There is absolutely nothing wrong with classics. There is a reason that certain brands and garments stand the test of time. It’s because they have a timeless design that floats above the ebbs and flows of seasonal trends.
But in order for a man’s style to continue evolving it needs a dose of that new new. Adding a piece or two from emerging designers and figuring out how to pair it with your existing wardrobe keeps a look fresh and modern, without it becoming so garish that you’ll be mortified when a photo shows up as a Facebook Memory in five years.
New brands also keep the old guard on their toes. By pushing boundaries and experimenting with new ideas, up-and-comers take the baby steps necessary to help the men’s style landscape eventually make giant leaps.
With the market week trade shows in New York just wrapping up and the second New York Fashion Week: Men’s about to start, it’s the perfect time to highlight the emerging brands and designers that are poised to become household names (in style-conscious households, at least). Now you can say you knew them when.
GHSTS founder Joseph Keefer started the brand while he was working as an assistant designer at Robert Geller. It started as a New York T-shirt brand in 2010 then, as its website notes, took a nap in 2012 and woke up in Los Angeles in 2015. The current iteration features premium Japanese and Italian fabrics incorporated into basics that are anything but owing to the unique details that reveal themselves upon closer inspection.
Another L.A. brand, Second/Layer was started in a Venice basement by Ant Franco, Jacob Willis, and Joshua Willis. The garments have a baggier cut that gives them the relaxed vibe that California designers specialize in without the clothes feeling sloppy in any way. And while the brand is only a few years old, its founders bring experience gained from years at brands such as Creative Recreation and Stussy to their designs.
Italians have always been known for making exquisite shoes. Traditionally that craftsmanship has been applied to more formal footwear, but Casbia designer Manuele Bianchi is using it on sneakers as well. Casbia kicks have a look that is more architectural and modern than everyday sneakers and they feature luxurious materials like reversed calfskin leather. The result is shoes that stand out in a pack and can work for almost any occasion.
Retailers creating their own in-house brands is nothing new, but Taiwanese e-commerce brand Ne.Sense, which stands for “Necessity Sense,” is entering the space with more than just logo tees. The bold debut collection was inspired by traditional Taiwanese agricultural uniforms. While that frame of reference may not resonate with guys in the U.S., you don’t have to be a history buff to appreciate the cool open collar Mandarin shirts and shawl-collared outerwear that layer so well together.
CUISSE DE GRENOUILLE
The name Cuisse de Grenouille means “frog’s legs” but its clothes won’t gross you out. Founded in 2010, Cuisse De Grenouille isn’t exactly new, but the brand has really come into its own recently. Its “Surf In Paris” sweatshirt with delightful fuzzy embroidered lettering now features other global cities as well, some of which are just as landlocked as Paris. The clothes have a fun sense about them and are perfectly casual in the way that the French pull off best.
Carson Street is one of the best menswear stores in New York City, carrying top brands such as J.W. Anderson and N. Hoolywood. Now the founders are creating clothes under their own label Deveaux, which debuts with a NYFW:M runway show. The garments feature original takes on traditionally tailored pieces, such as a peacoat with only one button and a button down shirt done in tan suede.