Menswear Editors’ Pick: Converse Deck Star Slip ’67 Missoni

Images of PMBNC

Images courtesy of PMBNC

The Missoni x Converse collaboration continues. Longtime collaborators Converse and Missioni have teamed up yet again for Deck Slip-on sneaks inspired by the romantic essence of an artist and his travels along the Trans-Siberian-Manchurian rail line. And as you sneaker aficionados will testify, it is a collaboration made in heaven.

The Missoni x Converse collaboration has produced such great product as the Missoni x Converse spring 2016 Chuck Taylor high tops with zigzag pattern, the fall 2015 Missoni x Converse Chuck Taylor high tops with mint green and black vertical stipes, and the fall 2015 Missioni x Converse deck sneakers inspired by the Southern European and North African coast line. And that is just to name the current collaborations for 2015.

This current Converse Deck Star silhouette is enhanced with a thick, chunky space-dyed elasticated cashmere upper that is ideal for the colder weather that comes with the winter months. Premium satin is applied to the back of the sneakers to deliver a more elevated look while the colors reflect the darker, earthy hues of the landscape—the mountains, rivers and forests—that the artist passes on his journey.

Images courtesy of PMBNC

Images courtesy of PMBNC

Converse First String is a limited-edition collection that celebrates craftsmanship, authenticity and collaboration at the highest level. The Converse Deck Star Slip ’67 Missoni sneakers are now available for a suggested retail price of $250 USD at Converse retail stores, select first string retailers and online at converse.com.

May the sneaker Gods be praised!!

—Staff

Men’s Fashion Alert: Stetson Celebrates 150 Years

Image courtesy of mediacn.com

Image courtesy of mediacn.com

How many brands can attest to being on the market for 150 years? Not many. And it is particularly a challenge to maintain market viability in an oversaturated market where everyone from celebrities, sports figures, and every new graduate of a fashion school can place a product on the market in a short period of time.

For over 150 years Stetson has been a mainstay brand on the American market. No other fashion brand conjures up images of the American Frontier West with style, panache, and market sustainability better than Stetson. Founded in 1865 by John B. Stetson when he headed west and created the “Boss of the Plains” hat, the brand has been associated with being the purveyor of Western-style hats.

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Stetson is now the largest hat maker in the world with its main factory located in Philadelphia and though Western-style hats were the products that gave the brand its market viability, Stetson has now expanded into fragrances, apparel, footwear, eyewear, belts, bourbon and a range of other products evoking the historic American West. And its fragrance ads and editorials have included Matthew McConaughey and Tom Brady.

“Stetson has been both the stuff of dreams and a household name for three centuries. We have achieved this by being a reflection of an evolving yet enduring vision of America. I feel we are caretakers of this legacy, happy to celebrate 150 years of history while working hard to maintain and broaden our identity and scope,” said Izumi Kajimoto, chief executive officer of Stetson.

Images courtesy of Agentry PR

Images courtesy of Agentry PR

During this 150-year anniversary, the 150-year product collection will run across Stetson’s various categories including hats, belt buckles, clothing, fragrance, and footwear. Under the hat category, the brand will revive archival hat styles as well as current styles, all of which will feature a commemorative pin on the band. Boots will be stamped on the sole with the 150-year insignia. New packaging will be rolled out for Stetson’s famous fragrance. A special edition coffee table book and select home goods will also be released.

Images courtesy of Agentry PR

Images courtesy of Agentry PR

Stetson’s digital push comes in the form of an interactive micro-site within the brand’s current website. The platform will allow users to experience both the rich history of Stetson as well as examine its current culture across the US. Users can view the timeline feature, which takes you from the brand’s humble Philadelphia beginnings through major moments of the 20th Century, and into today. Stetson commissioned tastemakers in 14 American cities, from Nashville to Portland to create their Stetson City Guides. The guides will take visitors into local favorites, from coffee shops to music venues, giving a taste of the modern Stetson lifestyle. The micro-site also offers videos, which show the American craftsmanship behind the brand’s most exciting offerings. Finally, the platform features a contest, giving users the chance to win a VIP concert experience.

—Staff

Father’s Day Find: The Collateral’s Chic and Sophisticated Cufflinks

 

Image courtesy of The Collaterals

Image courtesy of The Collaterals

Another pair of socks, a tie, dress shirts, oops, did I forget the last minute gift card? I guess you know where I am going. Father’s Day is less than a week away, and though being creative about getting Dad something special—particularly if the man seemingly has everything—is not your strong point, you have enough time to get that special guy something chic and sophisticated.

