London’s turn for tradeshow action as once again, doors open on Jacket Required. Bigger and better each year, the event aims to showcase “a carefully edited selection of premium menswear casuals.” Now on its seventh edition, the show will takeover the sprawling industrial Truman’s Brewery across two floors, covering footwear, accessories, denim, technical outwear and everything in between. As well as the usual big hitters and impressive independents; from Levi’s Vintage Clothing to Kings of Indigo, Mark McNairy to Harry Stedman; they welcome a host of brands making their Jacket Required debut for Spring/Summer 2015. Here profiled, a selection of familiar and unfamiliar names to keep an eye on in preparation for the main event
Engineered for Motion
Donrad Duncan, formerly of Victorinox and Ma.Strum combines his technical wear skills with tailored, luxury casuals to create Engineered for Motion. Nylon-poly weave blazers, garment-dyed chinos and 600 fill premium goose down bombers on offer, a slicker take on high-spec activewear.
Teva turn up with a selection of their sports sandals, no longer the reserve of dads gone hiking, the brand have gone from strength to strength in the “menswear” world thanks to their affordable, comfortable Summer-friendly styles. Print, brights and plenty of straps. Good stuff.
What needs to be said about this classic American watch brand? A regular on these pages providing solid timepieces for 160 years, Jacket Required get the exclusive on a celebration watch seen for the first time at the show alongside a selection from the best of their sizable range.
Italian brand Barleycorn concentrate on the classic, timeless end of the sneaker spectrum. Easy to wear casual shoes finished by hand using the finest leathers, our personal favorite is the Classic 781, a chunky old-school ankle boot with a comfortable Vibram Gumlite sole. Spot-on summer footwear.
Lifestyle accessory brand Catherine Dang, from, you guessed it, Catherine Dang, immediately caught our eye. The Australian-born designer makes everything in her London studio, Italian calf leather backpacks, wallets and carriers, crafted with care and finished with linen lining and quality Swiss Riri hardware. Soft shades and pared back designs throughout.
We’re pleased to see outerwear specialists Hancock VA appearing on the brand roster. Using Thomas Hancock’s 1843 patented bonding method and applying it to contemporary raincoats, each piece is made in Scotland by hand. Following successful collaborations with Converse and Missoni, the brand will unveil the latest from their growing line.
Article By Ben Jones
In the modern era, men are becoming more and more aware of the importance of accessorising. Yet the typical everyday male isn’t a dandy and doesn’t want to adorn every part of him with superfluous items that serve no purpose, just for the sake of being ‘individual’.
A good bag, however, has quickly developed into a practical modern must-own, with style-conscious gent’s realising that stuffing their pockets full of keys, smartphones, loose change and wallets not only ruins their perfectly crafted silhouette, but the linings of their beloved trousers. Not only that, with the average male’s ‘daily essentials’ list expanding to include everything from umbrellas and sports supplements to notebooks and tablets, a bag is now more often than not a necessity, rather than a conscious choice.
Over previous years we have seen totes, backpacks and holdalls trend within the industry, which all have one thing in common: a large capacity that can fit in a lot of items. Great if you have to lug around your gym kit or are going away for the weekend, but not quite as important if you only need to carry a few specific work-related items each day.
With this in mind, a new smaller and more streamlined design has risen to prominence, after being spotted both on and off the runways at the spring/summer 2014 fashion weeks. Yes, the document holder (or folio) is set to become the next big accessory trend for men.
The Document Holder
Until now, the document holder has traditionally been associated with womenswear and therefore deemed too feminine – something that hasn’t been helped by the media adopting ridiculous names like the ‘man clutch’, ‘mutch’ or ‘murse’ to describe the style.
In addition, many men seem to have a hard time overcoming the thought that this type of bag isn’t particularly practical, due to the absence of a handle, putting the folio firmly in the aforementioned ‘superfluous’ category, and something only used for accessorising.
