When we first covered Eastlogue back in March of last year, we assumed that they were just a fluke – the rare Korean brand that was exceptional enough to make a splash here in the states.
Boy, were we wrong.
If there was one major takeaway from the trade shows this season, it was that the Koreans are ready for primetime. There were enough Korean brands showing this year that it was hard to even keep them straight. Most of them were good, a few were bad, but only two were truly great. One was the aforementioned Eastlogue, (glad to see they weren’t a one-hit-wonder) and the other was Bastong, a four year old brand that has shown in America before, but made the biggest splash this time around.
Bastong bills themselves as a “nonseasonal” brand, meaning they focus primarily on seven jacket styles which they offer year round and tweak slightly year to year. The best way to look at this offering is an outerwear starter kit. Moto jackets, parkas, a peacoat, an anorak or two. They might be checking all the right boxes, but don’t think that Bastong is just phoning it in. This is the creme de la creme of classic outerwear. Their details, all of which have clearly been calculated to near-perfection are what drew us into their booth, and kept us there for a solid ten minutes, grabbing each button, stitch, seam, and buckle.
British Millerain fabrics, leather backed Japanese buttons, YKK zippers, dense diamond quilts, hearty American wools, racoon fur hoods, raglan sleeves, titled hand-warmer pockets, and on and on.
This year, the brand did switch things up a bit by creating e a supplementary collection of non-outerwear pieces such as vests and shirts to complement the core seven designs. These made for a nice opening act, but truthfully Bastong’s outerwear is so exceptional that it will always take center stage. You just can’t beat the hits.