Fashion Reverie to the rescue, helping its readers identify those unique fashion items that will set them a part from the crowd of consumers who settle for banal, disposable fashion. With an oversaturated fashion market—even in menswear—most men are looking for that special fashion item that is attention grabbing.

Whether your special guy works in an office or is an outdoors type, a least a couple of times a year he has to look spiffy for a special occasion. Though he may contend that he is not style conscious, every man likes to look good and appreciates compliments on well thought out style choices.

Images courtesy of The Collaterals

Images courtesy of The Collaterals

Fashion is  about change, so for Father’s Day why not combine sophisticated elegance with an innovative, revolutionary concept. The Collaterals collection of cufflinks combines exquisite craftsmanship with a totally new way to fasten French cuffs.  Collateral’s patent pending Prometheus foldable automatic locking system fastens French cuffs in a true, slick fit around the wrist that is not possible with traditional cufflinks. They are adjustable if a little more room is preferable when wearing a watch.

“My Collaterals collection is designed for ambitious, tenacious, high-profile men who dress for success and are looking for a luxurious modern accessories effect which matches the high caliber of their high-ticket watch, suit or car. Each mechanical cufflink head has a unique smart internal plate that allows the locking action and is crafted from high-grade Japanese stainless steel.  The natural gem stones and materials used in the designs are embedded into the head with a technique which heats a natural material to its highest temperature tolerance forcing it to shrink in size so it can be inserted in the cavity. When rapidly cooled, the piece expands and perfectly fills the cufflink head almost as if it fused itself to the stainless steel frame. This eliminates the traditional gluing technique used for other cufflinks,” details Creative Director Carlos Castillo.

Image courtesy of The Collaterals

Image courtesy of The Collaterals

The Prometheus cufflinks collection offers several designs as well as the Futura and Raptor cufflinks collections. In addition, the Collaterals brand features luxury designs for Shirt Collar Links, Shirt Collar Stays and Suit Lapels. The Collaterals products exist to provide elegant, stylish touches to the business wardrobe of the modern man.

Remember, these cufflinks and collar stays are also heirloom accessories to be passed own from one generation to the next. The Raptor Blue cufflinks retail at $225 and Lapis Lazuli Prometheus retail at $280. The collection can be purchased in Bloomingdales in Hackensack, NJ, Orlando and Miami, Florida or online at thecollaterals.com.

—William S. Gooch

 

Men’s Style Alert: Converse’s Chuck Taylor All Star and Comme Des Garcons Link up Again

Images courtesy of PMKBNC

Images courtesy of PMKBNC

Fashion collaborations are very common in fashion. From Pharrell Williams’ collaboration with Opening Ceremony to Misha Nonoo and Aldo to Lily Pulitzer and Target to Alexander Wang and H&M, combining well-known designers with mega retail stores in some cases seems to produce big bucks for both parties involved. (Remember Missoni selling out overnight in H&M with most of the produce being resold on Ebay, Target’s collaboration with Lily Pulitzer followed suit.)

Well, this is the fourth time around for Converse’s Chuck Taylor All Star sneaker collaboration with Comme des Garcon’s creative director Rei Kawakubo. But, collaborations are nothing new to Converse. Missoni collaborated with Converse in 2014 as well as Maison Martin Margiela in the same year. And who can forget Converse’s Chuck Taylor collaboration with the mega heavy metal band Black Sabbath for spring 2014 with Black Sabbath logos and graphics to boot.

Images courtesy of PMKBNC

Images courtesy of PMKBNC

For spring 2015 Comme des Garcons and Converse chose to create an exclusive four pair collection of the premium All Star Chuck 70 sneakers in high top and ox silhouettes. Featuring heavy grade black and milk canvas uppers, a smaller toe box and higher midsole finished in solid white, reinforced contrast canvas heel strips, nickel hardware, thick cotton laces and a cushioned sockliner for added comfort. The design is accented with the signature red heart logo created by New York-based graphic artist, Filip Pagowski, peeking out from behind the midsoles.

This fourth collaboration is a limited edition series that goes on sale May 14 exclusively at Dover Street Market stores in both London and New York, COMME des GARÇONS New York and online atdoverstreetmarket.com. They will be released at other global retailer partners on Friday, May 15, 2015 and will retail for a SRP of $125 USD.

