Few things get our attention like designer and high street names cross-pollinating to produce collections that are both stylish and affordable in equal parts.
And fellow collaboration magpies should be on standby, because Marks & Spencer is getting ready to drop a 12-piece collection with innovative London design duo Baartmans & Siegel.
The style 2-for-1 comprises 12 winter layering staples inspired by M&S classics such as the black blazer and trousers, but also includes new must-haves like a Prince of Wales bomber jacket and high-shine leather trainers.
Essentially it’s the kind of kit needed to make cold-weather dressing a cakewalk, and FashionBeans has a first look at the line-up in full. Scroll down to see all the pieces, plus hear from the designers themselves in our exclusive Q&A.
The M&S x Baartmans & Siegel collection will be available in selected M&S stores and online from 27 October.
Prince Of Wales Check Mac (£199)
Zip Rib Track Jacket (£59)
Formal Flat Front Trousers (£79)
Colour Block Crew Neck Jumper (£49.50)
Baseball Bomber Jacket (£99)
White Stretch Shirt (£39.50)
Prince Of Wales Bomber Jacket (£149)
Zip Detail Blazer (£120)
Colour-Block Crew Neck Jumper (£49.50)
Boucle Coat (£199)
Formal Flat Front Trousers (£79)
Leather Trainers (£89)
FashionBeans Q&A With Baartmans & Siegel
FashionBeans: How did the collaboration come about?
Baartmans & Siegel: We were approached by Marks & Spencer and the British Fashion Council to work on a collaboration for M&S Menswear, which got us really excited. We had our first meeting with Alan Cook, Menswear Design Lead, at the Marks & Spencer Head Office where we sat in the nucleus of the design team and saw some of the engineering of how Marks & Spencer works. We had a shared idea of what comprises a men’s capsule collection. We agreed on what’s important in a collection and what men enjoy wearing. From then on there was a great synergy between Marks & Spencer and the modern innovation of our label.
The collection is inspired by “futuristic architecture”. Are there particular buildings or architects that the pieces take their cue from?
We started by looking at traditional masculinity and the British quest for exploration. We began looking at the National Geographic magazines from our birth years. We were looking at progressive technology and how we could translate that aesthetically into the collection. Whether that was with a functionality like a reversible zip or a silhouette or colour palette that we could translate and use for the imagery of the collection.
We specifically looked at combining fabrics of different types. This idea started when we had our first meeting at the Marks & Spencer building. Whilst we were waiting for Alan in the lobby, we noticed that the view looking up was pretty amazing, we were inspired by all the exposed iron beams and the engineering of the building with all the glass elevators whizzing up and down, which made it feel really futuristic. It definitely had the feeling of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, with graphic lines like the curve of the pipes and the linear structure of the beams.
You mention “stretch innovations” as one of the collection’s highlights. What exactly is that, and which pieces does it apply to?
We liked the idea of using movement in our designs. We combined wool and stretch fabrics on the formal trousers and formal jackets, and cotton with stretch fabrics on the shirt, to update classic pieces.
A lot of the materials we are using have very specific qualities, for instance the synthetics are breathable and we used crease-resistant fabric on the shirts.
Which item from the collection do you think makes the best layering piece?
We think about each individual piece as strong in its own right before we approach how it unifies as a collection. We wanted the collection to be easily integrated into our customers wardrobe to allow them to feel that they could pick up a piece from the collection and make it work with their existing wardrobe or other pieces in store.
The key was integrating the classic Marks & Spencer brand with a new innovative collaboration. In terms of layering, the track jacket can be worn under the suit jacket and also layered with the long parka creating a very directional look with a variety of fabrics, shapes, silhouettes and textures. Equally a very minimal and functional look can be achieved when wearing just one statement piece.
Has partnering with M&S helped you achieve something you wouldn’t have otherwise?
Working with Marks & Spencer has been a delight because they have been sympathetic to our design vision. The mills and factories take pride in what they do and deliver consistency and great innovation. Essentially that’s what we are always looking for, a modern approach that’s rooted in something that feels classic.
It’s been a really interesting journey and has been nice to have the time to really develop the collection. The team were so professional and very fun to work with, and what was so great about working with Alan Cook (M&S’ Menswear Design Lead) is his understanding of the tradition associated with Marks & Spencer, but also knowing the future of the brand and where it’s going.
Is this a one-off partnership, or can we look forward to further instalments of the M&S x Baartmans & Siegel hook-up?
This is a one-off collaboration so get it while you can!