The menswear Fall 2013 shows are under way in Milan as we speak, having started last week in London. In recent years menswear has become increasingly important to major fashion houses, which means we are seeing a lot more interesting, inventive looks on the runways. So far this season I have noticed two contradictory trends on the runways: a focus on classic menswear tailoring juxtaposed with some modern casualness, and on the opposite end of the spectrum, dramatic gender-bending looks inspired by womenswear from past seasons.
Fendi's Iceland inspired collection successfully embraced both these trends at once, starting the show with some beautifully constructed, conventionally masculine coats, and partially plaid shirts and ties.
As the show went on, designer Silvia Venturini Fendi introduced some scene stealing fur coats paired with and boots paired with leather skinny pants.
An afternoon a few weeks ago I walked into the two-car garage off of Alberta Street to ask Seth Neefus and Owen Johnson a few questions. Once used for storage, the garage has been gutted and re-purposed into the fully functional workshop and studio space for Portland-based line Red Clouds Collective. Industrial sewing machines, prototypes, drafting tables, and craftsman tools adorn the space. It's apparent: these fellows work hard. Neefus and Johnson represent two primary components of the 9-plus person Collective and after a few attempts to meet at local coffee shops, the pair ask if I'd just like to stop by the workshop. I, of course, obliged.
You see, I've visited their workshop before. Whether for summertime campfires, jam sessions, or new design exploration, the Red Clouds Collective home base seems to serve as a gathering place for friends and makers. This is because, at its base, the line is a natural extension of its community's lifestyle. In fact, Red Clouds first developed in response to this. From tool rolls, to backpacks, to iPhone cases, each design addresses a specific need encountered by Collective members. Neefus elaborates, “Products are constantly being developed as we go, out of necessity.”
I have also noticed a large degree of creative overlap within RCC that reaches far beyond product manufacturing. Mediums include photography, video, screen-printing, musical performance, sewing, leather working, and woodwork. The line functions as an amalgamation of these pursuits. “There are so many different elements of handmade things.” Neefus states, “We have done all of these things in our lives, so this brand was created as an outlet to bring that all together… Anything we enjoy doing can be brought into the brand.”
This emphasis on handmade methods is a driving force behind production. Owen Johnson has been a strong presence in Portland's bike messenger community for over a decade, and his handiwork reflects his experience. Each bag is skillfully and carefully crafted at the sewing machine where Johnson perpetually resides. Johnson emphasizes the importance of “quality, industrial machines that can sew through leather, canvas, and even your hand.”
The Collective's balance between hard labor, experience, and creative impulse results in products that are both superior in quality and design. Perhaps the line's most visible item is the Goodbook, an iPhone case developed to “consolidate the many items we carry in our pocket.” On its fifth incarnation, the Goodbook now offers a wallet, iPhone case, and sketchpad in a convenient fold-able design, and it is all executed in the highest caliber, hand-sewn leather.
Other RCC products include recent collaborations with Hand Eye Supply on a sailor's knife sheath and with Mama Bird Record Label on a limited run of magnetic beer koozies (for optimal beer access while working on motorcycles).
This spirit of collaboration runs through the entire line, like the Taylor Brubaker Apron Tool Roll, the David Wien t-shirt; each item grows from a “group of individuals whose lifestyles and creative energy inspire the products we create,” and it is all happening right here in a NE garage in Portland.
Find out where to find Red Clouds Collective locally here.
Oh boy, here we go: Love her, hate her, or blame her, Yoko Ono is... not boring. You know this already through her
unholy hooting and screeching music and art, but now you can look forward to her take on men's fashion, featuring such items as a boot with an attached incense container that smokes while you walk around. Hello, necessary.
Movember is now in full swing, and that means we will see many moustaches sprouting in order to raise awareness about men's health issues this month. TOMS has taken the initiative to collaborate with the Movember organization by creating a limited edition TOMS Movember shoe and launching them with parties around the world. In Portland the party will be at Blake and will feature a barber for a clean shave & start to the month, DJ Nature, food, a whiskey bar, and the opportunity to preview and purchase the Movember TOMS shoe. It's all happening tonight from 7-10 pm.
We've paid our dues.
We've followed our better halves to fashion events, drank boxed wine and gave feedback on high heels.
We've worn multiple hats as drink-fetchers, clutch-holders and iPhone photographers.
We've seen more avant garde dresses walk down local runways than we probably need to.