Images courtesy of PMKBNC

Images courtesy of PMKBNC

Now, don’t wait til the last minute to purchase these fashion-forward sneaks. Do we really want to crash the Internet again? I hope you fashionistas learned you lesson from the Lily Pulitzer/Target crash!!

—Staff

Menswear Exclusive Interview: Nicholas Elliott

Fall 2015 images courtesy of LER PR

Fall 2015 images courtesy of LER PR

How does a European designer, or any non-native designer get traction stateside when they are not a recognizable brand or household name? The US market is saturated with established and emerging designers that are all scrambling for that consumer who wants unique, chic clothes that reflects their personal style while not breaking the bank.

British menswear designer Nicholas Elliott is looking to make inroads into the most chaotic and challenging menswear market in the world. Though the US menswear market can seem like a little gated community—and it often is—there is always room for innovative design, brilliant construction, and a unique perspective on what male consumers want to wear. Nicholas Elliot and his brand N-p-Elliot just might fit the bill.

One component to success in menswear is being able to predict what the male consumer wants before the consumer even knows it. And Elliott has his pulse on the heartbeat of the new, emerging male shopper; a shopper who is willing to go beyond the tried-and-true and is open to non-gender specific clothes.

Is Elliott assured of the same stateside success he’s had across the “big pond”? Only time will tell. Fashion Reverie hopes the gamble pays off!!

Fashion Reverie: What inspired your fall 2015 collection?

Nicholas Elliott: Two cult classic films; one being “Gattaca,” and the other being the Bond film “Moonraker” inspired the collection. The collection is called “Dystopian Present” because both films deal with an impending dystopian regime. The color palette is very limited; the choice is very considered. The wools in the collection all come from a British company called Hemsworth that makes all the military uniforms for the British army. The quality is amazing and the fabric is very durable. There is also great history with the Hemsworth brand.

Fall 2015 images courtesy of LER PR

Fall 2015 images courtesy of LER PR

FR: A lot of designers for fall 2015 are using the dystopia concept in their collections. What motivated you to use this concept?

Nicholas Elliott: My mind is pretty dark anyway and when you see so much disorder in the world, you want to bring some order to it. With fashion you are in control of how people are dressing, even if it just within your brand. There is a kind of uniformity in how this collection is presented and put together. Also, it reflects societal views on fashion and how everyone currently wants to dress the same. Whether that aping comes from wanting to belong or fear of standing out. It is almost like the McCarthyism of late 1940s into the 1950s.

FR: There is an androgynous feel to your fall 2015 collection, why that direction?

Nicholas Elliott: I hate gender stereotyping; it is so boring. I have never felt constricted by the way I dress. I don’t believe this collection feminizes men or is very cliché. This collection does harken back to a 1970s aesthetic and point of view when men were more adventurous in their dress and attitude. Currently, a lot of menswear is very conservative.

This collection is more contained and restrained than my spring 2015. I took a lot of advice from buyers who said that you could be adventurous but not in all aspects of the collection. So, I took that into consideration, and my fall 2015 collection is adventurous but every aspect.

FR: There is a strong 70s reference in this collection, why that approach?

Nicholas Elliott: Well, both films that I used as inspiration have a 70s reference in their scope. “Gattaca” was made in 1997 but had a strong 70s vibe and “Moonraker” was made in 1979.

Fall 2015 images courtesy of LER PR

Fall 2015 images courtesy of LER PR

FR: Micromesh was a big trend for spring 2025, why are you carrying over this fabrication into your fall 2015 collection?

Nicholas Elliott: I use the micromesh in tee shirts because I believe this garment works well as a layering piece for fall/winter. I like the idea of everyone being very pragmatic and physically fit, even though the tees have been bound and lined in silk faille. I am attempting to take styles that you can keep using and developing throughout the year, not for just one particular season.  I also attempt to take patterns and silhouettes and carry them over from one season to the next, making them better the next season around.

FR: I have noticed that you also only use fabrics and materials that have some basis in eco-soundness and environmental utilitarianism.

Nicholas Elliott: That’s true. I try to use fabrics and materials that are by-products of things you would eat anyway, like lamb, goat, sheep, and beef, using the fur or skins of those animals. I don’t want to alienate any customers by randomly just using fur and skins for fashion sake alone.

FR: And your clothes are not necessarily gender specific.

