Johnathan Crocker is on a mission to overhaul the perception of BLDWN — formerly Baldwin — as a strictly denim label. First up, change the logo to signify a new direction. Second, home in on key tenets to position itself as a full-fledged American brand. That meant modernizing classics in an approachable yet innovative way, and supporting American artists and designers in all aspects of business.
For example, the brand’s first presentation under Crocker’s purview was held at Egg Collective, a showroom space owned by three female American designers who made all the furniture; candles the brand plans on selling were crafted by a ceramicist in Los Angeles.
The fashion quotient was wide-ranging, showcasing Crocker’s vision of more than jeans. For a brand founded on denim, it was a refreshing surprise to see a fully constructed PVC trenchcoat atop an apron dress that could be unbuttoned up the thigh as an opening statement. That was the most daring option, and Crocker plans on making only 70 of those coats to gauge market response.
Elsewhere, he focused on the polished side on reinvention. A tailored trenchcoat featured a box pleat down the sleeve; the same fabric was cut into a jumpsuit with playful poplin cuff and collar trims, and he toyed with varsity sporting references like colorblocking in patriotic colors that were both playful and casual. Naturally, denim offerings were great and showed an elevated hand. Standouts included a sleek jacket with subtle flared sleeves and a vintage-style jacket cut boxy with cap sleeves.
The men’s wear, which has been a hallmark of the brand since the beginning, was also given a more elevated turn as it was expanded beyond denim to become a “proper ready-to-wear brand.” That translated into a canvas shop jacket with a suede collar, striped or solid camp shirts in a linen-cotton blend with 2.5-inch collars and cuffs, and cotton twill pants with a touch of stretch that looked like a dress trouser but had an elastic waist.
Crocker also embraced linen and linen blends in other pieces, such as striped sweaters and washed T-shirts that provided an elevated and mature alternative. There were also a couple of new denim fits, including a tapered slim with a slightly cropped bottom, and a skinny. These complemented the brand’s core offering that ranged from a classic black leather moto jacket and an all-season blazer in a linen blend.
All told, the upgrade serves the brand well, allowing it to embrace its roots but pushing it into new — yet complementary — territory.