New York Men’s Day shows twelve menswear and all-gender collections
Now in its 19th season, New York Men's Day once again went up against the ladies during New York Fashion Week to vie for the attention of buyers, editors, influencers, and throngs of fans who flocked to the bi-annual shows. On day one of the NYFW's six-day affair, the event boasted over 600 attendees getting a close-up look at twelve brands that debuted fall/winter 2023 collections.
The event boasted six first-time brands for an even more extensive exhibition, including all beneath heaven by Jimmy Alexander, an experimental colorful print and script motif-heavy collection; androgynous moody collection Dionysus by Julian Octavio Medina Alvarez; Kent Anthony's all-embracing soft tailoring menswear, Jahnkoy by Burkindy and Marusya Tamboura; Bulan by Beam Ratchapol Ngaongam; and presenting sponsor brand Cross-Eyed Moose by One Jeanswear Group, a Canadian lifestyle influenced brand made for city streets.
Bulan emerged as one of the buzziest in the group, its innovative layered knitwear. Speaking to FashionNetwork.com, the designer, originally from Thailand, explained the collections' mental illness inspiration. "I want to bring awareness to it because my family suffers from mental illness. It wasn't that I didn't care, but I wasn't sensitive to this until I cared for someone in my family. I was like, 'Wow, it's a lot, and they fight to get better.' People don't realize it's not that easy," he explained.
The layered, experimental knitwear was manifested in bright colors the designer said were intended to "mask the sadness."
"There is an asymmetry in the design and holes in the knits that represent the imperfections (of the mind). But wrapped around like a hug and cozy," he said, noting a wooden tree on the set represented the healing process.
The 2019 CFDA FFGS 52 Top Emerging Talents recipient said he produces in Thailand for more than practical financial reasons.
"I wanted to create more jobs for Thai people highlighting Thai craft skills. We are an amazing country with great factories, and I want to show this is what we can do."
Husband-and-wife duo Burkindy and Marusya Tamboura of Jahnkoy also made their NYMD debut. The pair, who hail from Burkina Faso and Siberia, respectively, approached their clothes as a merge of traditional cultures and modern aesthetics.
"We bring the tradition but realized in modern shapes and styles. These aren't just museum pieces but something to wear every day," said Burkindy.
Think traditional wraps worn by African men but made with button-closures and pockets; ditto on harem and yoga pant styles equipped to carry the essentials. They were paired with elaborately tailored jackets with a patchwork effect using upcycled materials that, according to Burkindy, make it "not intimidating for the Western customer."
Key to the collection is the handwoven fabrics in bright red, blue, yellow, and green made by a local Burkina Faso ladies' weaver cooperative. Chinoiserie-inspired fabrics nod towards Marusya's Siberian culture. The models all wore straw hats inspired by traditional Burkina Faso styles. They sported Puma's customized by Burkindy, who hinted that beyond their successful Puma partnership, the designers have a new project coming down the pipeline.
Returning brands included all-gender brand A. Potts, Atelier Cillian's tailored-with-a-feminine-touch collection; innovative denim brand Raleigh Workshop by Victor Lytvinenko; Nicholas Raefski; Terry Singh; and outerwear sponsor Nobis by Michael Kerr, senior design director.
Combining tailored style and practical functionality is never simple, but Nobis pulled it off with aplomb this season. The Canadian performance outerwear-centric brand returned as a sponsor this season.
Aided by some impeccable styling by veteran editor Jim Moore, the eighties glamour and plausible cool collection was presented Friday morning on New York Men's Day.
In a co-ed display, models posed before a rotating drawing of the Rocky Mountains, wearing a cross-section of natty Nobis gear.
Puffer waistcoats cut with narrow sleeves like a gilet; or cool vests made with matelassé fronts and knit backs.
All were shown with multiple options – parkas paired with wide-leg, all-weather pants; or biker pants with leggings and a puffer whose sleeves ended at the elbow.
There were techy leggings, hiking sneakers, slightly volumed puffers, flight jackets, or great snug puffers for gals. All are made in Nobis' remarkable technical fabrics that are the most waterproof available today.
"It's an ode to the 80s and the optimistic style and colors of that era," explained designer Michael Kerr, standing before an abstract mountain print fleece and matching cargo pants.
On another floor, Terry Singh presented his latest interpretation of the maverick Mughal mode.
Singh blends Indian fabrics and silhouettes with British-style tailoring. Call it Raj and roll. This season featured revamped Eisenhower jackets shorn of their belt and worn over long pleated kilts.
In his presentation, Singh cast lots of fathers and sons and even a mum – most memorably, a dad and kid in matching Prince of Wales gray check wool perfectly cut into little boy jackets and pleated skirts.
The designer widened his repertoire with a superb black leather biker jacket with pearly studded collar and several mesh jackets in beautifully woven wool patterns that echoed Indian block prints.
Not that many men will still wear kilts and skirts. More should, and if they do, Singh has the best in menswear.
Third-time presenter Nicholas Raefski showed his eclectic, custom-print, and embellished rich collection in vignettes set on a backdrop of images that inspired the prints. The collection was the jumping-off point for a concept Raefski calls "The Hero's Journey." His fall/winter 2023 collection was the journey's first step, which embraces the endeavor and pending adventure.
"We looked to history's greatest heroes and want to tell a story of breaking out of the
'standard mold' and attempting to do something great. This collection is a fun, almost whimsical interpretation of inspirational people," he said.
Raefski's journey could be classified as non-traditional. After graduating from Fordham University, where he didn't study design, he says he fell into design after a rough period.
"I was like, 'this is my passion, so I am gonna jump in and see what I can do it'," he told FashionNetwork.com as his presentation concluded. It's yielded a distinct POV for the designer.
"I don't limit what the line can be or be stuck that it has to be this or that.
For example, the color palette for instance in this collection. Piece by piece, it wouldn't look cohesive, and I am ok with that. I lean into that. It's a story," he said.
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