Hotdogs, bagels and pizzas (the size of truck wheels) — New York can be an excitingly nasty place. The city that never sleeps has certainly retained its home town charms when it comes to food. But, with the launch of the very first New York fashion week for men this July gone, the Big Apple is producing menswear brands that are bent on showcasing New York’s new found style flavour: contemporary and relevant but with a generational charm.
“New York brands are taking influence from what is culturally relevant — jet-setting, the digital age and the growing class of sartorial-minded professional men — while creating aesthetically-pleasing designs that serve generational and traditional dressing sensibilities,” says Laura Wassermann, fashion consultant and trend analysis. Wassermann says New Yorkers are fed-up with fast-fashion. So, designers are turning back to local production, manufacturing collections to meet the desire for quality and craftsmanship.
“I think what’s really interesting is that the New York fashion arena is becoming more price-sensitive and removed from fast-fashion. Brands don’t have the budget for overseas production and distribution, yet there is a demand for higher quality garments and ethical production. So in turn, there’s lots of momentum being built around fostering ‘Made in New York’ processes and preserving the city’s garment district,” she adds.
In a nutshell, what can we expect from New York brands, both young and old?
“It’s all about functional and rational design, simplicity with rich foundations. Brands from New York are especially harnessing this aesthetic and I feel they are creating the groundswell that is impacting the rest of the globe.”
Jumping across the pond, here are five New York brands to have on your fashion radar right now: modern and timeless, and designed to appease both the functional and fashion-forward.
Created in late 2015 by the founders of Carson Street Clothiers (which is sadly now closed), Deveaux is a luxury brand born in New York and made in America.
Helmed by designers Brian Trunzo, Patrick Doss and Matt Breen, the trio drew inspiration for the line from the novel and HBO television drama series, ‘The Leftovers’, as well as a Pablo Picasso painting named ‘The Studio La Californie.’ The name ‘Deveaux’ comes from the Philadelphia politician that Breen’s grandfather chauffeured in the 1920s.
Steeped in tradition, each Deveaux collection boasts simple men’s pieces – outerwear, shirting, bottoms and knits – but with sophisticated colour palettes and quality fabrics. It’s minimal design for maximal style.
#2 Todd Snyder
Born in Iowa before transporting to New York, Todd Snyder worked for American icons Polo Ralph Lauren, Gap and J.Crew, before launching his eponymous label in 2011.
American heritage with a British accent, the Todd Snyder offering blends Savile Row craftsmanship with a downtown New York cool: relaxed yet refined and tailored to a tee: suit jackets to wear with jeans or a matching trouser, day-to-night shirting, and sports-inspired casual wear that’s comfortable and, better stil, stylish.
“Every garment reflects a commitment to quality and integrity, as well as the belief that well-made, perfectly fitted clothes make the man,” says Todd Snyder, on his website.
And the designer loves a collaboration, having hooked up with big names Champion, PF Flyers, Timex to launch one-of-a-kind, longstanding collections.
#3 Michael Bastian
Established in 2007, the Michael Bastian brand is today a bastion of contemporary New York style. Coming from a fashion buying background, Michael Bastian – the designer – grew tired of the Made in America collections hanging on the racks of his then-place-of-work, Bergdorf Goodman. And decided to craft his own label. “Something modern and luxurious, but also a little broken down and familiar,” says the designer, on his website.
Bastian’s clothing embarks on design traditions – stunning suit separates, soft cotton chinos, plush cashmere sweaters and crisp cotton shirting. But then once designed, the fun begins: “I start with something perfectly designed and executed, then spend a lot of time knocking the edge off of that perfection.”
Designed in New York and made entirely in Italy, Michael Bastian is the deluxe mix of modern America with Milanese sprezzatura.
#4 Schott NYC
Heard of the leather Perfecto? The molten black cowhide embellished in chrome hardware? It’s a Schott NYC creation and a classic style that emulates the history of America’s bad boy. Then, there’s the peacoat and bomber – both men’s style staples – the latter being one of this season’s must-purchase casual jackets.
Celebrating its first hundred years, Schott NYC is still owned and run by the third and fourth generations of the Schott family who manufacture most of the clothing in the United States. An old faithful, which has indeed been injected with new life for millennials, make Schott NYC your go-to for a casual jacket refresh.
#5 Knickerbocker MFG Co.
Knickerbocker MFG Co. began in the spring of 2013. Tucked away in a studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Knickerbocker was birthed by friends Andrew Livingston, Kyle Mosholder and Daniel Rickard Guy — the local trio buying the industrial space for just $15,000 from manufacturing patriarch, Steven Watman.
The ‘MFG’, or manufacturing, in the name indicates Knickerbocker designs and sews their garments on-premise. Under this notion of ‘slowear’, the brand’s growing in-house label is a simple collection of traditional American menswear each season, made up of heritage workwear staples with a strong mid-century accent (think selvedge denim trucker jackets, cotton henley tees, officer chinos in bone and garment-dyed, indigo chore coats)
With Knickerbocker’s community of design creatives, each collection feels authentic. Plus it’s relatively affordable and its rustic sensibility means each piece will slide into your current wardrobe, easily. And, you’ll have them for life.