a big deal. What we love most about Todd is his timeless simplicity he brings to his designs — all of his pieces give a nod to that classic man looking for a hint of swag, exactly how we want our boys to look.
feature photo via justluxe.com