The Rise Of New York Menswear
American designers are having quite the time of it. In the past few years Alexander Wang and Jason Wu were tapped to head up Balenciaga and Hugo Boss, respectively, and recently, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) announced that New York is to have its own men’s-dedicated fashion week, starting July this year.
Add to that New York-based brand Public School taking home the inaugural International Woolmark Prize For Menswear, and more established labels Perry Ellis and Hickey Freeman bringing in new Creative Directors to dust off the racks, and it’s gearing up to be a big year for men’s fashion stateside.
What better time, then, to make sure your knowledge of Big Apple brands is up to scratch. We highlight New York’s five key menswear labels, from emerging to established.
1. Public School
Founded in 2008 by former Sean John designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne, Public School has quickly carved out a niche for its urban-inflected clothing that masterfully combines streetwear styles with sharp tailoring.
For this pair, the real start came in 2010 with their induction into the CFDA Incubator program. After reworking their business plan as a part of the inaugural incubator class (the brand was previously put on hiatus because Barneys, who represented 65 percent of their orders, passed on a collection) and bringing production back to Manhattan, the elevated, urban sportswear label went on to launch a denim line and garner the attention of press and buyers, both at home and abroad.
A CFDA Swarovski Best New Menswear Designer award, CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund prize and CFDA Best Menswear Designer Award followed in rapid succession, while collaborations cropped up with the likes of J.Crew, Jordan, Swarovski and even Heineken.
- Public School Tweed Wool Trousers
- Public School Double-sleeve Textuted Plaid Shirt 210979
- Public School Wool And Leather Biker Jacket 210865
- Public School Inset-sleeve Crew-neck Sweater 211057
- Public School Contrast-panel Poplin Shirt 210963
- Public School Biker Track Pants 210901
- Black & Grey Bellowed Hoodie
- White Static Print Shirt
- Grey Marled Knit Applique Sweatshirt
- Black Ps13 Overdye Jeans
- Navy Blue Houndstooth Double-layer Shorts
- White Nylon-hemmed Drawstring Dress Shirt
If Public School is the newest of the ‘cool’ brands, J.Crew has really become an arbiter of ‘cool’. You only need cast your mind back to last summer when an entire Instagram account sprung up to document the prevalence of just one of its designs – a blue gingham shirt – to see that the label has latched on to something.
And with good reason; few other brands manage to take much-loved, if slightly weary, wardrobe staples and present them in such an all-new and resolutely modern light. It’s in no small part due to menswear director Frank Muytjens’ firm handle on American classics, something he first cut his teeth on at Polo Ralph Lauren.
From striped button-downs to cotton-twill chinos, Muytjens keeps J.Crew classic while sometimes hitting on contemporary (a two-tone minimal sweatshirt) and rugged (a buffalo check overshirt) riffs.
Though the bulk of the brand’s business is no-nonsense apparel, J.Crew has also engaged in a wealth of collaborations, partnering on limited edition releases with respected brands from Barbour and Nike to Timex and New Balance.
- J. Crew Garrison Fatigue Jacket
- J. Crew Ludlow Topcoat In Herringbone English Wool
- J. Crew Ludlow Traveler Suit Jacket In Italian Wool
- J. Crew Italian Cashmere Cable Sweater
- J. Crew 9 Stanton Short
- J. Crew Abingdon Weekender Bag In Two-tone
- J. Crew J.crew Striped Cotton-jersey T-shirt
- J. Crew J.crew Brown Ludlow Slim-fit Wool Suit Jacket
- J. Crew J.crew Wallace & Barnes Suede Elbow Patch Wool-blend Cardigan
- J. Crew J.crew Cotton-chambray Shirt
- J. Crew J.crew 484 Slim-fit Washed-cotton Trousers
- J. Crew J.crew Checked Jaspe-cotton Shirt
Though no one would’ve suspected it until recently, Coach could well take up the moniker of the American Louis Vuitton.
Previously a sleepily conservative leather accessories brand, Coach has charged full steam ahead into luxury lifestyle territory with a critically acclaimed menswear debut at London Collections: Men Autumn/Winter 2015.
