There’s never been a better time to be a male shopper in New York, says WGSN Senior Menswear Editor Jian DeLeon
As the rules of what menswear is become murkier than ever, and guys on the street are wearing everything from oversized bomber jackets to drapey drop crotch pants, to tailored topcoats with slim sweats, it can seem like no one knows exactly what’s going on—or that everything is actually happening all at once. I’m for the latter. Variety is the spice of life, after all, and in a digital culture where we’re inundated with breaking news, hilarious memes, and new brands every day, picking and choosing has become the new luxury.
That’s definitely true of New York’s bustling menswear scene. As men look to clothing as a way to express themselves, there’s far more value in mixing and matching standout pieces from different brands than dressing head-to-toe in one label. Cult menswear brands like Engineered Garments and Boris Bidjan Saberi are easily paired with sought-after pieces from Supreme and new retail transplants like Concepts, a winning sneaker, streetwear, and fashion store that originally hails from Boston. It speaks to the current menswear climate—you’re able to buy Neighborhood incense chambers, affordable hoodies from Concepts’ eponymous in-house line, a fresh pair of limited-edition collaborative New Balance sneakers, and pricey Visvim denim shirts all under one roof.
So when I was tasked with picking five of the best New York menswear brands worth keeping an eye on, I considered this growing synergy between lifestyle, clothes, and how editing an outfit can be as mind-numbing as deciding which buzzy restaurant to eat at. Brands in a way have become the new “it” thing. Whether it’s a food cart or promising young music group, men now pride themselves in being the early adopter of a clothing label before it makes it big. That’s part of the reason of the success behind Kinfolk—no, not the magazine—the Brooklyn-based label that also functions as a café, bustling nightclub, and clothing brand that makes everything from luxurious souvenir jackets to wearable caps and hoodies.
Welcome to the wild world of modern menswear, where ergonomically constructed suiting shares shelf space with cropped casual pants made from high-end Loro Piana fabric. When it comes to New York, several young designers are channeling the city’s gritty roots and world-class manufacturing capabilities in very interesting ways. It’s a frontier where the future belongs to both the innovators and the masters of branding—the kind of label that’s more interested in making sure the people who wear it truly “get it” more than well, making itself super easy for people to get.
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