They say it’s the clothes that make the man, or woman, but what about the person who makes the clothes? The unsung craftspeople in the tailoring trade? The value of a good tailor is not lost on those who know that a $20 suit with the right tailoring can make the world totally forget that it’s a $20 suit. So going into hot toddy and mistletoe season, we are singing the praises of the tailor because a tailored world is a much more beautiful one. Embrace it!
Eugene S. Robinson, Editor-at-Large
6 life-changing style-meisters
1. Galen Womack
If you’re down to name your company F*ck It, It’s Fashion, then whatever the old rules were stopped applying to you a long time ago. Womack’s take on upcycled denim was born out of her frustration at finding clothes that fit her. So, sewing machine in hand, she started reconfiguring whatever denim she could get her hands on. Based in Oakland, California, and New York, she’s out to make the world fit just a little bit better.
If it were possible to love the single-named Noah and his company, Gokyo Ri, any more, we would. Simple without being simplistic, and named after a peak in the Himalayas where he was hiking when the inspiration to start a fashion brand struck for the first time, this Camus-quoting kid’s take on casualwear is set to take off. You’ll be wearing it next year. If you’re under 40.
3. Bent Angelo Jensen
You ever see someone so stylish that you just had to look? The Hamburg-based Jensen with his Herr Von Eden is just that kind of cat. With a carefully and artfully chosen eye for things both strange and familiar, HvE mixes formalwear with violent splashes of color and fabric that will make you look.
4. Carlina Christina
Named after their founders and based in California’s East Bay, Carlina Christina is the spearhead of an Oakland renaissance that’s seen all kinds of cool come out of a city responsible for great music, film and political movements — and unless we’re wrong, everyone was clothed when they were authoring all of that cool. Which is right where Carlina Christina makes bank with their affordable casualwear for women.
5. Amanda Stewart
Stewart’s New York–based Lou Lapel makes the bold claim that style and grace can’t be bought. Spend more than 10 seconds staring at her collection and you completely understand that what she’s making is magic. Tracksuits, separates, flannels, feathers: Like something Prince would wear were he still with us.
6. Tommy Bogo
What we like about 26-year-old Tommy Bogo’s casual streetwear, under his company name TOMBOGO, has everything to do with the fact that his pivot in the year of COVID-19 includes fashion that addresses the new masked reality. With his first New York Fashion Week presentation in the books for last year, Bogo pulls in hip-hop, graffiti and skateboard references with the greatest of ease.
Each year, the Moguls in the Making business plan pitch competition offers Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students an opportunity to learn and practice vital skills. Five students from Alabama A&M University won the second annual competition, which took place virtually this month, with their proposed solution to the lack of access to quality food and nutrition education in Detroit. The event gives 50 students — grouped into teams of five from 10 HBCUs — an opportunity to develop and present business plans aimed at solving key issues in the context of today’s economic and social climate. The competition is presented by Ally Financial Inc., the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and entertainer and entrepreneur Big Sean’s foundation, the Sean Anderson Foundation. Winners receive scholarships and internship opportunities with Ally.
Fashionbeans has all the best that forward-looking fashion has to offer. First of all, the website is great, and it’s because they’re thinking about fashion the way scientists think about science. A casual interest in trying to figure out how to tie a cravat can turn into an hourlong journey into everything fabric. If this is what separates us from the animals, it’s great to not be an animal.
Your next hot fashion is made in Vietnam. Especially since for years the country was to China what China had been to us: a place to have stuff made cheaply. But because people are going to be people, a hard-wired interest in looking fabulous has arrived, communism or not, and looks of real note have started to emerge from Southeast Asia. Believe it.
Edward Sexton, the coolest tailor alive, is back on Savile Row, because Savile Row, the great place in space for classic British couture, probably needed him. And that people are wearing suits now not because they have to but because they want to, was there any better time for him to be back? We think not.
4. Summer Season Burkini Wear
The beach is a great place to be when it’s hot enough outside for you to want to be there, but when your religion requires modesty and body covering, how do you mate what seem to be conflicting desires? Egypt has got a good idea, and it’s put them soundly on the cutting edge of religious beachwear.
The year’s almost over. Don’t look back on this year wishing you hadn’t missed out on the best styles of 2020.
Cariuma’s premium, handmade CATIBA Pros are breathing life back into the golden age of skating. Get ready to look back on 2020 knowing you own the weather-resistant, high-grip and most comfortable shoe out there.
