I find the majority of menswear a little bland. In the UK, the menswear scene is practically dominated by the highstreet. We talk about our love of independent stores, our keen interest in Japanese brands, and our desire to buy real denim from real denim brands, but when it comes down to it, most of our hard-earned money goes on disposable fashion. The Arcadia Group, owners of UK brands such as Topman and Burton, made a total sales of £2,069.3m from 2014-2015. That’s around 80 million button-down white Oxford shirts. That is a LOT of bland – I have three…
Now I’m not trying to say the highstreet is a bad thing. I strongly commend what brands such as Topman or Urban Outfitters have done for the menswear scene, as they have helped it grow and grow, inciting a bit of curiosity within men about what they’re wearing and why they’re wearing it. They have a role in the food chain, and that is to pull the trends from wherever they may exist, and make it easily accessible for the average guy who wants something to go well with his Oxford shirt. What I don’t think we should be doing however, is filling our wardrobes with this fast, disposable fashion, because not only is it a waste of money because realistically things should be worn more than three times, but it’s also incredibly shitty for the environment (of which I’ll go into much more detail in the future). Use it to supplement whatever you own, but don’t buy a printed shirt for one night only like it’s a damn fancy dress costume.
The above was written not long after I’ve gone through dozens of black bin bags stuffed with clothing. I’ve got pieces I’ve never worn, clothes with the price tags still on, pieces I was looking for 2 years earlier stuffed inside another piece. Now, I’m much more conservative with my spending. I save up for big pieces, and enjoy wearing them much more because I value where it’s come from and its little quirks that make it stand out. Filippa K recently sent me one of their #FilippaKEssentials Isai Trench Coats. I’ve been quite a fan of the brand for some time, as I truly believe they embody a sense of cool, calm sophistication. It’s very much what you’d expect from a Scandinavian brand – minimal, interesting shapes and very subtle but standout. One thing I’ve noticed on their website is their “Who Made It?” tab under each product page. Information transparency is a vital point of interest for the modern day consumer, and such small details can go quite a long way. This trench coat, made in Lithuania, is a good example of smart purchases we can be making, as its sheer simplicity but hidden versatility is that what makes a product worth investing in.
I have always preached smart purchases but I do mean it. While we cannot predict what we might like in the one or two years that follow, we can at least be a little more savvy about if our money goes in the bin, or into a future antique.