Lucy Hinkfuss, co-founder of regular MBFWA showstopper Ten Pieces, believes that Australians are still keen to invest in their wardrobes although possibly with a little more consideration for what they’re getting for their money.
“I think the biggest change will be consumers becoming very conscious of buying quality garments,” Hinkfuss says. “We are very aware of making strategic choices in fabrication and design to create long lasting product.”
Based out of Bondi, Ten Pieces has capitalised on Australia’s love of surf, music and a more relaxed way of dressing. This year’s collection was to be no different, it seems.
“We were creating a presentation called ‘Summer of X’,” says Hinkfuss. “It was based on the ideas of clothes that evoked summers gone and summers to come. We always try to incorporate a Bondi style of dressing. Easy and active with an edge.”
As to key specifics, the designer is tight-lipped as to what men can expect to see on the racks once the weather warms up, with plans to create a virtual experience of the runway. “We have a few surprises in store.”
Swimwear label Aqua Blu had prepared a Grecian odyssey to showcase their latest resort line.
“The collection for this coming summer was called ‘Ethereal Beauty’ and inspired by Greek mythology,” says founder Kristian Chase. “Me being the extravagant person that I am, I had permission to build a Greek temple with giant columns and statues of Venuses. And all this had been started on and it was really going to be a show to remember.”
Known for their swimwear and clothes designed to be at the very least poolside if not in the pool itself, Chase said that he envisions Australian men embracing an even more relaxed vibe this coming summer. Essentially, Chase sees men dressing for a holiday spent on a yacht sailing through the Mediterranean. Just without the actual international travel.
“I’m known for being a maximist,” says Chase. “I’ll be bringing out these beautiful linens in more modern and fresher tastes for men that are soft and flowing. Of course there will still be plenty of budgie smugglers – these are my signature look.”
While it might be too early to say if we are heading towards a second dot.com casualisation (originally led by the Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs in hoodies), if there is anything that our current situation has taught us it’s that we can be professional in clothing that doesn’t sit in a traditionally corporate setting. Instead, comfort done elegantly has become a priority.
At Bassike, this kind of relaxed luxury has always been at the core of their aesthetic and is even more important now, says co-founder Mary-Lou Ryan, as we begin to slowly reintegrate back into the world.
“Designing this new collection, I looked back at what Bassike menswear is, what the purpose of the brand is and favourite items are,” Ryan says. “It has a casualness to it but all the details have been elevated a little bit further, like a beautiful unstructured grey linen suit.”
“We’ve kept it very simple but of the highest quality. People are looking for clothing that lasts and has a longevity, has a purpose and isn’t in one season and out the next.”
In fact, the idea of fashion without seasons could be the biggest trend to come out of COVID-19 as brands – both luxury and local – try to rebuild their losses during the economic downturn during coronavirus.
Australian style, and seasons, have always moved a little slower than the rest of the world (we only have one major tradeshow whereas Paris has at least six shows each year) and could be seen as an example of what a genuine move towards slow fashion looks like. Already at Armani, it was confirmed that they would show both their winter and summer collections, for men and women, in one show this year.
Mikey Nolan of Double Rainbouu (who, incidentally, had chosen not to show at this year’s MBFWA) says that if there was ever a time to reset the pace of the fashion industry to something that was more manageable for both designers and consumers, it’s now.
“There’s been lots of talk for years about changing up the way we do things from excessive travel for shows and market to the whole selling calendar in general,” Nolan says. “We’ve found as a small brand trying to steer a path between our own vertical needs and the demands of wholesale has been hard sometimes. I hope for us it’s the catalyst we needed but more importantly for the broader industry.”
Benjamen is a lifestyle reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald, covering men’s fashion, grooming, and fitness.
Author: ” — www.smh.com.au “