And now, it's our turn boys.
From 7pm to 11pm on November 2, both Solestruck's flagship location (417 SW 13th Ave) and menswear fashion boutique Machus (542 E Burnside) will offer in-store events and one-night-only promotions at both locations. A limousine shuttle will transport guests to and from each location every 30 minutes. Complimentary cuts/grooming by Bishops, beer and whiskey, a deco-paint shoe station, giveaways and, for the first time, a vast presentation of men's footwear options will be available at Solestruck. Machus will have exclusive one-night-only promotions, a limited quantity of 25 covetable gift bags, video installations, complimentary whiskey and a presentation of future merchandise.
Says Justin Machus, "Ty and Henry from Solestruck approached me a few months back about supplying them with clothing for various photo shoots. They have started to focus a lot of attention on men's shoes and this fall marks their big launch. Up until now they have mostly been known only for women's. We liked working together for those shoots and thought a party was in order that brought the two stores together. For our side of things we will be having drinks from New Deal Vodka, DJ Yohuckleberry, new video art by Solestruck and 25 special gift bags for first come first serve. We will also be having a promotion on the few shoes we carry and all our fragrances for that night only. (Nasomatto never goes on sale!)."
Things'll start shaking this Friday, 7 pm at both locations.
In a town known for an abundance of beards, I am pleased to announce an event focused on moustaches. Movember & Sons is an organization that aims to raise awareness and funds for men's health, specifically prostrate and testicular initiatives and, frankly, they make this issue sexy. Whether rugged or well-groomed, "generous men, known as Mo Bros, groom, trim and wax their way into the annals of fine moustachery. Supported by the women in their lives, Mo Sistas, Movember Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts."
Backed by TOMS, the collaboration launches at Portland retailer Blake Nov. 6. You can sip on some fine bourbon in the whiskey lounge and tame any wild moustaches at the shave station. Tunes provided by DJ Nature, moustache eye candy provided by the handsome folks of Portland.
Festivities begin at 7.
In case you've been worried that it's been forgotten this year, fear not: The pre-holiday onslaught of pop-ups and group sales is steadily approaching. I freaking love these things. Far from a corny, namby pamby craft fair, the Portland standard is a clever, modern stylish affair where you can score thoughtful, locally produced gifts—often for a special deal. And frequently there's a theme. For instance on Nov 16 & 17, there's a men's-specializing event, called appropriately, Mr. Man happening at The Good Mod's new space at 1313 W Burnside. There are retailers, yes, including damn fine ones like Shwood, Hand-Eye Supply, Salvage Works, PINO, Reveille, and so many more.
However, Friday evening will also feature and art show by Rob Lewis, DIY workshops, beer, pizza, alcohol tastings, beard/mustache trims from Rudy's, and a motorcycle display by See See. All this bonus material means there's something of a catch, in that you need to purchase tickets ($7-10). Hit the break for the in-progress list of vendors.
Next time you feel like making the old argument about Portland's European aesthetic, and/or further taking down the moldy stereotype that everyone here dresses like a hippie, I present to you more fuel in the form of Natural Born Elegance, another company catering to an apparent demand for more formal men's clothing, neckwear in particular. (We're racking up a tidy local selection, with upstart specialists like this and PINO joining stalwarts like Duchess and Adam Arnold). NBE's base of operations is here in Portland, but their roots extend to Italy—specifically a wool and cashmere mill started in 1881 in Biella.
Even as more and more Portland designers become proficient and pledge to keep their production local, often utilizing groundbreaking small-run manufacturing firms like the Portland Garment Factory, the scales are, perhaps unfairly, if unsurprisingly, tipped far in favor of womenswear. So here's a bright spot for the men of Portland: Myelabl was founded in 2010 by Adam Fous, but has flown under the radar (or, at least, my radar) until now. A line of shirts and jackets produced entirely in the city, Myelabl is available locally at that bastion of understated, workwear inspired classics, Dunderdon.
NE Alberta's self-described alpha-male barbershop, The Modern Man, is expanding their territory—how masculine of them. The new location is at 4538 SE Hawthorne and is aimed at "more gentlemanly and scholarly types." But even if they've switched up their north side taxidermy for Southeast's specimen jars and bookcases, one important constant remains: whiskey. Friday night is the grand opening party (7-11 pm), at which they'll be pouring out complimentary Burnside Bourbon from Eastside Distilling, suds from Gilgamesh and door prizes like (ha) two tickets to see Portland Center Stage's Sweeney Todd. (Another pair will be given away to a winning customer who makes an appointment on Saturday, the first official day of business.)
