Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My Favorite Brands At Project NYC14

Best Revised Collection


Founded in New Orleans in 1909, Haspel is the originator of the Seersucker suit. Joseph Haspel discovered using a lightweight Indian fabric known as seersucker in the manufacturing of men's suits in 1909. His suit solution for Louisiana's blazing summer heat became the brand's signature item, propelling Haspel's popularity beyond its southern roots, while making an indelible mark on American menswear. Before long seersucker had shed its practical image in favor of an air of pa...nache, as celebrities and politicians embraced the style and young college men made it a staple of their preppy wardrobes. More than clothing, the seersucker suit emerged as a symbol of status, in the words of writer Damon Runyon "a badge of affluence."

In the following decades, Haspel continued to expand its offerings, attracting new enthusiasts with its bold colors and classic sensibilities. It also pushed the envelope of innovation, introducing stretch fabrics and working with fabric companies to create the "miracle fiber" used in wash-and-wear suits.

Still owned by the Haspel family, the brand today has built on it's iconic tradition in Summer Suits and expanded it's roots in menswear to accessories and new products.


Best New Brands



As a history buff I was inspired by the name Grayers. I was reading about the history of Britain in the 1950’s, and at that time, young men switched from wearing three-piece suits to gray flannel trousers, commonly known as grayers. And the casual menswear movement was born. Grayers was the must-have in every man’s wardrobe, from British society to... American prep schools.

I saw a gap in the men’s market for a casual men’s clothing collection with impressive quality, great fit and design integrity - all at an incredible value. I was instantly inspired to go back and rewrite the classics in a new way…one style at a time. A great trench in a tightly woven fabric that you can roll up and throw in a weekend bag. A smart, slimmed down version of the classic Aran Isle fisherman’s sweater. Knitted wool jackets that are the perfect alternative to structured blazers.

Kenny Thomas, Grayers designer, and I were colleagues during our Ralph Lauren days. I was on the sourcing side and Kenny on the design side - thus Grayers ability to provide such quality and a design aesthetic at incredibly reasonable prices. Kenny came to Grayers with a notable 15-years at Ralph Lauren overseeing concept design in his most recent role, as well as designing for brands such as Lucky Brand.



Freenote Cloth is a high-quality men's apparel collection manufactured exclusively in the USA.
Freenote is committed to getting back to the basics and re-discovering the “American Dream.” With massive conglomerates saturating the American market, in the garment industry and otherwise, there’s a nostalgia for something genuine, something built to last, and on the foundation of a strong and honest work ethic. Design inspiration for the debut collection was derived primarily from this nostalgia...a and in turn, from the real American heroes of the past.

With Freenote’s line being manufactured exclusively in the United States, in the company’s backyard, Freenote is able to maintain creative control by minimizing the gap between original design and final product, effectively placing priority on the quality of the product. The company values not only the final product and its creation process, but each person that took part in making it. Clothing costs money for many reasons – the most important being that real people produce it. By housing all production domestically, Freenote ensures that proper safety measures are practiced and employees are treated fairly. We strive to practice social action while promoting the US Economy by offering a product that was truly made in the USA. Freenote strives to offer the best product possible, and to do so ethics first.


Best Unexpected Find

Cockpit USA

Cockpit USA is a brand built on the firm foundations of an affinity for leather, aviation and an all American heritage. With a story that begins in the skies… It was in the early 70s when President and founder of Cockpit USA Jeff Clyman was taking flight in WWII aircrafts sporting his father’s Army Air Corps aviator jacket, when he was bombarded by crowds of people wanting to know where they could get their hands on one too.

Based in New York City and originally started in 1975 under the corporate name Avirex Ltd, Cockpit USA has a vibrant history. As a current contractor to the U.S. Government, Cockpit USA has supplied the USA government with various products including since 1990 the A-2 leather pilot jacket. Cockpit USA has also supplied various foreign governments with their own version of the A-2 pilots’ jackets as well as Navy jackets for certain USA submarine units and international Navies.

Cockpit USA is a name synonymous with authenticity and a sense of strong American legacy. A lifestyle that has been adopted by iconic celebrities such as Sylvester Stallone, (Rocky III wearing the company’s B-3 shearling jacket), Governor Arnold Schwartznegger, Bruce Willis, Nicholas Cage, Steven Spielberg, Steve McQueen, Tom Selleck, Jerry Seinfeld, Lenard Nemoy, Dan Akroyd, PDiddy, Hugh Jackman, Richard Simmons, Sharon Stone, Christina Aguilera, President Bush and President  Obama and just recently Beyonce!

The contemporary collection, Civilian Pilot Training, is a capsule under Cockpit USA specializing in leather and textile outerwear, knitwear and shirting. With each piece being a translation of the company's vast treasure trove archive of genuine historic military finds, styles are recreated with expert craftsmanship and commitment to quality. A true salute to garments of times past and the heroes who have worn them, Cockpit USA maintains a signature standard of execution; manufacturing 80% of products at home in the U.S. using only leathers of the highest grade, heavy duty hard wear with inspiration drawn from military design.

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