Nicholas Elliott: Yeah, my clothes look good on everyone. Everyone looks good in a bomber jacket, relaxed-fit pants and an oversized tee or cap-sleeve tee, if you can appeal to a broader market, why not? And you will not lose anything by being gender neutral.

FR: Who is your customer?

Nicholas Elliot: I generally make clothes that I would wear, but I am already putting clothes on people I like. America is more of a niche market, but in Europe I am putting clothes on people in the music industry, fine art, and a lot of different careers. In the US, the markets are more segmented with fashionistas only wearing certain designers and musicians liking a whole different set, and business folks in a whole other category.

Ultimately, I see my clothes are really cool, stylish people. I want my clothes to be worn by a cool guy in his 50s, but also a cool guy in his 20s and 30s. I don’t want to ostracize any group. You know fashion for all!!

—William S. Gooch

Men’s Holiday Grooming Guide

Image courtesy of firstolympian.com

Image courtesy of firstolympian.com

The fall chill has turned into the winter freeze, so it’s time to think of all things warm and fuzzy. Kids are putting on their flannel pajamas, women are getting into their snuggies, and men are growing out their beards. Ladies, your man’s beard can be a curse or a blessing for you. If you don’t mind him pressing his itchy, wooly face against yours, let him handle it alone. However, if you prefer cozying up to softer stubble, get him these products to maintain his facial hair through the holidays and all year round.

Image courtesy of Mr. Natty Face

Image courtesy of Mr. Natty Face

The first step in growing and maintaining a healthy beard is making sure it’s regularly cleaned. Some men question what product to use for this. Your man isn’t going to want to use your facial cleanser, so I suggest you get him Mr. Natty Face Forest Soap. Gentle enough to be used daily, FFS is high in antioxidants thanks to olive oil (which also hydrates the skin), has shea butter to protect dry skin, and peppermint oil to give it all a little kick.

Image courtesy of Cold Label

Image courtesy of Cold Label

Cold Label has teamed up with celebrity barber Faheem Alexander to create “Bully,” their luxurious beard and shave oil. Bully is actually a blend of their classic shave oil and beard oil, both of which contains follicle softening oils that moisturize and condition your skin and beard. This special edition blend helps grow a full beard with a natural shine and a soft touch. Made of only ten natural ingredients, this oil is also perfect for sensitive skin.

Image courtesy of Brooklyn Grooming

Image courtesy of Brooklyn Grooming

Brooklyn Grooming’s line of beard balms is perfect for growing a longer, thicker, coarser beard. Made with organic ingredients, including candelilla wax and shea butter, this balm reintroduces moisture to his beard and seals it in. Think of this beard balm as a styling pomade for his whiskers, holding down fly-aways and leaving them with a healthy sheen.

Image courtesy of Big Red Beards

Image courtesy of Big Red

After all of the washing, and moisturizing, and waxing, his beard maintenance is not complete if he lets it turn into a matted mess. He needs to simply comb it out. He doesn’t have to give it 100 nightly strokes, but he should regularly pass a comb through it. Combing his beard not only removes debris and detangles it, but it also helps redistribute beard oil and balm throughout. For this follicle treatment, I recommend grabbing a groomer from Big Red Beard Combs. At different stages of growth, his beard will need combs of different sizes, so pick up the trio pack and he’ll be well taken care of.

—Carl Ayers

*Slideshow image courtesy of ifashinolo.com

Nick Graham: Not your Average JOE

Image courtesy of nick graham.com

Image courtesy of nickgraham.com

Everyone loves JOE BOXER, but do you know the man behind the brand, NICK GRAHAM? The genius behind one of America’s favorite underwear brands, Nick Graham is not only the brains behind the household name, but a maverick who considers himself a cultural archaeologist.

And so he is. A man full of passion, ideas and information, Nick Graham has many sides to his  life. In the past, Nick’s style experiences included launching rockets into space, live streaming fashion shows from airplane hangers in Iceland, and developing the first transatlantic fashion show with his good friend, Richard Branson.  Similar to Richard’s reputation, Nick Graham is a man full of adventure who also carries a heart of gold. A huge advocate of AIDS and breast cancer awareness, Nick is also a huge spokesman for literacy.

