Wednesday, 6 April 2011

In discussion: Unsung designers and labels

You might recall that during the latter half of last year we sparked off a series of monthly discussions around a given subject, for example 'Tell us about your most stylish moment and the most stylish man you've ever met,' and so on. Over the last few months this feature has been on the blogging sidelines but we'd like to continue the chat around menswear and would love for you all to take part. To begin with we thought it would be nice to afford a little attention to the unsung designers and labels. Helping to kick start the conversation, we have asked a selection of our favourite menswear personalities to real a few of their neglected favourites.

Each season the same few (designers) are talked about. Who do you think deserves a little more love, old and/or new and why?

"You have posed an interesting question, loaded with both the pro and against argument in relation to how designers are being forced to work today. ‘Each season the same few (designers) are talked about. Who do you think deserves a little more love, old and/or new and why?'

As the Internet’s role in the communication of fashion remains imperative, surely there is room for every designer to remain in the spotlight – no matter how bright it may shine. There are of course – and always have been – certain magazines/websites with certain aesthetics (and political leanings) that limit the selection of designers they can laud. To talk of Katie Eary’s shiny plastic wit next to Margaret Howell’s reserved, paper-cotton shirts would rightly seem at odds with any sort of editorial stance.

There is space for new designers and the unsung to establish room for themselves. Any designer working today needs to understand the role of self-promotion as much as they understand the construction of a peacoat and it is true that this way of thinking is creating a generation of 'jack of all trades' designers, unable to create collections inspired by experiences and feelings alone; forcing an allegiance with whichever style tribe seems affluent.

Who deserves a little more love? Tim Soar's collections are beautiful, but I feel not 'London' enough to survive here - his aesthetic, fabric choices and cut all deserve a more refined palette and customer than the trend-hungry fashionistos of London who do not make up a large enough consumer base to justify excessive press attention.

Ian Batten is also the maker of wonderful wardrobe staples, great chord trousers and good solid jackets but he chooses to remain away from the press machine and humdrum of Fashion Week. Who’s at fault? The designers who deserve more attention are the ones who ultimately do little more than create great collections, to encourage it. It's up to the Editors and journalists to seek out good design, not the other way around."
Dal Chodha, writer, editor and consultant.

"Damir Doma! One of my favourite designers and someone that really does not receive the attention he deserves (although he was admittedly a finalist for the 2010 Swiss Textiles Awards). In just a few years he has come to define and present a confident and personal aesthetic that I find myself relating to in an incredibly intimate manner, not only stylistically but also from a cultural standpoint. His Spring/Summer 2011 collection was actually my favourite collection since the final collection Miyashita showed for Number (N)ine. I am also quite the fan of his Silent line of organic basics - the quality and price are hard to match.

In terms of older names, I am thinking about comebacks that seem to have been slightly overlooked - Alexandre Plokhov and Josephus Thimister. I think Plokhov's return was certainly on a par with the best of Cloak, although I suppose it remains to be seen how good the pieces are once they actually hit the stores. And I thought Thimister was absolutely beautiful, even if the womenswear looks trumped the menswear!"
Dapper Kid, blogger.

"Old: The 90s have affixed quite a stigma on Giorgio Armani, with the silhouette of his relaxed suit overused and widely mis-worn. But seeing him put forth updated versions of this relaxed suit in fresher fabrics and in slightly more modern shapes these past few seasons makes me convinced that I need one in my life. There is an effortless, timeless elegance in wearing a divinely dark Armani suit; I'd like one in drapey navy wool please, to be worn shirtless with vintage oxfords!

New: A new favorite of mine is From Britten, by Melbourne brothers Tim and Alex Britten, who I had the privilege of interviewing recently. (The feature will be up soon!) I love the way they expertly reinvent menswear classics, making them fresh and strikingly modern, without being too gimmicky. Their thorough and exhaustive process of creating their pieces is so refreshing in this day and age of fast fashion. They are most definitely one of the best new talents in menswear today."
The Dandy Project, blogger.

Is there a designer or label that you think deserves more attention? Who are your unsung designer heroes? Do let us know below...


Giancinephile said...

Well, for me, I am very fond of Jean-Paul Knott chez Cerruti and Youn Chong Bak chez Smalto.

What I'm particularly fond of these designers is how they explore refinement in a rigorous and subtle way. With the orgy of overwhelming edginess and gender-bending tendencies in menswear to gain hype or attention, the young romantic in me always resonates to those designers who seem to be guided by the classical models or perhaps guided by the values of the past and appropriating things to a contemporary audience.

Also, I can't help but inevitably think of Alessandro Sartori at Z Zegna. This guy has pioneered so much in terms of mixing technology and fashion and created this level of desirability and bridging Zegna to younger audiences.

1972 said...

There's a wave of second-time-round designers like Matteo Bigliardi and Kostas Murkudis - people who burst onto the scene years back with amazing collections, put have quietly resurfaced recently.

Luis Delso said...

Congratulations for the post, I liked it, I follow the trends and designs, I'm a fan of fashion, style and glamor, I keep reading this blog, thanks for sharing

A hug!

Style Salvage Steve said...

Giancinephile: Exactly, if a designer doesn't quite fit the current wave of enthusiasm or an overriding trend they are often overlooked.
1972: It is always a pleasure discovering second wave designers, there is a whole body of work just waiting to be explored!


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