Looking back at the year, I reflect on what has inspired and influenced me. The most glaring influence in men’s fashion was the Americana-inspired workwear and prep. With labels like Band of Outsiders and Thom Browne being heralded in fashion pages and at fashion weeks, the Americana style broke ground on an international level. Much of Japan’s obsession has led to a saturation of Americana wear in their respective market.
This emergence of style has flooded the blogosphere, and I gravitated towards this in my personal dress as well. In years past, I have been steadfast to turn away from certain trends, but this resonated with me much more because it became accessible in major retail shops such as J. Crew, Gap, Ralph Lauren, etc.
I do feel that this is the progression of “streetwear.” There still exists a “counter-culture” whose sense of style is heavily rooted in music (hip-hop, punk) and skating. The “Americana Streetwear” (that’s what I’m dubbing it) is perhaps, another sub-genre of the streetwear culture. The “purists” and “O.G.’s” of this style are safe from this categorization.
I’m personally pleased to see that the enthusiasts to this style are learning more about the fabrication process. At the core, we like these clothes because we like the way they look. The visual appeal remains the primary determining factor for this interest. But readers of fashion print and blogs are more savvy to tailoring, general construction and material use in clothing nowadays. It’s refreshing to know that there readers are wanting to be informed about craftsmanship.
As evidenced (even in our own site), there are numbers of brands coming out of the woodwork that have adopted this style. It’s to be expected as with most trends, but my cautionary tale is to not tweak classic garments too much. I’ve seen too many chambray shirts that have been over-worked in their design, and though construction may be good, it comes off as too pretentious. I believe that the essence of this style is to look well-put together, smart and unassuming.
I’m excited to see what the future holds for brands that have rich heritages like Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, Alden, Allen Edmonds and the likes (What’s good with the adverstising, guys? We love you, Ralph Lauren!). I know that there will be several collaborations on the horizon and participating companies will put interesting and subtle twists on some classic pieces that update them just enough.
By Jason Rodriguez (Managing Editor)
2009. Another year, yet its significance is highlighted by the transition into a whole new decade where trends are bound to elevate and change, brands looking to incorporate new ideas and details to their upcoming range of pieces, and designers, old and new, looking forward to making names for themselves in the fashion circuits. In another marquee year for style, I have taken a gentlemanly approach to help me handpick my favourite collections of the past year.
In my opinion, high-fashion brands and designers such as Calvin Klein, Junya Watanabe, and Alexander McQueen have taken a backseat with their collections for the likes of Apolis Activism, whose advancements in collaborating with non-profit organisations through their excellent designs are worth the praise alone, and Vincent Flumiani’s new line, Caulfield Preparatory, whose preppy, student-friendly apparel take note of the various trends that are in vogue this decade alone.
Other designers that have unveiled winning collections include Sir Paul Smith’s autumn lineup for his PS brand, which combine vintage 1950s style with rock-and-roll panache with great effect, and Yohji Yamamoto’s fall offerings from his Y collection, implementing black-and-white polka dots in his pieces and displaying several classic Yamamoto trademarks throughout the collection.
As an avid reader of the monthly men’s staple that is GQ Magazine (and with obvious inspiration from their choice of style), my favourite collection of 2009 has to be Burberry’s Black Label autumn collection. Unfortunately exclusive to Japan, Burberry have again impressed with their quintessentially English selection of peacoats and elegant fitted suits that fictional icon Don Draper would be proud of. I wrote in a previous post that “Burberry have again released a winning collection to rival any in the fashion world”, and my opinion has not wavered ever since.
Roll on 2010, let’s hope for another excellent year in mens’ fashion.
By Omar Mussa (Contributor)
Rewinding back through the many looks and lookbooks of 2009, for me, one designer’s vivid vision pops out provocatively from all the rest. Umit Benan burst onto the boy blog-osphere last February with his A/W 2009/10 Collection inspired by his 77 day descent into bushy beardedness. The lookbook’s use of a scraggly model easily 50 years older than the typical male mannequin signaled Benan’s impish and envelope-pushing approach to defining modern men’s style. His follow up collection, a “purposely tacky” stash of nouveau riche wearables cluelessly tossed together by Cuban criminals cemented his status as a coy and conceptual yet wonderfully wearable designer.
Whoever Umit Benan casts as the anti-hero of his next collection, he’s sure to be a bold and ballsy guy.
Benan, bless his heart, toyed with themes outside of the lethargic “legacy brand” and worn-out “workwear trend” traps, and as valid and vital as those ultra-American elements have been to men’s fashion in 2009 (and in 2008), the foe of fashion is stagnancy and it seems time to at least tweak or tame the inspirations, eras, or environs in which those trends are mined and manifested.
If Benan could do it so sweetly and sassily in 09, here’s hoping other designers and trend-watchers take the challenge as well for 10.
With that, I am signing off from SwipeLife duty – for now at least. Until I return, my personal blog on material works, heady & handsome, will update regularly. See which styles I’ll be celebrating in 2010 at aTreasuryOf.com.
By William Rees (Fashion Contributor)