Season: Spring/Summer 2021
Key Pieces: Mohair is one of Brownstone's essential textiles, its furriness channeled here by statement sweaters and timeless cardigans. There's also a newfound emphasis on hardwearing outerwear, including transformable cargo parkas, leather trucker jackets, and a water-resistant nylon car coat.
Editor's Notes: Brownstone doesn't work on anyone else's calendar. It's kind of refreshing to see a SS21 collection dropping so late into the season, though it's much less Spring and much more Summer at this point (at least in the northern hemisphere).
Still, we know that everyone from small designers to big brands want to slow down fashion's breakneck speed (except the conglomerates), but they're held to release expectations that make dramatic shifts challenging. Indie brand Brownstone is subject to only its own whims.
"As far as the release schedule goes, this season we really produced two collections in one," co-founder Waverly Watkins told Highsnobiety. "Los Angeles [where much of Brownstone is produced] was hit pretty hard by COVID-19. Factory openings and closings were a normal thing. And then shipping delays with customs pushed the release back a few weeks, but I enjoy the slower release schedule, as well."
"Chairs Missing: The Difference Between Looking & Seeing," Brownstone's SS21 lineup, wears its influences on its sleeve, deriving its title from albums by proto-punk outfit Wire and experimental California hardcore group Ceremony. These influences are parlayed into spacey graphic hoodies, leopard-printed bucket hats, and hardy work pants.
There's a retro feel that pervades the selection — see: charmingly old-school cardigans, buckle-back slacks — as if design cues were inspired by thrifted vintage (apropos for DIY musicians, no?). Of course, premium textiles and thoughtful design cues make it clear that we're dealing with elevated apparel. A souvenir jacket-inspired bomber is fully reversible, for instance, and Brownstone has revived its signature 14-pocket cargo trousers in new materials sourced from Japan and Italy.
It's not accidental that the new line includes pricier items — leather layers, knit sweaters, nylon shorts — alongside more approachable hoodies and tees. It's all part of what Watkins calls the "Brownstone juxtaposition."
Indeed, alongside that progressive ready-to-wear, Brownstone is debuting its "Readymade" line: cut-and-sew T-shirts, hoodies, sweatpants released sans season. It reiterates the more leisurely approach that Brownstone is taking to clothing development and delivery, a more thoughtful pace that's easier on manufacturers and the brand's sibling co-founders.
"We really wanted to make sure that the Readymades were of the top quality," Watkins continued. "All fabrics are milled exclusively for Brownstone. The addition of the Readymade program has allowed us to include a new type of customer, the customer we were at age 19 & 20, who maybe couldn’t afford a $1,000 jacket but wanted to support and represent a brand that still spoke to them."