Luxury retailers like SSENSE can always be relied upon for a fresh update of pieces by household name fashion houses — be it Prada, Burberry, or Gucci. But what should never be overlooked at these well-curated destinations are the more under-the-radar brands, and the collections that showcase a label or designer trying something fresh and exciting.
Below, we’ve picked out five brands to which the above can be applied. From Youths in Balaclava, a collective of young designers from Singapore, to Junya Watanabe, a designer with significantly more experience but still pushing his design in new directions, we’ve picked out five labels that have our attention, and the pieces from their latest collections that are on our wishlist.
Check out our list of brands to watch SSENSE.
Youths in Balaclava
Youth in Balaclava is a collective of artists and young designers, all of which are from Singapore and in their 20s. With all members of the group now having taken part in the country’s mandatory military service, a duty that put a heavy strain on their creative output, 2020 is the year when Youths in Balaclava are likely to really take off. Used as a platform to criticize the political and social issues of Singapore, the label’s collections favor a DIY approach, blending streetwear, athleisure, and technical elements. The track-style jacket above, which can be reversed to show off a paisley satin alternative, is a particular highlight.
Though no new name in fashion by any means (established by American designer Amy Smilovic in 1997), Tibi only recently launched its menswear line. The New York-based brand’s latest collections center on classic men’s cuts, smart tailoring, and quality, making use of luxe materials. The wild silver nylon cargo pants take a workwear staple in a spacey direction, while the SSENSE-exclusive Glove boot is the Chelsea of the future.
Keeping things in New York, Tanaka was set up in 2017 by Sayori Tanaka, a designer who channels her Japanese heritage into her clothing. Adopting the principle of wabi sabi, the acceptance and appreciation of imperfection, Tanaka pieces put raw materials and the origin of garments front and center. The jeans and denim jacket below highlight construction, while sprayed paint detailing reflects the designer’s penchant for distress.
Australian brands are often overlooked, with the sartorial world holding a hard-to-shift habit of focusing on the old world fashion epicenters of Europe. Labels like Dion Lee provide another reason for such habits to be history. Reintroducing menswear for his Spring/Summer 2020 collection, the designer and founder of the eponymous label pushes boundaries in fluidity, using his pieces to highlight the relationship between clothing and the body.
You’ll no doubt know the name Junya Watanabe. And if you don’t, a resume that includes tenures under Rei Kawakubo should be enough reason to listen up. Prior to his SS20 show in Paris, press received a clear announcement that this Watanabe collection had no theme. Made for the “man who does not belong anywhere in particular,” the collection is a departure from his recent and more accessible Carhartt collaboration, cementing the storied designer on our list of labels that are worthy of note right now.
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