NEW YORK — A less than stellar fall season put as much of a damper on retailers’ spirits as the blizzard of 2016.
Thanks to the storm, many out-of-town stores were delayed in their arrival to the men’s market here this week. But considering how closely they were guarding their open-to-buy dollars, the delay didn’t have much of an effect on their outlook.
“The business is challenging,” said Dan Farrington, general merchandise manager for Mitchells Family of Stores. “Overall, it’s below our expectations and the holidays were difficult.”
That being said, Farrington said he was “still keeping an optimistic attitude, but it’s harder to find ways to grow.”
At the shows, Farrington said he and his team were looking for “new, creative brands with great value.” He saw the opportunity to add business in the “middle and lower zones, so we need to keep building on that.”
As a result, he was shopping for active-inspired knitwear and well as sport coats.
Craig DeLongy of John Craig in Florida was lucky enough to have arrived in New York before the storm and worked the showroom circuit over the weekend. “I hit every appointment on time,” he said.
Although overall business is strong in his eight stores, “we were not immune to the lack of cold weather which crippled sweater and sport coat sales,” he said. “But our zip codes are where people want to live and visit, so we’re doing well.”
Even so, he said he was “approaching fall with caution in capital letters.”
He said color is what drives sales at his stores and gives people a reason to buy, so he was looking for pops of color in woven tops and sport coats — “things to keep us from a drab winter.”
David Rubenstein of Rubensteins in New Orleans said, “We made our numbers” for fall and holiday “and we didn’t give anything away. But January has been a bit of a struggle.” Sportswear has been a strong performer at his stores. Jackets and sweaters were slow as were suits, but sport coats were OK and pants were making inroads on jeans.
At the shows, he liked the “new stripes” in shirts as well as some “items,” such as bags. But in general, he said he wasn’t ready to write big orders and would play it by ear. “It’ll be a phone call fall,” he said.
Here are some highlights from the shows:
Inspiration: The brand was founded in Italy in 1966 by Carlo Valenti, who learned the art of belt making at a leather factory in Parma, Italy, as a youngster. He came up with the name of the business because of his fondness for English tailoring, notably Anderson & Sheppard. The company is still family-owned and its belts are still made in Italy. Anderson’s has since expanded into other categories including bracelets and bags.
Key Styles: The bag collection mimics the belts with its woven viscose and nylon construction and each one takes 60 hours to make, according to Nick Weinberg of The Finchley Group, the brand’s U.S. agent. There are backpacks, briefcases, totes, messengers, duffels and weekenders in both classic and bright color combinations.
Prices: Belts are $150 for leather to $865 for crocodile. Bags are $750 to $1,300.
Brand: Scotch & Soda
Designer: Marlou van Engelen, creative director
Inspiration: The Amsterdam-based brand is focused on casual sportswear pieces such as colorful patterned chinos and washed cotton shirts. It is known for its fit, detailing and lively prints and patterns.
Key Styles: For fall, the collection is broken down into four parts: Nordic Spirit, which reinvents blanket and Fair Isle prints with blasts of bright colors; Clubhouse Royals, which is inspired by the Scottish Highlands with its tartans and tweeds in reinvented classic shapes; Nomadic Ramblers, which encompasses the brand’s technical outerwear offerings, and Silk Soiree, an assortment of colorful prints, appliqués on coats and deconstructed velvet suits.
Prices: Outerwear ranges from $195 to $495. Blazers are $275 to $395, shirts are $98 to $200, sweaters are $90 to $250, and pants are $100 to $200.
Designer: Jazmin Kim
Inspiration: Kim, who previously held design posts at Citizens of Humanity and AG Jeans, and Jennifer Liss, who spent seven years on the sales side at Citizens of Humanity, wanted to explore the beauty of the five-pocket jean, hence the name S.M.N., which stands for simple, modern and nonpareil. The L.A.-based brand is attempting to enter the contemporary market with this collection, which will launch exclusively at Ron Herman this April.
Key Styles: The collection consists of three silhouettes (tapered slim, standard slim and slim straight) that are 98 percent cotton and 2 percent stretch. The line also includes a capsule collection made from Japanese selvage denim and two different denim jackets. Liss said that, unlike its competitors, S.M.N. is working with a heavier 11- and 12-ounce denim.
Prices: Jeans range from $184 to $262, knits range from $62 to $130, denim jackets range from $390 to $598 and the Japanese capsule collection ranges from $350 to $550.
Brand: Christopher Fischer
Designer: Christopher R. Fischer
Inspiration: After taking a short hiatus from designing men’s to focus on his women’s line, Christopher Fischer is making his way back to the category. For this collection Fischer drew from his Scottish background and produced sweaters with texture modeled after Donegal tweeds. He also looked to laser-cut garments when creating seams and producing different stitch techniques.
