In this job, there’s nothing quite like discovering something genuinely cool – something you’ve heard tell of that doesn’t disappoint, or a great new product or brand that just pops up seemingly out of nowhere.
This Pitti Uomo just passed might have been frustrating in some respects but it did reveal some very interesting developments from independent European brands marching to the beat of their own drum. Here are three that we think are worth knowing about.
There’s no shortage of sleek independent Italian brands out there right now, but Doppia really is a standout. First off, it straddles the line between casual and formalwear beautifully. Secondly, it’s designs are both confident and chic. Thirdly, it’s collections are almost entirely Italian-made and use some of the finest luxury fabrics in the business.
Founded in 2015, by two childhood friends with a joint passion for contemporary menswear, the brand pulls off a clever trick: creating clothes with a modern sensibility that feel like they’re underpinned by decades of heritage. Unashamedly Italian in outlook, the brand’s designs are influenced by ‘savoir faire and solidly Mediterranean aesthetics’, and there’s a richness of design to its SS18, AW19 and SS19 collection’s that’s going to be hard to top.
While its suits are undeniably cool, we’d advise exploring Doppiaa for the way the brand blends tailoring with sportswear. The Spring Summer ’18 collection is composed almost entirely of chic separates; tailored jackets are paired with bright, clean-cut chinos, while slim tailored trousers are mixed with relaxed grandad collar shirts, and chic work jackets. There are some standout safari jackets in forest green or heavy tobacco linen and neat blousons cut in luxurious tailoring fabrics. There’s not too much pattern, but the collection is big on soft textures and louche, lightweight fabrics.
The brand doesn’t sell online, so it’s not that easy to get your mitts on over here, your best bet is to scope out Fenwick Bond Street’s excellent menswear department – and thank us later…
doppiaa.com / fenwick.co.uk
2. Kirk Originals
I hope that you’ll have at least come across Kirk Originals in passing by now, but its a brand that warrants foregrounding here, nonetheless – and it’s certainly on the up. Though the modern Kirk Originals brand is a good few years old, last year it launched an entirely made-in-England collection of sunglasses, returning the brand to the self same factory where it’s models were originally made, and drawing upon a range of 1960s and 70s sunglasses discovered in a long-lust vintage trunk.
The first collection went down a storm, meeting the approval of eyewear connoisseurs and menswear aficionados alike, and a few weeks ago during London Fashion Week Men’s, the brand unveiled the collection that’s coming this time next year – to still more rapturous applause.
Now, it seems that Kirk Originals has well and truly found its feet; and next summer’s collection is exceptionally bold and brave. Expect sharp, angular ‘70s-style frames in top-grade acetates ranging from faded green to smoky grey, and warm marmalade tortoiseshell. Lenses come in a variety of bold colours too; including green, grey, icy blue and even dusty pink. Some frames feature smart metal bridges and some fade or combine different colours.
They feel reassuringly robust in the hand, and add instant cool factor to either a smart or casual look. In other words, if you’ve yet to jump on the Kirk Originals band wagon, now’s the time.
The made in England collection retails at £425 per pair, kirkoriginals.com
3. Spring Court
Much like Kirk Originals, Spring Court is a brand that does one thing, well – and sits just off the beaten track in doing it. Founded in 1936, it’s always stuck to a winning formula to create practical, comfortable and yet supremely stylish tennis sneakers. Founded in northern France by one Monsieur Georges Grimmeisen (who unsurprisingly was a tennis fanatic), and retained by the Grimmeisen family today, Spring Court designed the first tennis shoes intended to be used on clay.
To create the perfect tennis sneaker, Grimmeisen’s shoes offered super-thick supportive insoles, impact-resistant rubber toe boxes, a sleek round shape and four ventilation holes in each shoe’s mid-sole. In the 1930s and ‘40s they were used strictly for sport, but they broke out of sportswear and into mainstream casual menswear with the sneaker revolution of the 1960s. Widespread fame came care of The Beatles’ Abbey Road album cover – John Lennon’s crossing the street in a pair of classic white Spring Court G2s and a Tommy Nutter suit. Today, Spring Court is still made in France, and its G2 low-top and B2 high-top sneakers remain true to their original patterns.
For a first introduction to the brand, opt for a pair of iconic low-top G2s in heavy ecru canvas twill, a model that’s new for the season and more interesting than a conventional plain white canvas pair. These feel pleasingly retro, solid and the texture in the uppers adds some welcome design interest. They’re also available in limited runs of olive, sky blue and burnt rust, and Oi Polloi has limited edition designs with natural gum soles, too.