Since the beginning, Batten Sportswear has been a collection I have really bought into. Shinya Hasegawa, the man behind the clothes, has always inspired me with his dedication and commitment to go off on his own and put a stake in the ground. I’ve seen Batten grow from a one man operation with zero stores and the tiniest of offices on 37th Street to a slightly less tiny office with a production person, a showroom and dozens of stores in the matter of a few seasons. It’s been cool to see Batten develop and grow, it is especially great because every season I am impressed with the product. I like the fact that Batten refines and tweaks stuff I already love like 60/40 jackets, bags and anoraks. It isn’t trying to reinvent anything per se, Batten makes good things better by tweaking the fits and adding in little details that make the clothes special.
The SS13 collection (which lands in stores this coming January) features many of the same shapes that made Batten popular, but changes things up with different fabrics and patterns. The cotton anorak is a good example of this. The backpacks and custom NY-centric printed goods are also nice additions. The 60/40 parkas continue to be center of attention.
The collection draws inspiration from East Coast surfing –a sport that is fawned over much more than actually practiced –something that gives the line a good angle, but doesn’t take things too far. To me, playing up East Coast surfing is like boasting about being the best sailor on Lake Erie, don’t expect to get much attention from the ladies at a cocktail party. Luckily Shinya treads fairly lightly and draws a good balance between the Rockaways and his love of vintage and Western wear. These are themes that seem to be polar opposites, but they happen to live together well within Batten. Obviously these collection concepts play well to the Japanese market, which Batten has done a good job of capitalizing on. Frankly, it makes life easier for people like me (and maybe you) who typically have to go to Japan to get the good stuff like this. [BATTEN SPORTSWEAR]