Images courtesy of nick graham.com

Images courtesy of nickgraham.com

A man of English heritage and a Canadian upbringing it appears that Nick was destined to be a quirky gentleman. Thus, a true renegade of style, Nick is determined to restructure the way we view fashion and now menswear. His latest enterprise, best entitled with his own signature, is a focus on what he dons a ‘Post Prep’ look for men.  Packaging men’s quality shirts with quirky bow ties and ties, Nick has developed a new form of one stop shopping for men.  Allowing men to have easy options are elements of style that are typical of Nick Graham, and are revolutionary for men to dress up without too much fuss leaving enough mental space for fun, color, and conversation.

In a world obsessed with branding, marketing, and image, Nick understands how the pieces of the puzzle can nicely come together to convey messages of cultural change that will not only sale, but can inspire many to create a better future.

Fashion Reverie: Everybody loves JOE BOXER; it’s a household name.  What do we need to know to love NICK GRAHAM, the menswear brand?

Nick Graham: Joe Boxer was for me a happy accident. I moved to San Francisco in the 80’s and needed new underwear. Needless to say it got out of hand. Nick Graham is more strategic.  Menswear to me is shifting to what I call Post-Prep, a new dynamic of dressing that is opening up more options for guys everywhere, and I don’t see any one particular company addressing that developing market.

Image courtesy of nick graham.com

Image courtesy of nickgraham.com

Fashion Reverie: You as the founder, Nick Graham, have Canadian roots. You also have a flair for the dramatic, which is not very Canadian. Or is it?

Nick Graham: Canadians are very dramatic when it comes to hockey, beer, and Celine Dion.  But, Canada also breeds some of the funniest comedians around. Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, Seth Rogen, Leslie Nielson are all Canadian, and somewhat dramatic. There is a very high level of irony in the water in Canada, so that makes us who we are. Of course, there is also Justin Bieber, but for now, America can have him.

Fashion Reverie: How did Canada influence you?

Nick Graham: I always use some aspect of Canada in one of my lines every year.  In my first season of Joe Boxer, I sold the “Ultimate Hoser” a plaid flannel boxer that came with a detachable raccoon tail. I sold them to Saks Fifth Avenue in New York and they sold out in one day. Next fall, I am doing Eau de Moose, a collection of rustic ties and textured shirting fabrics that are built for urban wildlife.

Fashion Reverie: You have a definite “English Gentleman’s” sensibility. It’s also clean and quirky. Do you think American men can get into that sort of fashion as adult and fun?

Nick Graham: No one does Brit better than Ralph Lauren, so yes American men are already into it. He’s brilliant, and a real idol of mine. He creates a world that is firmly planted in English lifestyle, and is better at doing it than the Brits are. My parents are British, but I grew up on a ranch in Alberta where the only thing bespoke were the things on my bike tires. My great grandfather was Sir James Dunn, a Canadian industrialist, who was very dapper and well dressed. I remember as a young boy growing up on the farm, my mother gave me a very fancy men’s silk scarf one day. She had dated Rex Harrison the actor and he had given it to her. I would wear that scarf with my cowboy boots, a la Ralph Lauren.

Images courtesy of nick graham.com

Images courtesy of nickgraham.com

Fashion Reverie: Your newest menswear collection is purposefully packaged with a shirt including a tie and bowtie to match.   Do you think this type of packaging will influence men to shop and dress better?

Nick Graham: The idea is to make it easy for guys to look cool without spending a lot of time thinking about it. Most of the guys I know have ADD when it comes to shopping (including me) and this is like a cheaper, safer, more stylish medication for it. Plus, it makes great gifts.

Fashion Reverie: Do you find in America that branding and marketing is much more important than design? Do you see this as advantageous or the opposite?

Nick Graham: Design and Product rule everything, and always will. Branding and Marketing are just by-products of a great product, and when a product is good you hardly need to market it. Lots of people think you can market anything, but if the product/service sucks, it’s not going to change the consumers mind. Apple is a prime example of that.

Images courtesy of nick graham.com

Images courtesy of nickgraham.com

Fashion Reverie: The idea of the two-tone bowtie/tie is clever. I love your flair for quirky design exemplified in everyday living. Do you yourself live in a world of whimsy?

Nick Graham: The idea of Post Prep is to take the familiar and make it new. That’s why the ties are that way, they look very straightforward but have a little hidden element that makes them pop.  Yes I like whimsy, but it has to be smart. I like making people kind of lighten up and not take stuff so seriously. I do that through design, some people do it through music, film or art. Someone was in my showroom last week and said it was a cross between “Pee Wee’s Playhouse” and an American Paul Smith, which I thought was funny.

