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10 menswear designers to watch in 2016

The brands you definitely need to know about (and probably don't yet)

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Weekly updates

Getting your name out there and achieving some small amount of recognition/approval is just the tip of the iceberg for many budding streetwear and menswear designers in today’s overcrowded marketplace. As the big houses continue to set the standard with strong collections and collaborations, it can be hard to recognise the yung brands putting in work all over the world. Often promising a unique vision and aesthetic, the new kids on the block could very well be set to blow up very, very soon. To honour those labels, we did our own URL scouting to compile a list of 10 brands (locally and OS) you probably don’t know but definitely need to keep on your radar this year.

  • Words: Julia Mulcahy

01. Wacko Maria (Japan)

While they’re not so new to the fashion scene, Japanese label Wacko Maria has been gaining momentum following recent collaborations with visionaries like UNDERCOVER. Wacko Maria was born when two former J-league soccer players threw in the towel and opened a bar called ROCK STEADY. It was here that both of the guys brought to life a distinctive style of T-bird jackets adorned with vintage logos. The anti-rebellion meets grease monkey style apparel is inspired by “friends, films, girls, wine and music”, according to the two founders.


02. Copson (UK)

Countless streetwear brands have attempted to tie a ’70s silhouette to their collections, but few can compete with the true devotion of London’s own Club Copson. The unique “sunshine lifestyle” of the brand is what sets Copson apart from the crowded space, according to the brand’s founder, with its concept dreamt up while skating around the sunny streets of Barcelona. Copson started out first as a blog of clean-cut apparel and lifestyle and used a large pre-existing community to sell tees, jackets, shirts, and hoodies. The brand’s eye-catching collections of minimal sports attire mixed with rich fabrics and colours from the ’70s era makes for a perfect blend of old and new.


03. Moreporks (NZ)

Built from the ground up, Moreporks is an outdoor lifestyle brand inspired by the unique features of New Zealand’s rugged landscape. The brand’s collections feed unique colours and textures into camp caps, workshirts, and rugby jumpers designed to withstand the cruellest of climates. The trio of founders—Guy, Sam, and Nathanael—knew little about fashion before the label’s inception, but dreamt of a brand that epitomised living life to the fullest and illustrate the rawness of the NZ terrain. The North Face meets Kathmandu garments are engineered for a day spent on two wheels, in the woods, and just general bad-ass weekend action.


04. Ode Clothing (USA)

Born on the unsuspecting streets of South Carolina, Ode Clothing promises everything from graphic windbreakers to minimal hoodies. Pierre Nelson started Ode in his first year of Senior High, and in no time the trademarked “Souf Cak” became the emblem of cool for the state’s youngsters. After Nelson’s FW15 collection featured in Highsnobiety, orders came pouring in from across the globe and it was all up hill from there. Since its media debut, Ode has been seen on the likes of Wacka Flocka Flame and Joey Bada$$, earning instant ticks of approval from across the globe. Ode stays true to its aesthetic of ’90s get-up, and we can expect many more drops of throwback apparel in 2016.


05. Satta (UK)

Brixton beach may be an unconventional birth spot for a brand inspired by Rastafarian culture, but Satta’s roots are heavily planted in the era that saw surfing transition on to land. Breathing rawness through its earthy tones, the brand focuses on minimal production using organic cotton and other sustainable fibres. The brand is well-known for a range of hand-crafted skateboards, clothing, and hats, all channelling that effortless ’60s vibe.


06. S.K. Manor Hill (USA)

Manor Hill may have grown up in NYC, but it’s clear that its concepts have been borrowed from inspirations all over the world. Grandad collars from Japan, casual suiting from Europe, and monochrome colourways make it perfectly okay to match up with your sneakers for an ‘I woke up like this’ combo. S.K’s Dominic Sondag has brought out some super light and breezy pieces for the warmer months, toned down with earthy palettes. Expect to see more of S.K blowing up your newsfeeds in the New Year.


07. August Institute (Russia)

Following the post-Soviet era comes an uprising of young tech-savvy designers who are shaping the Russian fashion movement. Leading the pack is August Institute, an edgy, DIY type menswear brand that utilises the power of photography, videos and music to broadcast their style all over the web. The two Russian teens behind August Institute have generated much buzz around their patchwork sweaters, casual cuts, raw edges, and reflective fabrics. The two young Muscovites say their vision comes from creatives who don’t care how they look and prefer comfort over design any day. Keep August Institute on your radar over the next year as young Russian visionaries turn the industry upside down.


08. Buried Alive (South Korea)

Keith ape and bibimbap aren’t the only great things to come out of South Korea, the SK fashion scene is one that’s hard to beat. Rather than aspiring to reach high fashion status, Buried Alive’s Jayass Kim pledges to help the SK scene deliver fleeting trends and high quality garments to a fast-paced streetwear culture. The upcoming brand pays tribute to ’80s skate and punk rock culture, utilising various forms of artwork and graphic design to build an underground label unlike anything else.


09. Stan Ray (USA)

Receiving much praise from the US and Japanese markets, Stan Ray is notorious for their fatigue pant styles that are built from robust materials to last a lifetime. Upholding a 40-year legacy, Stan Ray proclaims service and quality with every piece constructed at the label’s factory in Texas. Much of the label’s collections draw on expertise from the iconic OG-107 US military uniforms constructed back in the 50s, but bring about a contemporary twist for today’s modern man. Stan Ray may be a veteran in the fashion scene, but only recently has it become available to the European market.

010. Kloke (AUS)

We might live thousands of miles away from the meccas of streetwear, but Australians are making serious waves in the industry with pioneering design and innovative style. Kloke’s alternate world of camouflage prints and tailored fits take inspiration from the post-World War One era and has become a staple go-to for many Aussies. Not only is the designer duo Amy and Adam massive advocates for functional attire, they’re also husband and wife. Kloke’s collection feature earthy tones and simple fits and are sourced locally in Australia. We’re even lucky enough to see Kloke’s apparel in the flesh at their store located in Smith Street, Fitzroy.