The independent brands that should be on your radar
Keep up with the world’s best dressed with our guide to the latest and greatest independent menswear brands
As quality and sustainability move higher up our shopping agenda it is interesting to note how many fashion brands now fail to meet those requirements and are struck off our shopping lists. John Lewis & Partners has a long and storied history of providing both sustainbility and quality – dare we say it, before they became fashion buzzwords – and as a result we now have a suprising meeting of minds. The old veteran now finds its closest fashion allies are a host of young, independent fashion brands who focus on quality, sustainability, unique pieces and tighter edits. From Garbstore, the London-founded brand whose exclusive collection is new to John Lewis & Partners, to cult Japanese brand Edwin, meet four cutting edge indie brands that you might not have expected to find here, but will be very glad you did.
Founded in Japan in 1947 by Yonehachi Tsunemi, a denim expert who imported jeans from the US, Edwin became the first Japanese brand to create domestically manufactured denim during the 1960s. While the label has grown globally since then, it has stayed true to its Japanese roots and passion for innovation, exclusive fabrication, unique use of technology and continual progression in design and fit. It’s best loved for its denim, which is is known for its standout, robust quality, and has recently moved into modern staples such as sweatshirts, hoodies and T-shirts, too.
British-founded Les Basics is all about elevating menswear, turning everyday basics from simple neccessities into statement pieces that promise to garner attention. The brand chooses to forgo trends and focus on their namesake, the basics, where the spotlight is on the reinvention of timeless style staples to fit a contemporary, athletic aesthetic. With longevity and attention to detail at the forefront of everything the brand does, nothing is left to chance. With the exception of their Japanese-made zips, all fabrics come from within a 15km radius of the Portuguese factory and each piece is made with the all-important balance of comfort and statement style through a loose, relaxed silhouette.
When it comes to consciously-crafted, homegrown brands, Garbstore continuously sits at the top of the list. The London-based brand, who have just launched an exclusive collection at John Lewis & Partners, is all about unique design, well-made pieces and a conscious nod towards the past. Inspired by a combination of British, French and Japanese design, Garbstore re-imagines traditional menswear and fine-tunes it to sit in with today's contemporary cultures. The detail-orientated line avoids trends and instead is based on the idea of evolving tradition through menswear, with pieces such as statement rugby tops, camp collar shirts and bold knitwear.
Albam Utility, Manchester-founded Albam’s newest capsule collection, is specfically designed to balance both style and function. As the name suggests, these are clothes firmly rooted in the utility trend, that catch-all term which translates roughly as ‘clothes which will look good anywhere, any time’. Working with skilled artisans from all over the world with longevity and statement designs at the forefront of the line, Albam Utility stands out as a must-have for your smart casual wardrobe through everyday shirts, cargo-inspired trousers, workwear silhouettes and oversized outerwear.