Amidst the sweltering heat of July in New York City, New York Men’s Day kicked off fashion week with full force on July 10th. Transporting us back to the 1960s mod, designers ranging from well-known David Hart to Nigerian newcomer Taofeek Abijako brought Dune Studios to life on the second Monday in July. The Spring/Summer 2018 men’s collections, although largely defined by the reinvention of old trends, brought about a new understanding of the casual man.
Descendant of Thieves’ SS18 collection, largely modeled after the 1960s, championed the transformation of staple slacks and button downs by pairing diverse prints and bright colors with classic cuts to allow the everyday man to express a bolder and more curated sense of style. The slicked hair and floral trousers sported by models of all races transported viewers back to the eccentricity of the 1960s, which like Daniel Hechter’s collection, revitalized the classic pair of tailored slacks and fitted blazers.
Woodhouse and Maiden Noir took a more light-hearted path towards reinvention by evoking imagery of fictitious sites of refuge and playtimes of the past, effectively shifting the viewer away from the harsh realities of the present. Models with baseball bats in hand wore caps adorned with the slogan, “Make Menswear Great Again”, to emphasize the overarching theme of reinvention. Similarly, Maiden Noir’s use of vibrant stripes and lighter typewriter broadcloth shirting to juxtapose muted army prints and dark overcoats emulated artist David Hockney’s portrayal of American West Coast culture to further the collection’s underlying theme of escapism.
Others undertook the theme of reinvention through a more mechanical approach by incorporating bold hardware to offset a lack of brighter colors and vibrant prints. Bristol’s SS18 collection screamed monotonous street style, while Heliot Emil’s ‘PTCS’ collection evoked images of combat. Drawing on the theme of 1960s reinvention, Heliot Emil traded in brights colors and bold patterns for fashion-forward bulletproof vests and embellished combat boots.
David Hart and Head of State crossed borders to showcase Cuban and West African trends in their SS18 collections. Playing on the western idealization of Cuban culture, David Hart combined patterned neck scarves and espadrilles with blazers and Panama hats to emphasize a seemingly outdated and dubious portrayal of Cuba in foreign pop culture, while still managing to deliver a collection of revitalized vacation wear for men. Similarly, 19 year-old Taofeek Abijako of Head of State drew inspiration from famed West African photographers and musicians to produce a collection of gingham-patterned trousers and muted brights geared towards the everyday man.
Krammer + Stoudt’s SS18 collection collided resort-wear with metallic patterns and business casual. Drawing on Southwestern influence and vintage SoCal subculture, the collection expressed a modern twist on contemporary menswear by combining eccentric prints with a muted palette of beige, blue, cream, and grey. By combining linen suits with sneakers and metallic backdrops, Krammer + Stoudt adds glitz to everyday garb.
Drawing from the diverse culture and characteristic bustle of the United States, Private Policy’s SS18 collection illustrated the fine line between the fragility and beauty of the American Dream. By coupling quintessential American symbols, such as cowboy boots of the Wild West and urban takeout bags, with eccentric hairstyles and a wide range of accessories, Private Policy’s SS18 line presented a unique interpretation of American culture that reconciles its past with its ever-changing future. Similarly, hinging on the growing streetwear trend, Life in Perfect Disorder’s music-accompanied presentation brought us directly to the streets and challenged the popular interpretation of casual wear. Graphic prints, patterned button-downs, and drawstring leather jackets gave the collection purpose, effectively conveying a more politically charged message.
In their ability to reconcile trends of the past with those of the present, designers, both young and old, revitalized men’s fashion to mirror the ever-changing sociopolitical climate of the future. Men’s Day proved to be an opportunity to showcase creativity and innovation, but also one to revisit the past and alter the path of the future. Designers used their collections to vocalize their present-day political and cultural qualms, further emphasizing fashion’s capacity to possess influence beyond the creative sphere.
Amassed, Men’s Day forecast a theme of reinvention and purpose for the remainder of men’s fashion week.
Feature image: Maiden Noir Presentation