On the left side of the Battenwear showroom hangs a vintage elementary school map of the United States, with each adjoining state painted in a different shade. You might recall a hanging such as this from your childhood days behind the desk, but in Battenwear’s showroom the map appears less like an educational artifact and more like a representative collage of America’s distinct yet interconnected territories. I tend to think of Battenwear in similar terms, as a brand that revels in the open flow of American style while celebrating regional quirks.
For Spring/Summer ‘15, Battenwear’s founder/designer Shinya Hasegawa has steered his brand toward the warm colors and blossoming patterns that one would expect for the warmer months, but the offering is hardly stuck in the Aloha isles. There’s a slightly cropped double zip-up (side-note, I wish more designers would embrace the function of that some would call a coaches jacket, but that I would deem to be a fishing vest with sleeves. The multi-pocketed front and hidden back compartment instantly made me think of the Northwest, even when it was done up in a floral bold enough to make Magnum P.I. blush. Hanging next to this jacket was an indigo blue ikat pullover that would’ve sat comfortably in Jeff Spicoli’s closet and instantly transported me to the American southwest.
From there, the collection brought me out to the Adirondacks with a pair of built-in-belt climbing shorts that had to break some sort of world record for “number of pockets on a single pair of shorts.” I could’ve then jogged down the coast in one of the packable nylon windbreakers which at just 1.1 ounces makes for the perfect spring track jacket. Finally, it was back to the shore with a collection of terry cloth polos and cut and sew t-shirts that depicted surfboard-totting urbanites on their way to the beach. I was told that these graphics, which were drawn by Peruvian surfer Mario Pinheiro were meant to show New York from an outsider’s point of view, but if you ask me, one shirt certainly looked just like Shinya and his wife Carrie on their way out to the Rockaways. The collection was pulled from all over the map, but the best fact of all was that almost the entire offering was produced just a few blocks from where I stood in New York’s Garment district. If you ask me, Battenwear has a new slogan on their hands: think global, but act local.