Tag Archives: design

Urban Meets Preppy in Mark McNairy’s Collection

Veteran menswear designer Mark McNairy, under the New Amsterdam label, has created a wicked collection that juxtaposes traditional, preppier menswear styles with trendy, urban elements inspired by the streets. The combination is totally refreshing, screams excitement, and is so in touch with millennial tastes.

NewAmsterdam

 

Here are some of my favorite elements:

1. Banded bottoms – inspired by the ultra-trendy, and very urban, sweats and joggers.

banded

2. Pattern play– placing preppy patterns on urban styles (and vice versa) to crush expectation.

 

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(All images from NY Times Runway Collections)

 

 

 

 

 

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Color Meets Texture in Bottega Veneta AW 2014

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Screaming Yellow, Forest Green, Bold Blue, Deep Red, Soft White, Rich Brown

The Bottega Veneta AW 2014 Mens Ready-to-Wear collection is one of the most perfectly balanced collections I have seen for 2014. Each piece is unique and yet the collection remains coherent. The garments are bold, sophisticated, and rich, but even with the sense of luxury there is an innate wearability to the clothes because of their familiar materials (like leather, wool, suede, and tweed), classic cuts, and attractive colors(olive tones, reds, browns, creams, and greens).

To view the entire collection, in full, check out Women’s Wear Daily.

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Style Spotlight: Public School

PublicSchoollogo

Admittedly, I actually had never heard of the Public School brand and certainly not of it’s creative designers Max Osborne or Dao-Yi Chow until they began receiving national attention and kudos from the American fashion industry elites. In 2013 the duo was dubbed Swarovski Menswear of the Year by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), an organization led by Diane von Furstenberg and Vogue, dedicated to the investment in and growth of the fashion industry and American designers. Later in the year, Public School was officially indicted into the coveted CFDA community winning the $300,000 Fashion Fund award, a signal of the American fashion industry’s commitment to the growth of the two designers and their sporty, sleek street-style brand.

Read more about Public School & the CFDA here, here, and here.

The designers and men behind the brand, both native New Yorkers, Osborne and Chow, met while working at Tommy Hilfiger. While they have several years between them in age and were in different positions at Hilfiger, they find common ground in their design aesthetic. They began actively collaborating after Dao-Yi opened a boutique in Florida and brought on Max to help him create an exclusive line for the store. While the store did not survive, the design relationship and friendship between Osborne and Chow thrived and Public School was launched in 2007.

When the brand first launched, their vision was clear: they wanted to create sleek, sporty street-style garments with an air of decadence characteristic to luxury brands. However, with production and manufacturing taking place in China, the quality promised by their designs was not delivered. Public School suffered as a result and was dropped from Barney’s. The brand was relaunched in 2012 with the same concept, and this time Chow and Osborne made the crucial decision to conduct all matters of production and manufacturing in the United States, specifically Brooklyn, to ensure that what they put out was of the highest quality possible.
(Another triumph for American manufacturing!)

The re-launch was a total success- the brand rebounded with incredible force,  gaining support from the fashion community, and with their national recognition by the CFDA , the duo has gained the attention and respect of  global fashion elites.

Here’s the run-down on Public School…

How to describe their designs? Clean, sporty, street-style roots with high fashion inspiration looks.
Who do they design for? The edgy, sophisticated but sporty American male.
Where do they get their inspiration? High fashion, NYC, basketball, etc.
Where can you buy their designs? Public School, ShopStyle, RevolveClothing
What will it cost you? $180-$1600
What’s coming? Women’s Read-to-Wear!

Public School

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Menswear on the Runway A/W 2014- Part II

NAME ON the TAG: James Long

What’s to love?
Texture, texture, texture. I want to have these pieces just so I can touch them as I brush through the items in my closet each morning…As for actually wearing these garments, they are bold pieces with geometric details and are architecturally interesting so they are great statement pieces to be paired with less textured items and staple pieces.

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NAME ON the TAG: Jonathan Saunders

Why I love it?
Everything was bold and bright, which is a contrast to a lot of other menswear designers who opt for a darker, more neutral-toned palette in the colder months. Not to mention, his entire collection featured something that I take every opportunity to emphasize on my blog and model in life: MIXING PATTERNS.

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NAME ON the TAG: A. Sauvage

What’s to love? 
Sleek, clean styles in fun yet sophisticated textiles. The line takes staple menswear pieces and throws fun, bold patterns on them to make them fresh and exciting.

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Menswear on the Runway A/W 2014- Round 1

 NAME ON the TAG: Common

What’s to love?
It’s both fun and edgy, but also very WEARABLE. (This is often overlooked on the runway.) The collection is very Euro-urban…not sure that’s an actual thing, but if it were…I say this because the garments are edgy and urban-inspired but have sleek lines and European fit.

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NAME ON the TAG: Chester Barrie

What’s to love?
Exquisite fitting suits! Classic, clean lines. The designs  are chic and sophisticated and the styling is spot-on. Captivating styles that can span generations. I love it all!!

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NAME ON the TAG: Hardy Amies

What’s to love?

EVERYTHING. I’m all about classic looks that will never go out of style when it comes to menswear. These are items you can buy now and continue to wear for the rest of your life. I love the splash of bold colors throughout the collection. And I love the layering! You can mix and match all of the individual pieces to create so many different outfits and looks.

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(All photos sourced from Vogue)

More here…

http://runway.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/07/the-big-chill/?ref=fashion&_r=0

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Welcome to the Jungle- Animal Print for Men

animalaccessFor as long as anybody can remember women have been wearing furs and garments adorned in animal prints, and as of late this trend has become extremely population, especially among college-age women and recent grads. However, animal prints and patterns are increasing their presence among Gen-Y men as well…and I don’t hate it. Anyone who has read previous blog posts knows that as much as I love a classic suit, clean lines, and solid colors, I have a (very large) spot in my heart (pun intended) for prints and patterns as an accessory to the aforementioned solids. Animal prints are no exception.