Leanna NYC joined the growing crop of stores around town to add menswear to their mix last month, and I just got a chance to check out the goods. I'm a big fan of clothes that turn jean and hoodie styles into something special, so I was excited to see the selection of unique and interesting streetwear pieces from labels like Threads for Thought, Cafe Bleu, Bench Urbanwear and Fidelity Denim.
Store owner Leanna Carreon decided to expand to menswear in response to requests by male would-be customers for clothes that fit the fun, eclectic style, and reasonable price-range that the store is known for. "As soon as we opened, people started walking in asking for men's," she explains, "and we want to give our customers what they want!"
Check out some of my favorites:
At long last, the new extension of the block-dominating Imelda's and Louie's shoe store is open, boasting more room for a grander selection of men's shoes, in addition to roomier digs for their online operations. In the past few days the weather has taken on a distinctly autumnal pallor, so if you're still in the market for a fresh pair of fall boots, or you just like that new-store smell, they're having a grand opening party this evening from 5-8 pm with Whiffies Pies, live music from Just Lions, plus giveaways and raffles.
As mentioned, and as you've surely discovered if you ambled down SE Hawthorne sometime this summer in search of some heat-quenching Cold Stone Creamery, Imelda's and Louie's has turned its former neighbor into an expansion of the "Louie's" end as well as space for their online sales operations, meaning an expanded range for everyone. After a couple months of remodeling, which they faithfully documented on their Facebook page, the door to the new shop swung open on Friday.
As promised, official lookbook photos of Duchess' new dabble in off-the-rack menswear, and its first seasonally inspired collection for Fall/Winter '12 have been posted. Shot by Studio Sundell, and modeled by PINO designer and instigator Crispin Argento and musician/illustrator/filmmaker/animator/vintage poster restorer Jason Leonard, you can set the rest here.
Yesterday evening I had the privilege of attending a little soiree at Duchess, where they previewed their men's suiting looks for Fall. It's a bit of experiment for them. Historically they've stuck to custom orders from their selection of vintage-inspired designs, but this season they decided to try doing more off the rack styles. They're also poised to launch the first of their era-specific collections, a Victorian inspired batch that's due out next month.
I've always felt like Portland has a serious dearth of cool and interesting men's shoes (as in not Nikes or Adidas), so I was exited to find out that Manifeso is expanding their selection with three new sneaker styles from Tsubo, Camper and Tretorn. All three of these styles are timeless and super versatile. My personal favorites are the Camper K3's, a low-top suede style (love suede) that can be dressed down or dressed up (a little), and can be worn any season. Check them out:
Once again we're gonna force you to look at heavy Fall clothes for the cold and rain that's no doubt just around the corner. This time it's Woolrich Woolen Mill's collection at Frances May. The collection is a project by outerwear company Woolrich, that "stems from the passion of rediscovery of the American manufacturing tradition," and is produced completely domestically. The collection has the old world, classic Americana aesthetic that one would expect, but still feels really modern. The pieces at Frances May have actually been in the store since the 15th, and it's now actually conceivable that one could bear to try them on. Check it out:
Last week we got an eyeful of the increasingly sophisticated wardrobe offerings from Bridge & Burn, which started as simply a line of locally designed jackets, for women. Now, if you are psychologically equipped to contemplate the inevitable arrival of fall, check out the whole collection:
Solestruck has been slowly upping their men's selection for a while, and now that they have a men's buyer they have a wide array of styles for the guys to choose from. Obviously the next step was to make a lookbook devoted just to them and Home Boy, photographed by Lavenda Memory, shows looks that are totally wearable by any guy, no matter what his style may be. Below are my favorite shots, and to view the Home Boy Lookbook in it's entirety go here.
The menswear trend I'm most looking forward to this fall is the tailored jacket. No I'm not talking about formal Zegna blazers to be worn with your three-piece suit. This is Portland after all, and pretty much the only occasions we have for dressing up like that here are weddings and funerals, or if we've been arrested and have to go to court. I'm talking about casual yet sleek, super-streamlined jackets that have been showing up all over the runways. These jackets can go with pretty much everything, and will never go out of style. Here are some of my favorites that are available right now from local retailers:
Menswear label Jack Spade is setting up shop in Portland on August 3, in a space on 304 NW 11th Ave. The store will carry an assortment of the classic, utility-based accessories and clothing that the brand is known for. While they are certainly on the higher end of the price spectrum, Jack Spade's simple but stylish aesthetic and functional, high-quality design ethos should make them a pretty good fit for Portland. I know I'll be browsing their signature canvas and waxed-cotton messenger bags (at least as soon as they have a sample sale).
