Engineered Garments continues to prove why it’s a favorite among casual menswear fans and hardcore garms enthusiasts alike. Built on a foundation of excellent trousers and unstructured tailoring, each season shows a clear progression and unified message. A core collection of traditional menswear colors like navy, gray, tan, and olive anchor the more experimental offerings, which range from bright colors like cobalt blue, red, yellow, and kelly green to patchwork African prints.
The fun stuff is always what keeps the label relevant each season, and allows new silhouettes like the double-breasted Loiter jacket—which features a self-belt that provides a bit of structure even when left unbuttoned—to shine, whether it’s rendered in a luxurious black tropical wool or rich French blue cotton. Another instant standout are the brand’s take on motocross pants, made of lightweight cotton with nylon details.
The inspiration carries over to EG’s sister line, FWK, which adds long skirts, dresses, and aprons into the mix for a more feminine attitude. The vibrant colors in both collections are inspired in part by pioneering street label Cross Colours.
Designer Daiki Suzuki actually bought the brand’s first season for the original Nepenthes shop in Japan in the ’90s, mixing it in with other brands and then-new designers like John Bartlett.
“That’s why in Japan we have such a respect from other companies,” explains Engineered Garments’ Angelo Urrutia. “Because we’ve done things before other people—crazy shit.”
That includes hardier iterations of Ikea’s oversized Frakta shopping bag, which the label has produced a canvas version of for a few seasons. For SS18, that accessory returns in several shades of bright colored nylon. And in case anyone is still hopping on the male romper trend, EG’s longstanding combi suit also returns in several different fabrics.
The brighter colors and ’90s inspiration are complemented with a slightly oversized fit, more prevalent in the trousers than the tops, which still hew closely to the frame of the body but are cut with a bit more room than previous seasons. Athletic materials also find their way into the new collection, like military-inspired vests with mesh contrasts that channel Jamaican undershirts and pick-up basketball jerseys.
No stranger to collaborations, this season contains a bunch. The first is the next iteration of EG’s collab with Dr. Martens, which replaces the laces with a velcro strap inspired by the British footwear brand’s childrens line. There’s also a couple of shoes with Timberland, including a cut-off low-top version of the iconic 6-inch boot and a longwing brogue style boot, for the distinguished New York head.
EG also teams up with athletic sneaker brand Hoka One One for several pairs of gradient knit sneakers in eye-catching colorways. Keeping with the theme of contrasting uppers, one pair mixes polka dots with a checkerboard motif, and another pair references the Caribbean flag. That’s appropriate considering the collection’s second inspiration was the cult 1978 reggae film Rockers by Theodoros Bafaloukos.
“Rockers is not a fashion movie,” Urrutia is quick to point out. “They just got up and got dressed. The beauty of why a lot of people respect it is that in Jamaica, all that shit comes from England.”
Indeed, the film’s protagonists, portrayed by reggae icons like Burning Spear, Gregory Isaacs, and Leroy Wallace, make Clarks footwear, knit polos, kelly green chinos, and canary yellow tracksuits look effortlessly dope. If the goal of a well-dressed man is to look like he seemingly rolled out of bed that way, it’s not a bad film to use as a reference.
“That’s what makes it so much cooler, because they didn’t try,” adds Urrutia. Perhaps the same could be said of the wearable sangfroid of Engineered Garments.
For more NYFW:M coverage, check out what went down at Raf Simons’ Spring/Summer 2018 fashion show.