If you’re like most men and you’re hesitant to embrace anything that may seem different, unusual, or risky, then start small and slow with the animal print trend. The easiest way to start off with this trend is by rocking it in discrete places- try leopard print socks, or zebra boxer briefs. As you start getting braver, try accessorizing a neutral palette of black, greys, browns, and taupe, with a leopard tie or belt. Then when you’ve had a few drinks or you’re feeling really ballsy go for a leopard print shoe, hat, or scarf!

Check out my Animal Accessories WishCloud for inspiration!

Should Men Wear Leopard Print?
(Spoiler Alert: YES, men should wear leopard print!)

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Business in Fashion

I was inspired by an article in the NYTimes Style section, “Enterprising Business Students Turn to Fashion”. The article discusses the growing desire among MBA-candidates and graduates to apply their business-savvy and years of coursework to the fashion industry…

So, can business grads be the creators of fashion empires? This is the question posed at the end of the article.

Honestly, I am not sure how successful your average MBA grad would be at building a major brand or fashion house. The fashion world, like the world of politics, is ALL about who you know and name recognition. When you consider major fashion house names like Chanel, Prada, Versace, Dior, Saint Laurent, and  even Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch, and Donna Karan, they all have one thing in common: they are the result of one small, talented designer building a successful design (and business) empire. They were not created by business men, and that is because at the end of the day true fashion and design is about artistry and talent. Without those two major pieces, I don’t see how any brand or fashion company could exist, let alone be successful…

Now an MBA grad with an  undergraduate degree in fashion design and/or an impressive list of fashion/design-related internships is another story. This person would likely experience significantly greater success in creating a fashion empire, in my opinion at least.

While I have many reservations about the abilities of an MBA to create and lead a fashion empire, I do believe that business-savvy individuals are an asset to the fashion industry, and that their role within the industry may be expanding from working just with retailers to include designers and brands as well.

Graduates sporting an advanced degree in business, marketing, or related field  are increasingly seeking positions with the designers and brands who represent them, rather than restricting their employment opportunities to major retailers such as Macy’s, Nordstrom, and Target. It is easy to understand how a business degree can benefit a major retailer- they are educated and trained to focus on the bottom-line, equipped with negotiating skills, and dedicated to increasing ROI. But when you consider the evolving role of designers in the 21st century fashion industry, it’s not hard to see that having individuals who understand business are just as crucial to designers and brands as are individuals who have an eye for creative, provocative fashion.

Benefits of business-savvy to designers and brands:

  • Designers want/have to make money to survive. When you’re a smaller designer, it can be intimidating to negotiate with buyers from major retailers. A designer doesn’t want to settle for less than their product and IP are worth. A person who understands both marketing and business negotiations  will prove especially useful during these transactions.
  • Designers have their own aesthetic (Duh, that’s what makes them a designer). When trying to sell a product as a designer, you want to find brands, boutiques, companies, retailers who will not only find your current garments/line appealing, but are generally in love with your aesthetic and personal brand. However, with so many designers out there it can be a challenge to differentiate yourself.  A business guru with a specialty in marketing will be especially useful during the buying/selling process as they will know how to portray your aesthetic in a presentation that is targeted to each of the various vendors/buyers.
  • A designer’s main focus should be on creating amazing designs; designers are the visionaries in the fashion industry. They should not and cannot possibly  have complete control over things like the bottom-line, staffing, manufacturing, etc. These are the things that a business-savvy individual can take care of; they can help the designer minimize the costs of manufacturing without compromising on quality, they can assess the role of and efficiency of employees, and handle basic business needs thus eliminating unnecessary stress for the designer.

 

 

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LOGO Culture Come-back…What does it mean?

NY Times Article on Logo Culture Come-back

A very interesting article on the return of logos and branding to everyday clothing…what does the logo culture come-back say about American consumers, and what does it mean for designers?…The  article suggests that return of branded, or logo-plastered clothing signals a waning of the anti-capitalist movement seen in the 1990’s amongst consumers. However, judging by pieces displayed in the photo slideshow and my own observation of the rise of the hipster culture, the desire to buy and wear t-shirts and jackets baring the names, logos, and symbols of prominent American brands may stem from the desire to mock these companies and protest consumerism.

Either way, these items are rising in popularity and becoming more of a commonplace in everyday stores like H&M, Macy’s, and Nordstrom.

To accommodate the demand for logo-clad garments,  designers have been forced to create and apply branding that can be displayed on their products in places other than the tags, buttons, or zippers.  For some designers this practice has been embedded in their brand. Several major designers including Louis Vuitton, Coach, Armani, and Burberry have been covering nearly every square inch of their leather goods with their famous branding for decades. However, other designers who are not accustomed to treating their customers like billboards understandably feel reluctant to succumb to the demands of the logo trend. What are the consequences of succumbing (or not) to brand plastering and self-promotion?

By not succumbing, designers are in a sense rejecting the trend, but this should not be seen as a rejection of capitalism and consumerism. In not succumbing, designers may garner increased support and patronage from their current client base. On the downside, they may, if only briefly, lose a portion of their current base who opt for logo-clad brands. They also lose out on the easy opportunity to self-promote and advertise.

By succumbing, designers may send the message that they care more about revenue and consumer trends than they do about maintaining their aesthetic and artistic foundation. However, on the upside they will likely expand their customer base and enjoy increased sales and recognition that comes from having a logo that is advertised everywhere.

Personally? I would rather see a designer stick to their aesthetic, and not feel like they have to plaster their branding on each and every product just to receive notoriety and recognition among consumers.

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