When I was a design student, and soon thereafter an independent designer trying to make it with my own label, I would become livid if I heard of yet another celebrity coming out with their own line. Nowadays I don't really care, and I am not sure if it's because I don't design anymore or if it's because celebrity designers are so commonplace. Actually some of these celebrity designers do put out some great stuff, and if they give hilarious interviews about the fashion industry, well I say let them keep designing. Case in point, Liam Gallagher, celebrity "designer" of Pretty Green, gave an interview recently to Telegraph and it was very refreshing that he admitted that he does not actually design the clothes, as so many other celebrities would lead you to believe. He does approve everything however, and if he doesn't like it "it gets binned." He goes on to say he spends a lot of money on clothes so he knows his shit, whereas other celebrities are just given clothing and probably don't know what they're wearing. He also says he would never use a stylist and, "If someone turned around to me and was like, 'here mate, take that rubbish off that you've worked your b———- off to buy and get this on you…" that he would never do that. (What is this b-word they bleeped out?) Whatever you think about celebrity designers, this interview was quite entertaining, and the clothing put out by Pretty Green is actually pretty cool, even if it is just a re-hash of the clothing the mods wore in the 60s (and really, what isn't a re-hash of something else these days anyway?)
I rarely write about men’s fashion because, let’s be real, I am way too obsessed with platform heels, feathers, and sequins. But I can offer a little bit of advice on what not to wear if you’re looking to graduate to a more polished look:
Put down the cargo shorts. I repeat, put the cargo shorts down. I feel like they are just never going to go away. When I see a bro out rocking those terrible multi-pocketed things I just wonder what is in those pockets and why are there so many? I’m not against guys wearing shorts but just keep the silhouette slim and get the right fit for your frame.
Any kind of shirt that reflects the Ed Hardy design aesthetic is an automatic disqualifier. This means nothing with swirly designs, tigers, or any kind of “tattoo like” scribble. When in doubt, reach for a classic white t-shirt. It’s a no-brainer that looks great when kept simple and paired with crisp, dark denim.
If you must wear flip-flops make sure those hooves aren’t looking crusty. I don’t mind the nice leather looking ones from Rainbow, or something similar. You can’t go wrong with squeaky-clean sneakers either.
Sweatpants are not outerwear unless they are Alexander Wang, and I don’t want to see you out in public in sweaties.
Denim is a dude staple, but don’t go wrong with awkward fading and that bleachy looking style. Opt for a classic pair that can be worn every day for any occasion. I’d recommend splurging on one pair that will last forever and only get better with age. A.P.C. and Wings +Horns make great guy-approved jeans that are def worth the price.
Hit the break and click to shop my picks for summer that won't land you on the worst dressed list!
Today is Mick Jagger's 69th birthday and I would like to celebrate with some images of him. Whether looking dapper in suits or glam in spandex, Mick has always been a fashion icon to men and women alike. Here's to you Mick, and may you keep on rocking for years to come.
I know this has been out for a while, but I still can't get over the amazing Prada Fall 2012 Menswear campaign. When the collection was shown in Milan this past January, the presentation was regarded as one of the best of the season, not only because of the collection itself but because of the parade of dapper celebrities that accompanied the models down the runway, including Adrien Brody, Gary Oldman, and Willem Defoe. Prada brought some of them back for the campaign, and the result is sheer genius:
Normally menswear campaigns feature a male model who is ridiculously handsome or prettier than I am, and while they are nice to look at (who among us doesn't like to look at hot guys?) they don't really draw the viewer in and make as impactful a statement as this Prada campaign does. Maybe it's because the models are actors and therefore can exude a persona that normal models can't? Maybe it's because they are personalities we know and respect, and therefore elevate the campaign? Maybe because it's Gary fucking Oldman and he is just plain awesome? Whatever the reason, this campaign will go down as one of the most memorable, in my humble opinion. I know celebrities are used in fashion campaigns all the time, but this one to me seems to be more sincere, more purposeful. Now then, here are more campaign shots and a behind the scenes video:
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