Let’s think of some adjectives to describe menswear in the 20th century… Conservative? Yes. Safe? Clearly. Boring? Definitely. And there isn’t enough lithium or therapy in the world to take away the angst associated with early 2000s menswear. (Reminder: Branded tees forever and ever.)
Throughout the first half of the previous century, men’s fashion was largely defined by its relationship with functionality. And while yes, it did get watered down from tailoring to t-shirts in the latter half, this was still nothing to write home about. Finally, menswear has been deigned worthy of the creativity and playfulness previously only afforded to the ladies. Leggings are no longer solely for exhibitionist cyclists, patterns have moved beyond kindergarten geometry, and even skirts for gents have found growing popularity outside of Scotland. Perhaps most exciting about this renaissance of fabulousness is all the new materials that have been popping up both in the mainstream and more underground street style. Check out some of the most innovative menswear materials that are popping up in 2014, both internationally and locally, that will surely be setting trends for seasons to come…
Neoprene (or as my straight friends call it, “scuba material”) has been popping up everywhere over the last year, largely in association with the unstoppable sportswear trend. While squishy and soft (those are scientific, high fashion terms FYI), the material holds structure well and often lends itself to silhouettes that are boxy and over-sized in a really funky way. Some great collections featuring neoprene this season are H&M’s Go Gold Collection and perennial South Korean scuba sculptors Juunj.
While carpentry and fashion have yet to merge cohesively enough to make functional clothing (prediction: Project Runway challenge this season), men’s accessories have seen an arboreal abundance in the past few years. Everything from rings to ear studs have taken to the trees though, as a purveyor of the innovative and unique, the Baffi Collection of wooden pocket squares are especially appealing. Designed in Toronto and made in Canada, these fun pieces allow the functional fashionista (er… fashionisto?) to not only make a sartorial statement but also avoid having to constantly adjust/refold their pocket squares like you would with silk. This is the future of fashion, people.
Given the punk trend of the last few years, metallic studs have been watered down from high fashion to pretty much every fast fashion bargain bin in the Western world. That said, the Dolce & Gabbana Winter 2015 Menswear Collection has brought metallic sexy back with some serious Game of Thrones realness. Borrowing inspiration from medieval chain mail armour, the collection features metal woven into knits, furs, and used much like sequins. Perhaps caution against wearing through airport security.
Beetle wings? Beetle wings. Let’s be real for a hot second: Cows and cotton take up way too much space so we’re going to have to get creative about what we use to make our clothing. Toronto designer Myles Sexton showed a fabulous accessories collection last month at the Spoke Club made entirely from the wings of the Elytra “jewel” beetle, and he could not have been more ahead of the curb. The prismatic wings reflected a spectrum of hues (ranging from green to purple depending on lighting and angles) and totally challenged not only conventional ideas of materials but also of beauty and fashion in general. To put things more simply: this be some dope-ass sh*t.
Would you wear these new trends? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.