MW Fashion
TEO VAN DEN BROEKE,-STYLE AND GROOMING DIRECTOR, BRITISH GQ

THE NEW WAVE OF MENSWEAR IS ALL ABOUT CASUAL, EASY, SUSTAINABLE PIECES. MEET THE ECO-CONSCIOUS BRANDS CREATING OUR NEW EVERYDAY UNIFORM…

Over the past decade or so, there has been a noticeable shift in the way in which men are dressing. In the early noughties, Don Draper and his army of sartorially blessed Mad Men dictated the taut tailoring that defined our wardrobes; now, fewer than 10% of British men still wear a suit to work. It’s a change that has, in part, been responsible for the burgeoning ‘athleisure’ trend of the past few years, and with it a move away from suiting towards tracksuits and trainers.

Indie Fashion
Indie Fashion

The reason? Pithy portmanteau aside, the athleisure trend is really a response to the changing nature of the global workplace. Following the financial crisis of 2008 and the insatiable rise of the gig economy, the past few years have proven that it’s no longer necessary for many men to wear tailoring during the working day. After all, what use do you have for a Savile Row suit if you’re running a million-pound internet business from your kitchen table?

The reality is, however (and take heed, Mark Zuckerberg et al), that even if as a society we’re leaning away from formality towards comfort, it’s still possible to look stylish, smart and respectable while wearing more casual garments. It’s a point that a number of new, independent menswear brands have started to capitalise upon – and they’re as focused on the impact of their production processes on society as a whole as they are on the cut of their jackets and trousers.

Indie Fashion

Take Far Afield, for instance. Founded by brothers Mark and Chris Scholes, the brand’s stylish basics in muted, summery hues are inspired by global travel, and as an organisation, it strives for ethical and sustainable business practices.

‘We work with a variety of factories in both Europe and Asia, where we regularly pay visits to ensure that our expectations of high standards are met,’ says Chris.

What are the key pieces of the season? ‘Printed linen camp-collar shirts have been our summer staple for years, and for SS19 we have some amazing, unique prints,’ he says. The brand’s rust-hued, long-sleeved shirt provides the perfect pop of colour for the season, and would look as good worn with a suit as it does with chinos and sneakers. Vintage-inspired knits also feature. ‘Wear them with some slim chinos or tailored shorts, for a contemporary, smart casual look,’ Chris adds.

Indie Fashion
Indie Fashion

"THESE LABELS FOCUS ON THE IMPACT OF PRODUCTION PROCESSES AS MUCH AS THE CUTS OF THEIR JACKETS"

 

TEO VAN DEN BROEKE
STYLE AND GROOMING DIRECTOR OF BRITISH GQ

These labels focus on the impact of production processes as much as the cuts of their jackets

Teo van den Broeke,-Style and grooming director of British GQ
Indie Fashion
Indie Fashion
Indie Fashion

Founded in Sweden in 1891, the brilliantly minimal outerwear label Tretorn is keeping pace with sustainable innovations with the launch of its Eco Essentials initiative. The brand’s aim is that by 2020, 50% of its outerwear (think technical jackets in understated hues) will be made from recycled materials and be biodegradable. It will be no small effort.

Indie Fashion

When we asked Tretorn’s marketing manager, Rachael Newbury, to reveal the brand’s standout pieces for SS19, she pinpointed a functional-yet-elegant sage-green cagoule, which comes with some pretty impressive eco credentials. ‘This is a 100% biodegradable light rain jacket. We are inspired by nature’s circular ecosystem,’ she says. ‘It’s created to be accepted back as soil. We make our new rainwear fabric from plants such as sugar cane and tapioca.’

"IT HAS BEEN EASIER TO DRESS AS COMFORTABLY, STYLISHLY AND CONSCIENTIOUSLY"

 

TEO VAN DEN BROEKE
STYLE AND GROOMING DIRECTOR OF BRITISH GQ

It has never been easier to dress as comfortably, stylishly and conscientiously

Teo van den Broeke,,-style and grooming director of British GQ
Indie Fashion
Indie Fashion

One of my favourite new homegrown brands in the eco-friendly-yet-style savvy category is Wax London. Founded by Rich Singh, Steffy Neceva and Tom Holmes, the label combines low-key Scandinavian styling with UK-based manufacturing processes.

‘Wax London’s focus doesn’t just lie in creating covetable everyday wear,’ Steffy told me, ‘but also in establishing ways of giving back to charities, producing inspiring content through our journal and creating job opportunities for skilled workers in the UK.’

Indie Fashion
Indie Fashion
Indie Fashion

And what of Wax’s key pieces for SS19? ‘We consider the Navarino mac our first true endeavour into what later became Wax London,’ says Steffy. ‘Manufactured in our hometown, London, it has now become the staple piece of the brand. Originally cut from a wax-coated cotton, it’s now cut in various fabrics from the UK and Italy.’

Personally, I’m particularly taken with Wax London’s palm-print cabana shirt, which combines the trends for both print and for Cuban-collar short-sleeved shirts, and would look great worn under a slim-cut, navy blue seersucker suit.

The good news, in short, is that it has never been easier to dress as comfortably, stylishly and – perhaps most importantly – conscientiously, than it is now. Your wardrobe (not to mention the planet) will thank you for it.

Related Articles

Why Wax London is topping our new-season wish list this spring

Championing quality craftsmanship at accessible prices, this London-based menswear brand is one to watch

Spotlight on Gloverall

Discover more about this iconic outerwear brand

Modern tailoring: the suits to take you through party season

With premium fabrics, sophisticated shades and contemporary cuts, look to this season’s modern tailoring for an effortless style upgrade