While menswear on the high street often feels dominated by the same brands doing the same things, when you know where to look, specialist labels and hyped young designers are there to be found. There’s a movement happening in John Lewis & Partners – which continues its well-earned rep as one of the British high street’s trustiest destinations – to highlight the diverse and eco-friendly future of men’s style.
John Lewis & Partners’ Independent initiative will cement the retailer’s place as one of the go-to places for exciting new menswear, with an exclusive selection of indie labels. And this new wave of menswear has qualities all style-conscious men can agree on – casual looks that are sustainably made and easy to wear.
The brands have been chosen especially for their commitment to high-quality materials, craftsmanship, and mindfulness in how production affects the environment – one of key issues the fashion industry has to adapt to in upcoming years.
Whether you want trusty denim, eye-catching basics or statement spring outerwear, start your hunt below.
Our Favourite Brands
This homegrown brand’s approach to eco-friendly-but-stylish fashion combines a low-key Scandinavian look and British manufacturing processes. The label is bang on trend in both its design and 21st-century attitude. It prioritises craftsmanship, local manufacturers, and donates to charities.
Wax London launched in 2015 when a trio of friends wanted to make contemporary, design-led clothes at affordable prices – they also wanted to bring the manufacturing of traditional British outerwear back to the UK. Its London factory and workforce has three decades of experience and know-how. John Lewis & Partners discovered the label on Instagram, a fitting start for the tech-savvy brand which highlights its own skilled factory workers’ stories through its blog.
The brand’s key item is its east London-made, Dundee-waxed Navarino mac, stocked exclusively in John Lewis & Partners in shades of khaki, grey and a seasonal light clay hue. Also looking good for SS19 is Wax London’s sharply designed printed shirts and colourful (but wearable) sweatshirts.
This forward-thinking denim brand dates back to the 1940s, when it was established in Japan. It was the world’s first manufacturer of the “old wash” worn-in style and later invented stone wash, which changed the way jeans are made all around the globe. Since the early 2000s Edwin has had a European arm, which produces items exclusively for Europe and imports select items from Japan.
Today, the company prides itself on handwash processes, design and fit. And as one of the most progressive denim brands, it combines traditional Japanese craftsmanship with contemporary European vision and attitude.
The jeans come in a variety of washes and styles, whether you’re a straight-legged or tapered kind of guy, and you’ll feel the quality as soon as you pull them on.
Another new import to John Lewis & Partners as part of the Independent range, Maison Labiche is one of the retailer’s essential discoveries. It was founded in 2011 by a group of Parisians whose vision was to create a “brand with a soul and a personality”. The label’s calling card is a 1950s-style chain stitch typography, a distinct script that’s featured on brand’s clothing since its first hand-embroidered T-shirt.
Maison Labiche’s collections are themed around trips from Paris to imaginary locations, playing on its own the French capital’s heritage. But there’s an American influence, with flashes of classic pop culture looks from various decades, too. Ready-to-wear collections are conceived in Paris and clothes manufactured in Portugal. They carefully choose primarily natural materials to use and meticulously pour over every design detail.
The brand is also known for adding some tongue-in-cheek charm to the logos and messages on its tees, Oxford shirts, and jackets. It’s top-quality menswear with a welcome playful touch.
This contemporary US brand are kings of simple, understated and effortless sportswear. Emphasizing comfort and fit, the motto at Save Khaki United is “nothing is added without purpose”. But that’s not to confuse simplistic with basic.
The SKU aesthetic is all about easygoing, everyday items, but the brand is also serious about the process. At the core of the company’s values is sustainability, fair labour, and efficiency. SKU endeavours to reduce its carbon footprint by manufacturing locally and using domestically-sourced fabrics and textiles. Materials for its knitwear is either environmentally grown or reclaimed and recycled cottons are used.
The dyeing and finishing of all products take place in California, which has some of the strictest environmental laws on industry dyeing, so you can be sure that Save Khaki United is among the most eco-friendly – not to mention high quality, comfortable, and straight-up stylish – brands in your wardrobe.
Despite the Francophile name, this brand was conceived in London and has its products crafted in Portugal, a favourite spot for high-quality indie brands. Les Basics is also one of the youngest brands discovered for John Lewis & Partners’ Independents range, having just started back in 2016.
The brand has a contemporary style and approach to menswear. It’s dedicated to reinventing core menswear staples and giving these classic style items an athletic, weekender edge that makes them ideal for casual, kickback options. It’s a design philosophy that adheres to Les Basics’s promise to deconstruct and redefine the “once mundane”.
The SS19 collection focuses on outwear, sweatshirts, block design T-shirts, and casual summer jackets. Colours are also simplistic, with soft hues or darker masculine tones, all highly wearable. These reinvigorated staples will soon be standard must-haves for your summer look.
Shop all the brands from the Independent initiative now at John Lewis & Partners