We could relay to you the virtues of unisex brands, and there are many, but the proof is in the number of designers who have begun to take this direction. Why restrict yourself to just one half of your potential consumers, when you can appeal to both?
At last week’s Berlin Fashion Week we were struck by the amount of brands on offer that cater to both genders and how immediately drawn we were to them. Visiting Bread & Butter, SEEK and Capsule inbetween storms it was a natural decision that, with so many up-and-coming unisex brands, we just had to feature them all in order to give all you guys a heads-up. These are all brands that are carefully conceived, with serious thought put into every step of their design, production and manufacturing. The resulting selection is refined – brands that are as contemporary as they are classically timeless, thanks to a careful consideration of what contributes to longevity. If you’re only into big graphics and loud logos, maybe you could learn to love a thing or two from the following brands.
Founded in 2009, the ethos behind Collective was to provide ecological, ethical and culturally acceptable products in the fashion world. Specializing in luxe basics, different garments come in various blends of cashmere, cotton and wool, offering high-quality products with an ethical standpoint. Available in men’s and women’s ranges, the collection is typically gender neutral and can be worn by either sex thanks to its subtle color palette.
Berlin-based brand OWL Optics aims to revolutionize the eyewear game with stylish frames and affordable lenses. Founder David Kamp notes, “A hallway full of shoes, but only one pair of glasses – it just doesn’t make sense.” Created by three friends out of a desire to produce good looking glasses and great lenses for an honest price, OWL Optics was born. Available in both sun and optical lenses, the range of sleek unisex styles and colorways comes in strictly limited numbers. You can purchase both sun and optical glasses including lenses for €150 from OWL’s online store, with shipping across Europe.
A knitwear brand out of Antwerp, Howlin’ offers luscious knit pieces made in Scotland and Ireland from the highest quality yarns. Howlin has been around since 1981, with a newer offshoot label Howlin’ being launched in 2009. The term comes from the Scottish slang for smelly, with timeless and playful designs that are suited to both men and women. Offering bright colors mixed with neutrals, and classic silhouettes including pullover and cardigan styles, each item is individually manufactured and hand-finished by traditionally skilled craftsmen resulting in a luxurious item of knitwear that will last you years to come. Shop the line here.
What with socks and sandals now all the rage, Levit 02 has burst onto the scene at the right time with their selection of unisex “leather basics” inspired by menswear. Based in Berlin and Dortmund, the 100% vegetable-tanned leather used for the sandals and bags comes from European tanneries. Focusing on simplicity, Levit’s aim is to create simple and perfect products that don’t follow seasonal trends, rather they reinterpret the classics. Sold at select boutiques worldwide, you can also purchase from the brand’s online store.
Earning its moniker from its original location on Nieuwlandstraat, Brussels, NEUW was originally a labor of love where creative director Pär Lundqvist began to tailor and alter vintage denim from his own archive. From this the idea of the brand’s vintage revision was born. Featuring black thread in its “black weft” range, NEUW’s denim takes on a unique dark indigo look that is all its own. Although the brand features women’s-only silhouettes, the men’s styles, particularly the tapered cuts, are easily some of the best unisex selvedge we’ve seen in a long time. Check them out here.
Armoire d’Homme / Armoire de Femme
Fresh from a DANSK Design Talent Award nomination, we stumbled across clothing brand Armoire d’homme during the Capsule tradeshow and were struck by its simple clean lines and subtle color palette. The brand is steeped in Scandinavian design traditions and employs premium fabrics such as Italian cotton linen blends, merino yarns and organic cotton. Starting with a menswear line, the brand has now just introduced a women’s collection which, using the same aesthetics, captures a “boyfriend” look for a unified style. Take a look at both lines here.
There are plenty of luxury leather goods brands out there but few are executed quite as exquisitely as PB 0110. Founded by Philipp Bree in 2012, the young company has already gained a strong following thanks to its emphasis on creating bags and accessories that go beyond their purpose and become beloved objects to the owner. PB 0110 uses premium quality fabrics such as vegetable-tanned natural leather, linen and brass fittings, all of which develop their own personal characteristics over time and use. What stood out about PB 0110 to us is the consistency of their overall aesthetic. As well as things looking great, the attention to detail continues throughout all of their collections, lookbooks and website, for a brand that really does feel extra special. Persure the goods yourself on the PB 0110 website.
Swedish-born brand L’Homme Rouge started out specializing in unisex knitted hats. After mastering what became a classic hat suitable for even Scandinavian winters, they decided to embark on expanding their range to include a full ready-to-wear range. Despite its clothing range focusing on menswear, I challenge any of you – man or woman – to resist their 280g 100% cotton T-shirts. Their simplicity lends themselves to either gender and what girl is looking for a fitted tee these days? Oversized all the way – especially if they’re as comfortable as this. Check out the brand here.
The senz6 umbrella has the potential to make your life a whole lot easier. The brand was founded in 2004 by Gerwin Hoogendoorn who, having had three umbrellas break in one week, decided there must be a way to upgrade. Using a distinctly atypical umbrella shape and employing technology, the umbrellas can withstand winds of up to 100km/h. The unique shape will keep you dry from head to toe, and the umbrellas even feature special eye-savers to protect your fellow pedestrians. Now that they’ve got the design locked down, they’ve been experimenting with prints and patterns, teaming up with fashion and textile designers to create a strong assortment of delectable choices. Check them out for yourself here.