Menswear kicked off New York Fashion Week on Friday, shining the spotlight on several up-and-coming designers — and one well-known brand making a dramatic comeback — who showcased their fall collections at New York Men’s Day. The Agentry PR-created event brought together nine designers at Canoe Studios in the Starrett-Lehigh building and included returnees – Apotts, Teddy Vonranson, Stan and William Frederick – as well as newcomers Academy New York, Atelier Cillian, Clara Son and Nicholas Raefsky.
Today’s sponsor was Perry Ellis, who relaunched the Perry Ellis America label with a new designer, Thomas Harvey, and a laid-back attitude. But this attitude contrasted with the dressier aesthetic of other brands, which returned to elegance with a greater emphasis on tailoring.
Here are some of the stars:
Perry Ellis America
Harvey embraced the brand’s heritage with a fall collection that offered updates to many of its key fashion statements, including traditional tweeds reinvented into puffy coats or varsity jackets and graphic sweaters that recalled the hand-knit pieces created by the original designer.
“We’ve really taken it to the next level,” Harvey said. “But that’s no exaggeration. It’s just a great product that anyone can wear.
This sensibility shone through in cotton or flannel rugbys, sherpa hoodies and jackets, M65 nylon motorcycle jackets and winter white corduroy pants with a matching varsity-style jacket which, according to Harvey , had “a classic touch”.
Under Harvey’s direction, the collection, designed to complement the brand’s dressier Perry Ellis collection, offers the consumer a new choice for their young and preppy wardrobe.
William McNicol embraced his Midwestern roots for his fall William Frederick collection.
From design inspiration to model selection – all friends from his hometown of Cleveland – McNichol said he decided to “create pieces that I wanted to wear rather than having to tell a story” .
That being said, McNichol still had a message to send: “I wanted to focus on wearables,” he said, many of which referenced the city’s rich manufacturing history. He succeeded, as evidenced by the Melton wool overcoat, the plaid jacket made from unsold fabrics and the white Melton jacket with black collar and details.
“That’s my take on the aspirational Cleveland,” he said.
This season, Detroit-born designer Aaron Potts took a journey through the color black, which was his primary focus. Its fall collection, titled “SKINFOLK: Skin Tones, Sculptural Shapes, and Dark Romanticism,” is the brand’s biggest offering yet with 27 looks designed for many body types.
He updated his signature styles with wool, patent leather and parachute fabrics on dresses, oversized pants, sleeveless shirts and a long belted coat. He didn’t completely shy away from color – a few looks included a rust orange sweater and long pants with contrasting fabrics on the body and sleeve and on the front and back legs and light pink on the dropped shoulders, jackets with three buttons and a combination. Potts combined the two color worlds on a long-sleeved cutout dress with geometric patterns and a color-block coat.
Potts carved out her own path with her genderless offering consisting of pumped up silhouettes such as wide leg bottoms and long skirts, opting for comfort and comfort. This season showcases a new level of sophistication for Potts that’s a testament to the label’s growth since its first show at NYMD in 2020.
Tristan Detwiler got a lot of publicity — not always good — last year when he offered unique menswear pieces created from antique quilts that were eerily reminiscent of Bode. But this collection, which the surfer and former model says is a must-see-buy-now line for Spring 22, has moved away from quilts to embrace other vintage fabrics.
“I feel like I lost my identity and I felt the need to evolve,” Detwiler said. This development led him to look to his family for the collection, which he called “The Rugged Gentleman”. He was inspired by his grandfather who was “a 50s man,” who always wore a suit and raised his hat to strangers, Detwiler said.
This inspiration resulted in a sports jacket made from an early 20th–century Tulu carpet; a blazer created from an embroidered and decorative Kyrgyz textile; 1870s Navajo blankets from which he created a bomber jacket and an 18th–tablecloth of century Irish lace which he used to make a double-breasted blazer.
Detwiler said he was able to expand his collection commercially this year as he now uses unused fabrics and works with textile curators to increase fabric availability.
The Teddy von Ranson man continues to evolve and now the brand’s DNA is clearly evident – a perfect clash of east and west coast and everything in between. For fall, von Ranson paid homage to the retro ski and snowboard culture, infused with a touch of hardcore winter surfing that caught on in the 90s.
“For me, it’s about interesting colors and an artistic approach to prints, and then playing with fluidity and volume,” von Ranson said.
A fluid fit in deep jewel tones, a dramatic floor-length felt coat in a gradient sunset print, multi-colored ikat patterns and “painted prints” bring texture, especially on the “palm Nordic” ski sweater “(palm trees included), a riff from a winter beach.
Von Ranson’s approach to modern tailoring, a refined outerwear offering and masterful artisanal knitwear create an ideal wardrobe for the quietly cool American man.
New to NYMD, designer Stephen Mikhail launched his inaugural fall collection with a range inspired by the 18th century Hellfire Clubupdating with modern fabrics the styles of bespoke attire worn by MPs participating in the club. Prior to launch, Mikhail nurtured relationships with celebrity stylists and VIP clients, creating custom pieces for Steve Aoki and Machine Gun Kelly.
“I’m a showman and I like to immerse people in a universe. I don’t just design clothes, I create an atmosphere that people can immerse themselves in. It’s important to me, I want people to dream and get excited about fashion again,” Mikhail said during his presentation.
From sturdy tailoring to delicate draping, Mikhail injected a dark twist into traditional sharp suits, with highlights including a textured style in black and red brocade, a red tweed overcoat paired with a soft draped turtleneck and a suit in all black tweed..
The designer is completely self-taught and learned his trade during internships at houses such as Catherine Malandrino, DVF and Alexander McQueen (during Lee’s tenure). His strong tailoring and flair for drama is exactly what NYFW lacked.
Swaim Hutson, who made his mark at his former label, Obedient Sons & Daughters, founded The Academy in 2013 as an Instagram feed that served as a moodboard made up of images that resonated with the communities of fashion, art , design and music. Hutson launched her first apparel and accessories under The Academy in 2015 and launched her first women’s collection in 2019.
Hutson unveiled its first men’s collection this season after launching women’s collections derived from men’s silhouettes. The designer said he preferred to design for all genders and size his offering accordingly.
Suit jackets made from London’s Moon fabrics feature vertical stripes in contrasting patterns and words like “Angel” and “01” on the back are reminiscent of sports uniforms and the cropped jersey trend of the early 2010s. Hutson has also experimented with traditional tuxedos and waistcoats, cutting off the sleeves of a silk double-breasted long jacket.
The line showcased unique approaches to tailoring and American college style and established several potential stories for Hutson to develop in future collections.
A graduate of Fordham University, Nicholas Raefski introduced his label as a streetwear brand, but ventured into contemporary fashion for his second collection, titled “Meet Me By The Bleachers”.
The New York-based designer was nostalgic for high school in the ’70s and imagined typical high school archetypes like jocks, nerds, punks and hippies across 11 looks, including the brand’s first suit. Raefski also fused leather pants with disco pants for style and named his puffer jackets after lava lamps.
“Going to high school in the 1970s is something I’ve always felt nostalgic for, even though I was born a few decades too late to experience it,” Raefski said. “High school is above all about archetypes and stereotypes; be put in a box. But when we grow up, those boxes disappear, we discover that we cannot be bound by a group or an idea. I love the challenge of taking something I know little about from the past, thinking about it in the present, and designing it for the future.
Raefski has boldly experimented with textures, colors and silhouettes this season in his first attempt at contemporary fashion, listening to the idea of not being confined to a box in high school.