Fashion Reverie: You’ve developed a partnership with PHAIDON, Why?

Nick Graham: I love books and I also think they make you look smart. I love the way the covers of the books blended with our shirts, it created a narrative with our products that I liked. Someone said it looks like you had Robert De Niro promoting your brand, but no, its just the cover.

Images courtesy of nick graham.com

Images courtesy of nickgraham.com

Fashion Reverie: Any other collaboration in the works that you care to discuss?

Nick Graham: I’m working with my friend Brian Cox, the UK physicist, on his tour of the US. It’s a comedy show about science … or a science show about comedy, I can’t remember. It’s in March of 2015. Lots of other stuff is coming, too.

Fashion Reverie: Do you have any ideas that you have to extinguish or do you simply file them away for the future?

Nick Graham: My philosophy is there are no new ideas and there are no old ideas, either. Ideas are just that, ideas. It’s when they became real that they become businesses. I have a ton of ideas, and there are a lot of them in the file!

Nick Graham’s world is available on www.nickgraham.com

—Kelly Mills

Haspel Celebrates 105 Years

Haspel spring 015 images courtesy of Haspel

Haspel spring 015 images courtesy of Haspel

It’s a banner year for menswear line Haspel. First and foremost, it’s their 105th anniversary. And how are they celebrating? They started in September with an intimate presentation of their spring/summer 2015 collection co-hosted by Jockey and Esquire Magazine. Second, they held an anniversary party in NYC’s famed Meatpacking District. And third, they’ve teamed up with four other heritage brands to create a limited selection of accessories that compliment the lifestyle of the Haspel man.

Re-launched in the spring of 2014, designers Sam Shipley and Jeff Halmos (also designers of award-winning men’s brand Shipley & Halmos) have expanded on the tradition of Haspel. A company founded in 1909 as the originator of the seersucker suit, the brand currently also manufactures menswear in linens and light denims.  For the spring/summer 2015 season, the Haspel customer has a generous selection of sartorial options, from suits to shirts to shorts, in colors ranging from optic whites to sea foam greens and Parisian blues. One of their most eye-catching pieces is their berry-colored Délavé linen suit.

Image of Laurie Haspel Aronson courtesy of Haspel

Image of Laurie Haspel Aronson courtesy of Haspel

To highlight their longevity, the company celebrated its 105th birthday with a New Orleans-themed cocktail party and retrospective at The Griffin in New York’s Meatpacking District. The retrospective included archival suiting displays from the 1930s–1970s and models in Haspel’s fall/winter 2014 collection while music was provided by legendary New Orleans jazz band, Henry Butler & Friends.

Image courtesy of Haspel

Image courtesy of Haspel

To commemorate the brand’s anniversary, Haspel teamed up with Terrapin Stationers, Mulholland, Brooklyn Watches, and AO Eyewear to develop a collection of limited-edition essentials inspired by the Haspel man. Known primarily for suiting and sportswear, the brand has never ventured into accessories, but Sam Shipley and Jeff Halmos felt it was the perfect opportunity to do so. “With this anniversary, we wanted to think about the Haspel of the future and how we might round out this guy’s life and wardrobe,” said Halmos. “We also wanted to make sure our collaborators reflected the Haspel man’s sense of humor, style and confidence.”

Cheers to Haspel! For more information, go to haspel.com.

—Carl Ayers

Men’s Fall 2014/Spring 2015 Trend Report: In Praise of the Man Skirt

Images of Hood by Air fall 2014 and N. Hoolywood fall 2014 courtesy of style.com

Images of Hood by Air fall 2014 and N. Hoolywood fall 2014 courtesy of style.com

Do real men wear skirts? Well, apparently so if you are a trendsetter and aligned with what was flaunted at the men’s shows for fall 2014 and spring 2015. From Y-3 and Rick Owns to General Idea and Skingraft to Comme des Garcons and Alexander McQueen, the man skirt/apron trend has re-emerged in a more masculine incarnation. So, the question of real men wearing skits should be rethought and re-examined to if consumers are confident enough in their masculinity to wear this trend?