Key Styles: Fischer has introduced cashmere lounge pants with zip pockets, sweater jackets, double face, two-tone cashmere sweaters and a line of limited-edition, hand-loomed knits.
Prices: The mainline collection is priced from $200 to $500 and the limited-edition line will retail from $1,000 to $2,000.
Brand: Descente Allterrain
Designer: Mitsuru Tamada
Inspiration: The Descente line got its start as a skiwear company in 1935 and the Allterrain fashion-skewed part of the collection made its debut in 2013 in Japan. The term Allterrain refers to the garments’ ability to perform in a variety of conditions and situations and its mantra is “form follows function,” which means it puts design ahead of functionality. This season marks its official launch in North America.
Key Styles: The Mizusawa Down Jacket is completely waterproof and looks similar to a quilted jacket, but is actually heat-welded, seam-taped and not quilted, meaning there are no seams that can leak. But the shape is similar to a traditional model and there is a minimum of decoration. In addition to the black and navy, the jacket is available in one pop color each season — in this case, bright yellow.
Prices: The Mizusawa jacket retails for $1,200.
Brand: Project A
Inspiration: An elevated, limited-edition collection offered by the team at Zanerobe, Project A is a luxury streetwear line. It produces only two collections a year of elongated, tapered and clean garments crafted from Italian, Japanese and Korean fabrics. Most pieces are produced in limited runs of 30 or 60 items. The design team starts by choosing the body and construction and then finds the right fabric to tell the story. Extended hems encourage layering.
Key Styles: T-shirts are created from double 60s untreated cotton for a nearly raw appearance, some have scalloped hems designed to peek out of the bottom of more traditional models and encourage layering. One seasonal print each season — for fall, it’s an exploded granite digital print — inject interest into the otherwise muted palette. Woven shirts are super clean, bomber jackets have invisible zippers and internal quilting, Australian merino wool is used for lightweight knitwear and there’s also a suit designed for traveling that won’t wrinkle and offers stretch.
Prices: T-shirts are $80, bottoms are $220, jackets are $350 and a merino wool overcoat is $800.
Brand: Still by Hand
Designer: Yusuke Yanagi
Inspiration: This 15-year-old line, which is based in Tokyo, is known for its craftsmanship. Yanagi likes to perfect classic pieces and combine traditional fabrics such as wool and cotton with synthetic, performance materials. The line is currently carried in Need Supply, Voyager and Hammer + Awl.
Key Styles: Highlights from the fall 2016 assortment include quilted trousers and vests, denim jackets, hooded wool coats with hand-warming pockets and patterned knits.
Prices: Shirts retail for $180, jackets are priced around $300, knits retail around $160, and T-shirts are priced around $80.
Designer: Lauren Richards and Mark Ignaczak
Inspiration: The duo creates cuffs, rings, earrings and necklaces for its three-year-old line, which draws heavily from Morocco, out of a Brooklyn studio. The line is sold at retailers including Robert James and Palmer Trading Company.
Key Styles: Richards and Ignaczak wanted to produce pieces that feature subtle interactions with leather and metals. Cuffs are covered with leather cords or weaved within the metal and ear cuffs are embellished with small metal rings. A sterling silver ring modeled after a Moroccan piece of jewelry displays symbols from the Berber language.
Prices: Cuffs range from $180 to $500, rings range from $225 to $310, earrings range from $155 to $225 and necklaces are priced from $230 to $250.
Brand: Article No.
Designer: Ant de Padovane and Josh Willis
Inspiration: The team behind this sneaker brand has deep roots in the footwear industry. Article No.’s president, Michael Jonte, formerly served as the vice president of footwear at Vans, while Willis was the creative director at Creative Recreation. The Los Angeles-based line, which is in its third season, has caught the attention of Barneys New York, Harvey Nichols and Kith with its sneakers that feature distinctive proportions.
Key Styles: The sneakers are made from luxury materials and animal skins and some include a Neoprene sock liner. Style number 0925, a new silhouette, is a classic low-top sneaker with an exaggerated outsole depth and an elongated tongue. The brand has also launched women’s for fall.
Prices: Shoes retail from $140 to $295.
Designer: Nicholas Elliott
Inspiration: Elliott, who comes from Scotland, studied at the London College of Fashion before working in New York City as a photographer and starting his collection. Elliott said his line, which is in its second season, references space, Stanley Kubrick and the work of architect Oscar Niemeyer. “I like to be crazy but practicality is important to me,” Elliott said.
Key Styles: The collection features traces of punk with oversize, wide-leg trousers, latex skinny pants and a collared, faux fur coat. Other pieces include a zip-up denim jacket, a quilted top with cap sleeves and an uneven hem, and a sleeveless, ankle-grazing coat.