Tapping Englishman Stuart Vevers, formerly of Mulberry and Louis Vuitton, as Creative Director, the brand’s newly unveiled menswear line featured on-trend shearling panels, luxurious fabrications and stand-out accessories as just a few of its highlights, proving that this 71-year-old label is shirking its mundane image for something much more attractive.
A definite one to watch going forward.
See Coach in its all-new guise at the brand’s flagship on New Bond Street, London, and shop online at coach.com.
- Collection Track Jacket
- Waxed Nylon Aviator Jacket
- Mac Duffle Coat
- Motorcycle Jacket
- Collection Leather Barracuda Jacket
- Smith Brief In Pebble Leather
- Mercer Tote In Pebble Leather
- Coach Hudson Bag In Crossgrain Leather
- Alexander Shoe
- Allen Loafer
- Arnold Boot
When it comes to clean and sophisticated design, few American brands do it better than Theory. Normcore this is not – instead, the label has a luxe minimal aesthetic that’s not unlike the hypothetical equivalent to Phoebe Philo’s womenswear line at Céline.
The brand’s knack for crafting unfussy essentials was underscored in its fifteen-piece collaboration with online luxury retailer Mr Porter. Centring on modern clean-cut classics, it included everything from a monochromatic field jacket and crisp white poplin shirt to a rich brown cashmere sweater and the daddy of contemporary minimalism: the camel wool overcoat.
Almost twenty years old, Theory never sits on its (perfectly preened) laurels – an activewear line was introduced last year in the form of Theory+, which offers fans of the brand a selection of modern, innovative pieces that will take them from a morning jog to a casual evening catch-up.
Pop into the Marylebone store in London or high-end department stores like Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty to check out the latest wares. US residents can also shop online at theory.com.
- Sango Z Coat In Sturdy
- Wellar Jacket In Tovare
- Julius Coat In Roaglin
- Muller Pant In Speedwell
- Zaine Pant In Kentwood
- Jake W Pant In New Tailor
- Zack Ps Top In Wickett
- Zack Ps Top In Basalt Stripe
- Atticus Pullover In Ares
- Barham C Shirt In Turini Cotton Blend
- Billey H Tee In Anemone
- Dover Spread Top In Cadomin
5. Club Monaco
Hot on the heels of Frank Muytjens at J.Crew, Club Monaco’s Vice President of Men’s Design, Aaron Levine, is also vying for the title of champion all-American designer (even though the brand is technically Canadian).
Having honed his craft at Jack Spade and Hickey Freeman, Levine, too, knows the power of putting a fresh spin on an old favourite. Raw selvedge denim, Henley shirts and classic lightweight crew neck sweatshirts are the brand’s calling cards. Think no-frills, high quality, versatile wardrobe staples in premium fabrications.
2014 saw the brand open standalone menswear stores in New York, Boston, Hong Kong and London, as well as being stocked on Mr Porter for the first time, while collaborations have also become key – the label’s Made in American line is produced in partnership with carefully selected US factories.
- Club Monaco Printed Cotton Shirt
- Club Monaco Leather Elbow Patch Cotton Cardigan
- Club Monaco Cashmere Hoodie
- Club Monaco Cashmere Sweatshirt
- Club Monaco Slim-fit Cotton-flannel Shirt
- Club Monaco Grey Grant Slim-fit Wool-flannel Suit Jacket
- Club Monaco Cotton-blend Henley T-shirt
- Club Monaco Slim-fit Cotton-twill Chinos
- Club Monaco Leather And Wool-blend Bomber Jacket
- Club Monaco Cotton Jersey T-shirt
- Club Monaco Woven-trim Loopback Cotton Sweatpants
- Club Monaco Fair Isle Knit Cashmere-blend Socks
Though historically not a major menswear hub, New York is rapidly re-branding itself as a hotbed for both up-and-coming talent and newly refurbished brands. Whether you’re after easy casual pieces cast in an entirely new light or sleek, luxe sportswear, NYC has plenty to offer.
What other New York-based brands do you rate?
Let us know in the comments section below.