Finally, I can breathe. Why? Because from July 17 –19, I was attending the menswear Spring/Summer 2012 season trade shows here in New York City. This is where menswear brands—large, small, and indie—cram themselves and the best of their wares for the next season into small booths in massive popup spaces all over the city, while buyers, editors, and fashion bloggers peruse through their racks. Unlike fashion week, we really get to meet with the brands for an extended period without the flash of camera bulbs or celebs and really look at the seams of the clothing. My mother always said you could tell all you need to know about a garment from its seams. Words I still live and work by that have never led me astray. The tradeshows were great as I met some quality young brands and revisited some staple brands I’ve been following since before I had a career in fashion. For this latest edition of <b>Suit Your Life</b> I’m giving you a few snapshots of the show’s highlights and some items that got my tongue wagging. Enjoy! <em>—Gardy V. Guerrier</em>
ENKNYC at The Tunnel venue was broken into four sections: Designers' Collective for contemporary menswear collections, Blue for denim pieces, Tmrw for new design talent, and Clean for personal grooming products and accessories.
Patrick & Fabrice Tardieu at the Bogosse booth
Having to wait until 2012 for this Benson bag will be tortue but worth it. Well, for those that actually have to wait.
I tend to stay away from light color bags as they get dirty so easily, but the craftsmanship of this bag and those leather strap details made me think of making an exception.
Funny fact: White people tend to try to connect with me by referencing any Black celebrity or "friend" they can think of. In Jeremy's case it was catching up to me after we first spoke to tell me that Russell Simmons called <b>Jeremy Argyle</b> his favorite shirt line and even shot a series of videos in the store. The second he said it, I realized it was their store used in a series of Affion Crockett/Russell Simmons parodies I was obsessed with last year.
<b>Ivy Prepster</b> is a new line that has successfully reinvented the wheel. You’ll see what I mean on the next page…
See, they’ve taken a prep staple, the knit tie, and modernized it by adding bold patterns and points at the end instead of the square ends we have all come to know. Well done, gentlemen.
<b>Will Leather Goods</b> were one of the sponsors for ENKNYC, so they created a specialty bag for all attendees, but the stuff they held back for their paying customers blew our canvas bags away. I'm jealous.
It’s a bit hard to make out, but these belts have a suede center surrounded by high grain leather. Makes for the perfect accent piece for a summer suit.
Next to patent leather, my two favorite things in footwear are suede and wingtips. I’ll let you figure out why I love these.
It has purple laces. The end.
Sometimes simplicity says so much.
Yes, that really is the number of tractors in Norway and, yes, it is printed onto every garment Moods of Norway produces.
The guys at Moods of Norway say their clothes are made for the picnic society. I agree.
The Capsule show, which was in a narrow industrial five-story building, with an elevator so slow it was really a walk up, was filled with brands that were more contemporary and experimental that cater to a more youthful consumer.
Thought this was interesting, PRPS had the original design sketch on display to show how the product went from the page to the floor.
This Bill Amberg bag is all about the details. The contrast between the orange leather on grey suede and the braided leather straps makes this one of my top five pieces from all the shows.
The classics will always be the standards by which all other brands are judged and Sperry Top-Siders are the classic of all classics, but they are also hip and current as you can see with these florescent soles they are doing for their Spring 2012 line.
Etiquette Clothier is bringing back the men’s sock garter. I cannot be the only one excited about this idea. Yes, we do have elastic in our sock bands now, but these are so much cooler.
The gentlemen of Ovadia & Sons honored me with a details breakdown of their men’s line and the seams were great. Well-made dress menswear produced by industry legends. I’m looking forward to seeing where this brand goes.
I can’t put in to words how great this cotton canvas pant felt. Lightweight, but firm. It gives you the look of linen without the tragedy of all those wrinkles.
Trend: The return of the double-breasted suit. We saw it all over the men’s runways a few months ago and it has officially made its way onto the sales floor.
Agenda is the "street wear" trade show (I hate that term and so does everyone who works in the industry. It's lifestyle wear for people that don't need suits for their lifestyle.)
This lovely lady and that smile were a pleasant addition after a long day on my feet in 90-degree heat.
The Project show was in a great two-story space in SoHo, NYC. One interesting feature they had that no other show had was a focus on the Artisan at work. We walked in to find a whole section of the first floor dedicated to craftsmen creating their brands right there in front of you. I appreciate the peek behind the curtain.
As I was leaving the project show I caught Waraire Boswell, one of the reps from AIREDALE, taking a breather after a long day while leaning on some of the frames and I thought it perfectly captured the calm after the storm that was the past three days so I had to take a shot. The two-texture collarless shirt he is wearing is also one of my top five favorite items from the week.
The party is done. I'm back in my office, alone, in front of my computer writing. The end.