New York Men’s Day helped kick off New York Fashion Week by providing a showcase for emerging menswear and gender-fluid brands — and drew a crowd eager to shake hands, hug and air kiss as the pandemic lessens its grip. The event, organized by Agentry PR, brought together an eclectic group of 11 brands that showcased everything from wrap skirts and neon puffer coats to embellished suits and updated sports apparel.
Title sponsor Nobis, the Canadian outerwear label, was the only brand to show at both the morning and afternoon sessions. It was joined by A.Potts, Terry Singh, Amirok, Atelier Cillian, Teddy Vonranson, Todd Patrick, So.ty, Fried Rice, Holo Market and Nicholas Raefski.
In his second collection, Nobis designer Michael Kerr offered up an assortment that looked familiar but also managed to move the brand forward by ticking all of the boxes for today’s consumer. Many of the pieces were genderless, some were sustainable and all were both functional and performance-based. Among the key items was a seamless puffer that was waterproof and breathable as well as a vest with an array of pockets and a hooded bomber in a camo print. Kerr hinted that although the company is focused on outerwear right now, he expects to begin adding complementary shorts and pants in the near future.
For Teddy Vonranson, it was Joshua Tree that inspired his collection, which was recently added to the assortment at Neiman Marcus and other retailers. “I’ve always loved doing a desert collection,” he said. “Much of my time and exploration happened in the early hours, which gave me a different perspective on desert colors and hues as the early morning light cast a ‘coolness’ in undertone to the traditional desert palette. When one looks beyond the pale landscape on rock formations, crushed gravel and sand, one begins to see the pale tones of dried grasses, desert floral and mosses canopied by rich blue skies that hug the mountainscape in deep teals fading into clear and bright blues as they touch the sun.”
That mood defined his collection, which was grounded in gray, ivory, brown and teal that served as a complement to his black and navy classics. He used the palette on a variety of camp shirts, cardigans, tanks and shorts as well as his signature open work polos, some of which were embellished with palm trees or Nordic prints.
Key pieces included an oversize parka in teal silk and linen basket weave, a classic trench in brown linen, workwear-inspired chore coats, tie-dye printed pullover and shorts, a metallic bronze motocross jacket and a striped Baja hoodie. These more casual pieces served to complement the suede suit, deep brown trench and other classic pieces.
A.Potts designer Aaron Potts for his collection titled “Hiding the Horizon” looked to the 2021 documentary film “Summer of Soul” about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival that celebrated Black American music, culture and pride. Potts said he felt the film and event were joyous and liberating and saw the figures in the film, such as Stevie Wonder and Nina Simone, as angels on earth. The designer captured the concepts of angels, wind, air and nature through his signature unisex voluminous ensembles, including his bestselling jumpsuits, and new styles like an A-line silhouette, loose shirts and trenchcoats, and new gendered options made for women all in shades of white, shimmering silver, purple, turquoise and highlighter green.
At Todd Patrick, creative director Desyree Nicole’s influences ranged from ’60s and ’70s style to her grandmother’s living room for the brand’s collection, called “Small Town, Big Dreams.” The Michigan native produced new colors for the brand’s popular leather pants and introduced new styles, like cropped double-breasted jackets and suits; leisure camp collar shirts with either utility pockets or no pockets, in mesh fabric and one with a tank top overlay; flared pants referencing the hippy and disco eras, while net pants, a new style for the brand, elevated classic jeans.
Newcomer So.ty, a Los Angeles-based brand founded by Neil Montgomery earlier this year, tapped former Banana Republic designer Charles Harbison to realize his vision of creating a brand that he hopes will be “meaningful and impactful and make a positive mark on the world.” Harbison’s interpretation of that mission took form through a fuchsia pink bomber jacket and fringed vegan leather basketball shorts while tanks sought to offer a playful and soft update to masculine archetype pieces. Many of the items in the launch collection used deadstock or recycled fabrics and others, such as the split tank and flared trouser in a jersey fabric, were designed to be worn by all genders.
A newcomer to NYMD, Holo Market’s designer Riki Yoshida presented an edited lineup titled “What a Wonderful Day!”, alternating between urban Kyoto on weekdays versus the suburban life on Lake Biwako on weekends. The two contrasting lifestyles of city and nature served as the focal point in which Yoshida incorporated botanical motifs and infused the key color palettes of the great outdoors, creating daily wear for various occasions. The offering included trend-friendly pieces such as retro crochet polos, oversized floral silk shirting, a forest green graphic floral jumpsuit paired with a pastel striped cardigan, and matching floral sets — all meant to be unisex. A highlight of the collection, a multipaneled flared dress utilizing various prints from the collections, melded into one, created in collaboration with Naoki Tomizuka, a former Comme des Garçons design team alum.
Another newcomer to NYMD, designer Terry Singh presented his namesake label with a collection that reflected freeness for men despite societal norms that dictate how a man should dress. Singh set out with his interpretation of the New York suit (sans pants) — an array of structured tailored jackets paired with wraps. The wraps, which mimic skirting, are all one size (with buttons on the inside wrap to adjust for sizing), flowy and pleated with ample spacing to allow for movement. They were presented in an array of textures and colors — paired with button downs and tailored jackets.
“This truly shows what you can achieve with fabrics, as fabrics don’t have a sex,” said Singh at his presentation.
A continuation from his resort 2023 collection, Atelier Cillian’s designer Stephen Mikhail presented a lineup inspired by famed British archaeologist and Egyptologist Howard Carter, who discovered the intact tomb of Tutankhamun in November 1922. “I have been fascinated by Egypt since I was a child” professed the designer at his presentation.
The various iterations of masculinity through the ages were reinterpreted in a classic yet contemporary manner by Mikhail, with looks featuring sleeveless explorer jackets with multiple pockets (all in a crisp white palette), Bedouin draped shirting, a tan tweed suit (a must for each of Mikhail’s collections), and a surprise — tailored suiting in raffia, done in an all black and bright blue version.
The lineup, which mixes textures and shapes, expanded this season with wide-legged trousers as well as drop crotch and carrot fitted trousers, all in a tailored context with a light fluidity.
Nicholas Raefski presented his third and last chapter of an introspection that began two seasons ago. His spring 2022 collection was an acceptance of the man he had become, for fall 2022 he explored false nostalgia and jejunity archetypes and now Raefski has his eyes on an optimistic future, imagined from a still uncertain present.
The retro futuristic lineup included boxy wool trenchcoats, a matching jacket and short set embroidered to mimic a circuit board (worn by American rapper Flavor Flav) and a vegan leather cropped jacket with a cinched waist — a clear reference to Marty McFly from the “Back to the Future” film franchise. Raefski continued to focus on tailoring this season with two new iterations of the classic suit, one all black with appliquéd crystals and a red and gray paneled version (a nod to Captain Picard of “Star Trek”). “I did a suit for the first time last season and wanted to get my foot in the door,” said the designer at his lively futuristic presentation.