Herno’s moment in the sun has been a long time coming. Founded in 1948, Herno has been creating some the world’s finest outerwear for over half a century, and yet the brand has remained in relative obscurity until fairly recently. In fact many of you might have even owned an Herno jacket over the years without ever even knowing it. This is all because historically Herno’s main business has been as a private label producer for renowned brands across the world, including the likes of Ralph Lauren, Jil Sander, Armani, Prada, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton.
The debut of Patagonia’s Legacy collection last year was not merely a triumph for the Ventura, California based brand, it was definitive proof that the so-called heritage movement isn’t going anywhere. To be fair this is not the work wear centric heritage campaign of the mid aughts, which had men in 2007 dressing like coalminers from 1907, rather this current wave is far less stoic, drawing inspiration from the cheeky outdoor labels of the seventies and eighties. While we’re happy to report that neon headbands and technicolor leggings are still a thing of the past (for now), this movement has sparked a major comeback for one of the greatest “technical” fabrics of all time – fleece.
Developed by Malden Mills (which has now been succeeded by the more marketable Polartec) fleece is warm, waterproof, and clocks in weighing less than terrycloth making it about as cutting edge as it gets for the late seventies. In 1981, thanks to a serendipitous partnership with Yvon Chouinard, the owner of a blossoming mountaineering brand by the name of Patagonia (who is a client of Paul + Williams), Malden Mills creation made it’s way into the outdoor world. Over the next few years fleece trickled down to every mall brand in America and before you knew it, that mystique of innovation had worn off. What was once advertised as an advanced fabric for the ages was now more run of the mill than merino and fleece was delegated to the discount bin.
While menswear’s general purview has been affixed squarely on the big five – the U.S., England, Italy, France, and Japan for the past, oh let’s say forever, several worthwhile brands have emerged out of those countries that often go overlooked. Spain has given us sportswear label Man 1924, tailor P. Johnson has materialized out of Australia, and of course there’s a whole slew of casual Canadian labels out there including Reigning Champ, Wings + Horns, and Klaxon Howl.
And then there’s Korea, which has recently surfaced as an unlikely breeding ground for young designers, including Eastlogue, a three year old brand based out of Seoul. Eastlogue was the one unknown (at least to me) brand that really stood out to me during New York’s market week this year. The entire line is produced in Korea, but the clothes reflect a more Anglo-American sensibility, which is a clear reflection of designer Lee Dongki’s interest in vintage garments. The casual sport coats are an interesting hybrid of Army field jackets, and the sort of suits you would have seen in American cities during the 1930’s. The parkas are big, burly, and heavily detailed, with massive bellowed pockets and fur hoods, like they were ripped right from Sir Edmund Hillary’s closet. The shirts and trousers also reflect Dongki’s fastidious eye, with tabbed collars, front pockets, and bold checks.
There is nothing offensive about a pair of Clarks. Desert Boots, Mountain Treks, and Wallabees, these are the simple suede chukkas that your mother probably bought you for your first day of elementary school, and what could be offensive about that?
And yet, in Jamaica, the one word most associated with Clarks is “rude.” As in rude boys, the rebellious subculture that emerged amongst Jamaica’s lower class during the 1960’s. Driven by a reggae backbeat, Jamaica’s disenfranchised youths became enamored with the skinny suits, raucous music, and devil-may-care demeanor that defined England’s counterculture movement. The interplay between youth cultures in Jamaica and England was a mutually beneficial relationship that ultimately gave Rude Boys a chance to separate themselves from slum-life in a way that simultaneously audacious and aspirational.
If you ask me, this would be my take on Normcore. If you haven’t heard of Normcore (it’s a supposed trend where people wear 1990s basic clothes to attempt to appear plain or normal — at a time when so many are attempting to set themselves apart as individuals). It’s conformity packaged as non-conformity wrapped up in bike shorts and goofy relics from Seinfeld. While all that seems interesting for a minute, I’m slightly more interested in looking good for the longer terms. At the heart of my approach to long lasting stylishness is the concept of buying (and wearing) clothes with no obsolesce. The only exception in this rig here is potentially that Leica, since it is digital. This look is more about the virtues of long lasting icons and the simplicity of having a “uniform.” I don’t need a trend or a desire to be noticed to dictate how I dress myself. I dress more for the the idea that I want to be able to look back at my style thirty years from now and be as relevant then as I would be now. That’s it, pure and simple.
Some would look at this and think it is beyond “basic” to the point of being boring, to me it hits just the right note. All of these items individually look inconspicuous, but each is a wonderful example of the power which sits at the intersection of understated and refined. This look reminds me of something my friend Arnaud in Paris would wear. It wouldn’t be these pieces exactly, but this vibe for sure. Every time I see him he’s wearing a basic white shirt, clean classic sneakers and other simple items that round it all out. Sometimes the sneakers are swapped out for dress shoes, occasionally there’s a cashmere sweater in the mix and other times he’s wearing a simple pair of raw denim jeans. This look may seem haphazard, but it’s choreographed perfectly and expertly selected. And just like Normcore, dressing like this is all about hiding in plain sight.
More item specifics after the jump.
- A peek inside Nick Wooster’s handsome Greenwich Village apartment. [Scene Magazine]
- Grail burger: An oral history of the In-N-Out chain. [Gear Patrol] [Pictured]
- French military rations come in the form of four course gourmet meals. [Wall Street Journal]
- Big Hug Mug sales are burning up eBay. [Grub Street]
- In a digital world, physical retail matters more than ever. [Business of Fashion]
If you’ve never heard of Ring Jacket before we can’t blame you (although if you were paying attention to our post on The Armoury, you would’ve spotted their name.) While Ring Jacket was founded in 1954, the Japanese brand only officially arrived in the U.S. recently, as the aforementioned New York location of The Armoury began to offer a refined assortment of sport coats, knits, and overcoats from RJ’s astonishingly deep collections. Ring Jacket is best described as a proficient amalgam of Italian tailoring, American sportswear, and Japanese panache. Their wares range from bold soft shouldered sport coats, to inventive knit blousons, to slim pinstriped suits, pulling dribs and drabs of influence from the world over to create a cohesive range of formal and casual pieces.