It’s no secret that the world of fashion is saturated, with new brands constantly trying their hand at becoming the next new thing season after season. Aside from the established heavy-hitters there are few that actually get people talking, adding valuable options to menswear that are either different enough to make a statement, or just make really good clothes that you actually want hanging in your wardrobe. From the labels that are creating effortless yet luxurious tailored pieces, to the names that are pushing boundaries and using fashion as a political platform, these are the menswear brands you need to look out for – and start adding to your wardrobe – in Autumn/Winter ’17.
Since 2011 Parisian brand AMI has been an insider’s favourite, stocked at some of the most progressive stores around the world. Having previously been at Dior, Givenchy and Marc Jacobs, founder Alexandre Mattiussi founded AMI simply because he had the desire to create clothing that he and his friends would want to wear. Turns out these men he’s inspired by and bases his collections around are a stylish bunch. The AMI formula is a simple one and one that works, taking staple menswear pieces and making them interesting – particularly the trouser (of which Mattiussi is the master). This season, AMI is all about ‘90s-style straight leg jeans and wide, low slung trousers (buy them in every colour).
Expect to hear this Stoke-on-Trent designer’s name a lot more this season than you may have done previously. Having been a key name on the London Fashion Week Men’s schedule since 2012, Miller has quietly been establishing his namesake brand for the past five years. He’s just picked up the menswear International Woolmark Prize for the British Isles and SS17 saw him create a collaborative collection with River Island as part of the high street store’s Design Forum.
As for the clothes, Matthew Miller blends technical sportswear and tailoring to create innovative fabrics and styles, his seasonal collections politically-driven and carrying modernist undertones. His AW17 collection is no different, with military references that reflect a turbulent political climate running through each piece.
Another Parisian label to make the list, Officine Générale is your typical French brand – all effortless pieces that transcend trends and seasons – but it’s also decidedly contemporary (think A.P.C. but slightly smarter and more luxurious). Founder Pierre Mahéo incorporates workwear elements with traditional tailoring in his collections and he’s obsessed with quality, using only French, British and Japanese fabrics. Mahéo’s attention to detail is unrivalled in the industry too, making his crisp white shirts and tailored overcoats that little bit more special. For AW17 the Officine Générale man is dressed tonally (namely in white, camel, navy or grey) and accessorises his looks with a small neck scarf.
Listed in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in 2015, Phoebe English is one of London’s most exciting yet underrated menswear designers. A Central Saint Martins graduate, English has been creating gothic yet whimsical collections for women since 2011, debuting Phoebe English Man during the SS16 shows; her menswear line having a more utilitarian feel but still favouring those dark tones. For English it’s not just about design and aesthetic but using her platform as a way of expressing something, whether it be her – and her peers’ – reaction to Brexit, or the election of Donald Trump into the White House.
In a world of menswear that can sometimes feel formulaic, Phoebe English is creative and forward-thinking (she’s created artistic pieces in collaboration with the likes of Ai Weiwei for Dover Street Market in the past), something which is echoed in her collections. Functional separates with gothic undertones and slightly oversized shapes make up the AW17 collection, with all items (as ever) designed and made in England.
Somehow Grace Wales Bonner manages to be both above fashion and a leader of it, taking a refreshingly intellectual approach to clothing and design. At just 26 years old, she launched her first Wales Bonner collection in 2014 and has since received the prize for Emerging Menswear Designer at the 2015 British Fashion awards, as well as the prestigious LVMH Prize. Her collections famously explore black male identity, using history and her own experiences to create clothing that goes so far beyond the usual stereotypes. As for AW17, Wales Bonner combines cultural references to celebrate diversity, with a 1970s Ladbroke Grove vein running through, resulting in – as ever – a truly unique collection.EJ