If the male consumer is to follow Hollywood’s lead when it comes to fashion then the man skirt should be par for the course. In 2014 alone, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Jerod Leto, Omar Epps, Justin Bieber, and James McAvoy put aside trousers and donned a man skirt on stage or for a red-carpet appearance. Sean Combs flaunted a man skirt on stage in 2012, fashion designer extraordinaire Marc Jacobs has been spotted wearing Prada pencil man skirts as far back as 2011. And action adventure celeb Vin Diesel was slaughtered in the press for wearing a man skirt in 2003.

Images clockwise: James McAvoy, Vin Diesel, Kanye West, Sean Combes, James McAvoy

Images clockwise: Marc Jacobs, Vin Diesel, Kanye West, Sean Combs, James McAvoy

Still, this re-emergence of man skirts/aprons is quite different than its trending kilt counterpart of several years back. For fall 2014 and spring/summer 2015 the man skirt/apron goes beyond its kilting predecessor. This recent incarnation is not for shock value or middle-finger rebellion. With men’s fashion gathering momentum globally, many menswear designers now have the support and latitude to stretch the boundaries of design which includes incorporating a wider range of cultural influences and embracing a wider variety of silhouettes that were once considered taboo.

New elements and trends in menswear take a while to catch on for the average male consumers. For decades men have become accustomed to silhouettes that are more tailored and streamlined. However, the past couple of decades have produced more relaxed silhouettes, evidenced in baggy pants, oversized shirts and extended crouch pants; younger male consumers are accustomed to a more expansive choice in design aesthetics.

Kayne West wore a man skirt in 2012, and though he was met with support and detractors in March of 2014 West announced that he would include a man’s skirt line as a part of his burgeoning fashion empire. “Men wearing skirts goes back hundreds of years, but never caught on in America. We have been brainwashed into thinking this is some sort of feminine act. One of the most masculine things you can do is put on a skirt. I believe this will soon be the norm … I am the trend. You watch how quickly this spreads and remember who started it,” detailed Kanye West.

Australian menswear designer Brent Wilson begs to differ in a recent Sydney Morning Herald article. “I’m an advocate for people embracing their own sense of style, but I’m also quite old-fashioned … unless it’s part of your heritage or religion, leave this one to the ladies. [It’s] another fad that has come and gone and been on the runways and celebrities many times before.”

Images of Skingraft courtesy of Ken Jones, Genera Idea images courtesy of Ernest Green

Images of Skingraft fall 2014 courtesy of Ken Jones, Genera Idea fall 2014 images courtesy of Presley Slack

For fall 2014 LA–based Skingraft, Duckie Brown, Hood by Air, and Korean menswear brand General Idea included man skirts/aprons in their collections. Unlike previous incarnations of the man skirt, Skingraft, Duckie Brown, and General Idea ingeniously paired skirts with long pants—Skingraft’s oeuvre was incorporating short pants sewn into the skirt/apron. (No more crossing of the legs or keeping your knees together in sake of modesty.)

Skingraft and General Idea’s skateboarder meets urban road warrior motif with skirts in quilted and textured leather added a masculine patina to this re-emerging trend. While, Duckie Brown and Hood by Air’s foray plays more with re-thinking masculine silhouettes, Brown, in particular, has played with skirts and aprons as a form of layering and introducing different fabrications in one ensemble.

Rick Owen spring 2015 images courtesy of style.com

Rick Owen spring 2015 images courtesy of style.com

For his menswear spring 2015 collection, Rick Owens was inspired by Nijinsky in the ballet L’Apres Midi D’un Faune. The androgyny of the faune in the ballet is one of the centerpieces of the work, and Owens encapsulated that androgyny, as well as the mix of masculine and feminine in garments that paired oversized trench and double-breasted coats and graphic shirts over knee-length man skirts.

Comme des Garcon and Alexander McQueen fall 2014 images courtesy of style.com

Comme des Garcon and Alexander McQueen fall 2014 images courtesy of style.com

Comme des Garcon married graphic tees with culottes and man skirts. While Alexander McQueen’s more masculine pairing of graphic shirts with leather man skirts is a bit more commercially viable for the trending fashionisto, Comme des Garcon’s man skirt combinations are forward thinking and ideal for that male consumer who has a penchant for shock and awe.

Just a warning, when wearing a man skirt  knobby knees just want do. Knobby knees and underdeveloped legs just don’t cut the mustard if you dare to wear a man skirt/apron. Man skirts work best on men that have a great pair of calves and defined thighs.

Physical attributes aside, are you man enough to wear a man skirt? Of course, you are!!

—William S. Gooch

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