MENSWEAR TO WATCH | VOL. 2
ARC’TERYX/ ARC’TERYX VEILANCE
With the rising popularity of techwear, Arc’Teryx has become a cult classic amongst fashion enthusiasts in recent years—so much so that celebs and fashion figures like Frank Ocean, Virgil Abloh, and Matthew Williams are fans.
What’s so fascinating about Arc’Teryx is that it wasn’t started with the intention of being a prominent fashion brand, but rather their focus was on creating the most sleek, reliable, and functional technical apparel. Their introduction to the fashion set thus doubled their audience to include tech-focused outdoor enthusiasts and style lovers alike.Their recent project with Palace Skateboards, an upcoming FW21 collaboration with Jil Sander, and a recently released surf film called Happy Recluse are clear testaments to the risks they’re willing to take to expand their clientele. After announcing a new CEO and pledging to commit $1 million CAD towards outdoor conservation with their “Outer Peace” initiative, this looks to be a promising year ahead for Arc’Teryx.
As boxy tops and wide-legged pants look to be bigger than ever in 2021, contemporary minimalism works well for those who want to keep their style clean and cool this year. Mix that in with some of the most high quality and comfortable fabrics from Japan, you have AURALEE.
Established in 2015 by Ryoto Iwai, AURALEE has had one clear purpose: “Authenticity rhymes with clarity of design; calm elegance aligns with gentle formality; comfort is balanced by sensitive sophistication.” In short, the quality, fit, and comfort of the fabrics and the cuts of their garments speak for themselves. This philosophy has helped the label become one of the fastest growing fashion brands to come out of Japan in recent years.
The theme of AURALEE’s spring/summer ’21 collection focused on traveling and the ability to physically move around freely. Big standouts were baggy trenches and beautiful knits layered with loosely cut basics reminiscent of vacation wear. With such strong purpose and even a 2020 collaboration with New Balance, AURALEE looks to grow bigger within the fashion industry not just in 2021, but for years to come.
If there was a prime example of where luxury fashion should set its sights in a more environmentally conscious world, it would be PHIPPS! Quite hard to explain, yet very easy to see, PHIPPS fuses the great outdoors and high-end design.
Having started his career at Marc Jacobs and going on to become the first American menswear designer for Dries Van Noten, San Francisco–native, Paris-based designer Spencer Phipps established his namesake label in 2018 with a focus on creating menswear that’s both sustainable and stylish. As acknowledgement for his approach, he became a finalist for the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers in 2019.
As an outdoorsman and rock climber, Spencer Phipps tries to bring elements from all corners of the earth together in each of PHIPPS collections to refine what we know as fashion. As many brands struggled to engage with consumers, PHIPPS presented its latest collections in two short films. The first, The Spirit of Freedom (Ledoux, 2020), presented their spring/summer ’21 collection featuring unique prints mixed with Western-style looks. The second film, ENDURANCE (Ledoux, 2021), focused on their fall/winter ’22 collection which utilized recycled fabrics and referenced popular styles from different eras. The latter was a call to action towards rising temperatures affecting polar ice caps. To this end, PHIPPS partnered with several organizations to combat the pressing issue. We only anticipate seeing more progressive creative decisions highlighted in both the presentation and the garments.
There’s a lot to say when it comes to A-COLD-WALL and its unique take on modern streetwear. Rather than being logo-heavy and consistently offering baggy sweatshirts, A-COLD-WALL focuses on sophisticated tailoring and technical fabrics, distinguishing the brand as a cross between high fashion and streetwear.
A-COLD-WALL* has been making headlines the past few years despite only operating since 2015. As a former assistant to Virgil Abloh and Kanye West, founder Samuel Ross created the label as a direct response to the British working class in which he grew up. Despite gaining success, Ross' approach to his work is very reminiscent of his roots which makes the brand both very humbling and relatable.
With a year filled with protests in response to the unjust deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many innocent Black lives, Ross took charge when other fashion labels were silent by announcing a program to aid Black-owned businesses. He announced that he was contributing 10 grants to Black-owned businesses each valued at £2,500 as well as donating £10,000 to Black Lives Matter.
Ross’ actions speak not only to his own caring character, but are reflected directly within A-COLD-WALL*’s commitment to creating a sense of community for its consumers. The brand’s 2021 collections connect tailoring and streetwear with more balance and refinement than ever, effectively incorporating elements of utility.
In 2015, Dami Kwon (sister of K-pop star, G-Dragon) and Jessica Jung launched WE11DONE (pronounced well done) as the in-house label of Rare Market, quite arguably the it store of South Korea. Inspired by late ’90s and early 2000s fashion, street culture is one of the main aesthetics of the brand, but the looks are also grounded in the sophistication of luxury fashion.
Though past seasons have featured a wide range of oversized cuts and logo-heavy designs, 2021 sees WE11DONE leaving part of their street edge to more elegant and experimental silhouettes. Their men’s spring/summer ’21 collection showcased examples of big trends like loose suiting, wide-legged pants, and boxy tops. But, to us, the biggest standout was the tasteful color palette reminiscent of the waterfront, creating a mood that felt soothingly nostalgic and relaxing.