OZY readers get an exclusive $15 off for a limited time with code OZY. Check it out now!
Megyn Kelly has been shunned by both the left and the right. Today, she joins Carlos to discuss her decision to speak out against Roger Ailes — a man she loved — why she thinks both the Black Lives Matter and MeToo movements are ineffective, and how her family keeps her centered. Is a political run in her future? This episode is already creating buzz. Subscribe now to get it first.
When given the choice between liberty and death, Patrick Henry, aka Fresh, chose fashion liberty. He’d be on our aforementioned list of fashion up-and-comers, except he’s already arrived with his company Richfresh — and not a minute too soon. He’s dressing Lena Waithe, John Legend and Diddy, who has his own fashion deal as well. If that’s not an endorsement, then we don’t know what is.
2. Catch Him If You Can
You’ll need to book weeks in advance for an in-person fitting with this São Paulo magician. But it’s worth every stitch. João Pimenta finds inspiration for men’s clothes by exploring women’s wardrobes. You’ll find him in a red-brick town house with traditional sewing machines clicking in rhythm, for that perfect tailor vibe.
3. Swedish Stylings
Dag Granath and Saman Amel, friends since they were toddlers, are making svelte Scandinavian tailoring a worldwide concern with their clean lines and simple designs. They’re the sort of items to wear when you want to radiate casual — a state of being much in demand during the pandemic.
4. What Do You Call a Female Tailor?
A seamstress. But that feels hopelessly outdated, particularly when you get to know what Ngozi Okaro’s Custom Collaborative is responsible for. Her Manhattan-based incubator is lifting up marginalized women who might otherwise be stuck in sweatshops and getting them better-valued jobs in the fashion industry.
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looks from yesteryear
1. The Man in Black Needs a Very Special Black
There’s stuff that you’d wear in real life. And stuff that you’d wear on stage. But when your real life is lived on stages, then why bother doing both? Which is precisely how Manuel Cuevas became the one tailor favored by both Johnny Cash and Elvis. And it probably had a lot more to do with the fact that he could work wonders with black (or white).
With Sean Connery, the first James Bond, dead, and the latest, Daniel Craig, about to take his final bow as 007, it’s time to appraise what makes Bond: the suit, of course. And while the movies are sometimes tongue-in-cheek romps, they are life and death for suits. The 2012 release of Skyfall, for example, translated to a 68 percent spike in suit sales for one London retailer.
In the Republic of Congo’s capital of Brazzaville, fashion is, and remains, king. The culture is defined by the high-end throwback looks of the sapeurs, whose dapper threads are derived from the hand-me-downs of French colonists. But after 90 years of men, this style is now getting a new look: women.
You could spot the kids from New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology on the subway. They were almost always aflame with both their belief in both the portfolios they lugged around and the necessity for fashion to be taken as seriously as surgery. So, yeah, FIT is ground zero for anything fashion, and their collaborative history for all things style-related? For obsessives only.
The kimono ruled Japan … until it didn’t. This is the story of how one emperor’s bid to look more like a world leader to the West led to changing the way an entire country dressed, and the rise of the suit.
2. The Historical Significance of the Untucked Shirt
Refusing to tuck in your shirt has gone from an act of youthful rebellion to a legitimate fashion trend. But the roots of untucking go way back, to a different kind of anti-establishment thinking against colonialism: China had the Mao suit, India the Nehru jacket, the Jamaicans wore the Kariba suit and the Congolese donned the abacost. All were a rejection of the Western suit and tie. All were either untucked shirts or button-up coats that would look totally normal on today’s 20-somethings.
Outside of biblical stories about apples and tricky snakes, why do we wear what we wear in America? Specifically, why are women wearing what they are wearing? Bellatory has a digestible history of the waxing and waning of style trends — which came and went quickly in the 18th century too. For example, the American Revolution was a pivot point that saw a transition from high-end fabrics and fancy wigs to a plainer style among American women of means, reflecting patriotic solidarity with the new nation and a rejection of the old ways of Europe.
4. Making Our Clothing Sustainable
If what we make to wear doesn’t stay fashionable forever, how do we keep from being wasteful pigs? It’s one thing to outgrow your clothes or have them break down or wear out, but at a certain point, don’t you ever ask yourself if you really need another T-shirt? Fortunately, a rising tide of sustainable innovators is thinking about the same thing — and they’re changing the way we dress and live. Trends like upcycling, environmentally friendly dyeing and cheap vegan fashion are reshaping the industry.