Dystopian Luxe – The Underground World Of Men’s Fashion
In the world of fashion, women are often considered bargain hunters, seeking this seasons trends at the lowest possible price. Quality and construction be damned, because we’ll get bored of the garment before it has the chance to break down, and even if the hasty craftsmanship of small asian children does come prematurely undone, it’s not a big concern since we paid bottom dollar to begin with.
Men on the other hand, tend to shop with permanency in mind. They’re happy to spend a few extra dollars for an item that they can wear day in and out until it either disintegrates or they die. (These differing attitudes are why the men’s section of every thrift store you’ve ever visited have been a fraction the size of the women’s section.)
As the financial stakes are upped, and we move into the world of luxury fashion, this tendency toward lasting, quality materials remains paramount in the minds of men. And that’s why high end designers that focus on small, handmade batches of their wears are seeing a spike in popularity.
Here, we gather to appreciate timeless couture. Sensuous and masculine, designers favour distressed leather, intricate stitching, and aggressive lines. Modern technology and style meets your grandfather’s traditional craftsmanship.
And designers recognize the way that fashion savvy men shop. These aren’t mere outfits, they’re statement pieces. They’re investments. They’re the new Rolex, or Ferrari. And creating a distinct culture and feeling of exclusivity around their collections adds to the appeal.
Italian tannery and shoemaker Guidi’s vestiary offerings come with price tags that hover around (or easily above) $1,000 a pair. On their community Tumblr, fans post artistic photos of their Guidi’s. This isn’t a shoe, it’s a lifestyle.
Popular designer Boris Bidjan Saberi’s is a regular participant in Paris Fashion Week, his collections bare intriguing titles, such as; Back Towards, Mechanism, Blood, and Sailorism. His Tumblr features is a collection of dark and stunningly evocative images. This conjures a sense of the essence of his line, rather then simply showing us the pieces. With recurring themes of war, pleasing geometry, and reptilian sophistication, he attracts followers with a common esthetic. The kind of people who will appreciate his taste, would also appreciate his creations.
BBS’s designs are influenced by his middle eastern roots, interest in hip hop and urban culture. When the apocalypse is upon us, the fashionable man will loot Darklands and melt seamlessly into a dystopian, Mad Max-esque landscape.
He also frequently features ethnic models, a choice rarely made in the world of women’s fashion.
Other then BBS, many of the most influential luxury men’s designers don’t participate in fashion shows, or flaunt their labels for the masses. You need be to in the know to find these designers. They are heavily discussed on fashion forums like Style Zeitgeist, which describes itself as a ‘community of individuals who are passionate about fashion design’, and sites one of its aims as ‘divorc(ing) fashion from consumerism’.
(Don’t know who Carol Christian Poell is? Get it together wannabe fashionista.)
So let’s say that you are ready to dip into your new car savings to up your fashion game, short of traveling to New York or London, where can you even acquire these designer’s elusive sartorial offerings? There’s no Buy It Now button on their websites.
(“Our garments are best experienced in person”. That’s nice store, but I don’t live in NY.)
Berlin based Darklands is a popular choice. But Darklands is not your average online shopping experience. You contact the shop with your desired item, give them details about your size and what you normally wear. They try on the clothes themselves, and use the details that you provide to determine the most appropriate fit before arranging payment:
We pride ourselves in our service and product knowledge, and feel that our approach is more sophisticated. Measurements are not an accurate way of determining fit, as garments vary widely in their cut and structure, particularly amongst different brands. By trying things on ourselves and having a direct conversation with our clients, our ratio of success in selecting appropriate sizing is much higher than people who measure items.
A good starting point is to provide us with your height and weight, plus waist and European jacket size, when inquiring about an item.
It’s the closest to an in person buying experience that you’ll have on the web.
So while your budget may or may not allow you to spurge on handmade, traditionally crafted pieces like the ones these designers produce, consider the sentiment behind the movement. Next time you’re on the lookout for a pair of shoes or jeans, save up a few extra dollars and buy something that was built to last. Fashion is ever evolving, but investing in a few quality pieces (maybe even ones made in your own country) is a trend that we can get behind.