It may be a strange time for personal style, but a flock of fashionable fellas in the public eye are undeterred in their pursuit of pushing the sartorial boundaries.
And it’s translating into sales: according to Forbes, sales of menswear will outperform their womenswear counterparts between 2017 and 2022. The contents of what men are buying have, however, shifted considerably, particularly in our *cough cough* unprecedented times.
Sales of men’s tailoring have been predicted to fall 11 per cent, to $1.7 billion between 2019 and 2024, according to Euromonitor International, figures which were asserted pre-pandemic and before officewear was rendered redundant. Indeed, according to fashion platform Lyst, it was sales of hoodies and caps which surged for men last year, signaling an embrace of comfort-first clobber for chaps.
Where once there was a simple sartorial formula for men, today the rules are being re-defined (see aforementioned Styles in a dress for proof), and there’s a host of brilliant brands offering an alternative to run-of-the-mill dapper dressing.
These are a few of the best.
Founded in 2016 by friends Richard Singh, Tom Holmes, and Steffy Neceva, Wax London is making seriously stellar menswear with panache. Its pieces are crafted exclusively in London and are made using either deadstock fabric, or sustainably-crafted materials to ensure its practices are as conscious as possible.
And things seem to be going from strength to strength for the independent brand. It recently opened its first bricks and mortar store in Soho, which stocks not only Wax London goodies but also its collaborations with other sustainable British brands (make sure to add it to your bucket list once lockdown lifts.)
We can’t stop thinking about one of its best-sellers, the Whiting Overshirt in Marine Beatnik, which is made from archive material its founders sourced from Portugal. Race you to the checkout.
Since launching in 2009, Universal Works has firmly cemented its position as the purveyor of contemporary British menswear.
The brand is the brainchild of David Keyte, who draws inspiration from his Northern upbringing for Universal Work’s workwear-esque designs and pared-back aesthetic. Its basics, which it produces in small batches, are affordable, but also high-quality, scratching the itch of wanting to look good without breaking the bank.
Its Lancaster Gilet, which is made from a delicious creamy-coloured Sherpa-inspired fleece, is top of our wish lists for lockdown 3.0 and once shops fling their doors open again, be sure to head to Coal Drops Yard to check out its latest IRL store. You and your bank balance won’t regret it.
Alex Muto, a graduate of the University of Westminster, cut his teeth working for Tom Ford, Alessandro Michele at Gucci and Christopher Bailey at Burberry, before branching out and establishing his own brand, MUTO.
Bursting with contemporary silhouettes in a fresh and zingy array of colours, MUTO’s DNA is inherently nostalgic and the designer draws his inspiration from his Italian heritage and love of streetwear. Given our collective desire for all things comfy, opt for one of its Sportivo Long Sleeve pullovers to look good while keeping it cosy.
Hailing from Bolton in Manchester, Represent is the brainchild of brothers George and Michael Heaton, who draw their inspiration for the brand from the Britpop era and the scaled-back casualwear that defined it. Think parkas, distressed denim and cult tees, for reference.
Represent even found its way onto the Milan Fashion Week Men’s schedule in 2018, where its runway was decked out in astroturf, a nod to the brother’s love of the beautiful game.
What began humbly as a t-shirt brand in 2012 is now a certified success in the menswear sphere. Look to its cult Windbreakers for proof.
King & Tuckfield
Launched in 2016 by East London native Stacey Wood, King & Tuckfield is an homage to her fascination with how denim and merino can shape genderless silhouettes. The brand’s menswear offerings are sartorial staples – think pared-back pieces in muted hues. They’re also crafted from sustainable materials, meaning they’re kind to the planet as well as good for your wardrobe.
If you take one thing from reading this, let it be this brand. CMMN SWDN is Saif Bakir and Emma Hedlund’s baby, who are the – very clued up – duo behind Kanye West’s design studio.
Since its launch in 2012, the Swedish menswear label has cemented its strong aesthetic with its array of quirky and cool pieces (their tie-dye game is particularly strong.)
Founded by British multidisciplinary artist Stevie Anderson in 2018, Endless Joy is a range of eco – and wardrobe – friendly silk shirts. The prints are designed by Anderson and showcase intricate patterns on a series of bowling shirts, all inspired by the history of Bali.
For a toastier, winter-ready ensemble – and some serious The Soprano’s appeal – wear its shirts over turtleneck jumpers. The brand’s Soleil Lune Long Sleeve Shirt gets our vote.
YMC (which stands for ‘You Must Create’) is a London-born brand with two decades’ worth of experience in creating understated, eminently wearable clothing. Its founders, design-duo Fraser Moss and Jimmy Collins, who founded YMC in 1995, are big on quality staples which eschew trends in favour of durability.
Fun fact: the brand takes its name from a quote by the famous industrial designer Raymond Loewy: “You must create your own design style.” Its Paninaro Nylon Bomber Jacket in navy is positively crying out for a test drive.
Pop Trading Company
Amsterdam-based Pop Trading Company is the brand most known for amplifying Europe’s skate scene and for keeping it real with their trend-led pieces. Founded in 2013 by Messrs Peter Kolks and Ric van Rest, its pieces are the epitome of understated and refined.
Launched in 2016 by The Vaccine’s guitarist, Freddie Cowan, Basic Rights is the New York-founded, London-based brand crafting seriously cool basics.
Cowan was inspired to establish the brand after struggling to find menswear pieces that were comfortable and durable enough to wear on tour without compromising his personal style.
We are particularly obsessed with The Bomber, which we are quite sure we need in every colourway.