Prices: The collection retails from $200 for tops and shirts to $1,000 for outerwear.
Brand: Wood Wood
Designer: Karl-Oskar Olsen and Brian SS Jensen
Inspiration: The contemporary brand was founded in 2002 in Copenhagen and blends fashion, sports and streetwear with youth culture, art and music. It operates five stores in Europe and has lined up more than 50 collaborations with brands including Nike, Barbour and Adidas.
Key Styles: The fall collection offers hybrid versions of classic models with contemporary detailing in everything from suits, cropped corduroy pants and leather flight jackets to short-sleeved shirts. There is both a Street Basic and Contemporary Fashion segment.
Prices: A sweatshirt is $170, caps are $55, a bomber is $340 and T-shirts are $75.
Designer: Scott Nelson, apparel designer
Inspiration: The brand started three years ago with a core of athletic footwear and provides Jamal Crawford of the L.A. Clippers and NFL Pro-Bowler Desean Jackson with shoes. Blackbrand’s apparel offering blends the latest performance technology with fashion silhouettes.
Key Styles: A ripstop nylon running jacket with a mesh lining is completely waterproof. Running shorts are available in tri-tone shades with reflective details and interior compression shorts. Moisture wicking compression tights have hidden rear pockets to fit a cell phone. Some of the more fashion-forward silhouettes include hooded jackets with a fishtail bottom and a French terry sweat with a drop crotch.
Prices: $80 to $280.
Designer: Ian Bergin
Inspiration: The English luxury brand is celebrating its 120th anniversary this year and is famous for its classic countryside-inspired outerwear and sportswear, including heritage wovens. It is probably best known for its waxed cotton jackets, designed to protect the wearer from the misty English weather.
Key Styles: Although the brand is over a century old, it is offering collections designed to appeal to a younger customer, notably its Ancient Tartan and Night Watch lines. Marked by a slimmer fit and more on-trend styling, the pieces offer reimagined classics in technical fabrics with utilitarian details in coats, shirts and knitwear. There are even spots of color, including bright yellows and greens.
Prices: Mid-layers are $125 to $225 and outerwear is $375 to $575.
Brand: Sage De Crêt
Designer: Kimitoshi Chida
Inspiration: The line was launched by Chida in 2001 in Tokyo, and its name means “sensible” and “order” in French. That translates into a collection with refined ease and a relaxed fit replete with military and workwear influences. Fabrics are garment dyed and washed to achieve a relaxed feeling and there is a lot of patchwork on shirts and jackets.
Key Styles: A traditional blazer is offered in a camo print and a pinstriped blazer and a coat is in a wool/cashmere blend. There is a trenchcoat with a rabbit lining and collar and woven shirts have contrast cuffs and pockets.
Prices: Shirts are $300, pants are $350, jackets are $800 to $1,000 and the fur-lined trench is $2,500.
Inspiration: The family-owned Danish brand was founded in 2009 by Catherine Lundgren-Andersen, product director, and Peter Kjaer-Andersen, art director, who were on a quest to create the perfect sailor sweater.
Key Styles: The sweaters are all knit in Italy from 100 percent merino wool. They’re offered in a variety of patterns, colors and styles including turtlenecks, crewnecks, and half and full zips. This season, stripes are also key, and most of the models are symmetrical so there’s no front or back.
Prices: $179 to $434.
Brand: You As
Designer: Tony Liu
Design/inspiration: Liu, who studied fine art at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, started working on his line a year ago. The first collection, which was inspired by men’s wear of the Fifties and Sixties, consists of wardrobe essentials that Liu said can still “stand on their own.”
Key styles: Liu has riffed on classic styles and homed in on their details. He designed a minimal version of a goatskin perfecto jacket and embellished cotton shirts with either satin piping or collar snaps. Wool-blend trousers are updated with elasticized waists and knits are made from space dyed yarn.
Prices: Outerwear ranges from $675 to $1,275, shirts retail from $195 to $225, knits retail from $150 to $295 and pants are priced around $240.
Designer: Jey Perie and Salah Mason
Inspiration: The brand, which launched in 2008 as a bicycle shop in Tokyo, introduced its first in-house, men’s apparel line last season. This season Perie said they looked to their usual points of reference: Japan, New York City and the Pacific Northwest, along with the Seventies.
Key Styles: Kinfolk partnered with outerwear brand Cockpit on a shearling coat, which comes in a new, more streamlined silhouette, and produced fleece shirts, mock-neck sweaters and a pinstriped bomber jacket decorated with a rabbit wearing sunglasses and smoking a cigarette. “It looks like he’s enjoying his life,” Perie said. The assortment also includes a series of T-shirts covered in various Kinfolk logos and Seventies-inspired graphics.
Prices: The line starts at $40 for graphic T-shirts and goes up to $1,800 for outerwear.