Yet for those that like to take a minimal and pared-back approach to their style (and life in general), the majority of document holders feature a clean, streamlined appearance that epitomises this ethos. It’s also much less stuffy than a briefcase, but more refined than your typical messenger bag or backpack, offering a nice balance of smart and casual.
So, if you’re looking for something that will store and protect your tablet/smartphone, keys and business documents on a daily basis, a mid-sized document holder looks undeniably professional and will add an interesting dynamic to any look, while retaining a sense of masculinity.
On The Runways: SS14
Accessories are not often the focal point of designer collections – they’re generally there to add to or accentuate an outfit – yet several SS14 showcases put the document holder front and centre, with our favourite examples coming from Dior Homme and Fendi.
In particular, Dior Homme excelled with their sleek and simple range of folios – it’s this kind of effortless simplicity that, in our eyes, makes a beautifully crafted leather document holder so desirable.
The collection oozed sophistication and class, but managed to inject an idiosyncratic twist by featuring leather folios in sumptuous tones of deep burgundy and black with a modern zip fastening.
These document holders were designed to complement the overall aesthetic and monochrome palette utilised throughout. Dior Homme also included some boxier document holder-briefcase hybrids with handles on the top and a clasp fastening, for a slightly more businesslike take on the trend:
Fendi, on the other hand, gave the document holder a casual spin in its collection, which was inspired by the concept of travelling across a sun-drenched desert.
The outfits were more laid-back and relaxed compared to those seen at Dior Homme, but the folio slotted in just as seamlessly. The colours utilised throughout the collection echoed the stark, charred feel of the desert, with bleached beige, burnt orange and deep mustard yellow making up the core palette.
Some of the flat, envelope-style folios featured contained wrist handles to negate the practicality aspect, while others were even fitted with longer detachable shoulder straps that could be worn draped across the body like a messenger bag.
One key example came in vibrant yellow, black and orange snakeskin leather, demonstrating that print and pattern can also be successfully applied to this accessory:
Elsewhere, Raf Simons’ selection of document holders mirrored the bold clothing on show, with many coming complete with large colourful slogans printed across them for a more statement feel:
Another collection that took the folio in a slightly different direction came from Z Zegna. Their document holders were made from beautifully supple leather which was folded over and rolled up, both reducing the size of the accessory and creating an interesting shape with softer, curved edges.
Coming in smooth, textured and quilted monochrome leather, they were paired with relaxed, fuller-cut tailoring for a stylishly louche look:
Getting It Wrong: Lanvin
Of course, with any trend there are bound to be those designers that get it wrong – and in our opinion, Lanvin were a prime example this season.
The design house bravely applied bold colours and patterns to their SS14 accessory collection, but the small and boxy document holders sent down the runway were just too feminine to appeal to the everyday male. In fact, several of these designs were reminiscent of women’s make-up bags.
Even the slightly larger, flatter envelope-style folios were too small and looked like female clutch purses rather than masculine document holders:
Looking Forward: SS15 Collections
The document holder trend looks set to pick up steam as we move into 2015, if the SS15 collections are anything to go by.
The highlight of London Collections: Men, fashion powerhouse Burberry Prorsum included document holders in a plethora of vivid colours, complete with graffiti-esque text, within their Bruce Chatwin-inspired showcase:
Other key examples included Prada’s triangular-shaped document holders, which offered a contrast to the traditional envelop style, as well as Emporio Armani’s sleek and sophisticated black leather versions, which were paired with sharp tailoring and sports luxe pieces:
Press & Public Reaction
this is a trend that has quickly gathered pace after the document holder was snapped tucked under the arm of many of the stylish gents at various fashion shows over the past few months.
Interestingly, these men weren’t models or celebrity attendees just waiting to be photographed at said event – they were normal, fashion-conscious men like you and I – which is often an indicator of the success and popularity of a trend:
But it’s not only street style photographers and online fashion bloggers who are backing the folio as an alternative to more traditional bags – the fashion press has also been lapping it up.
One of the biggest advocates has been Men’s Health. Although not traditionally viewed as a fashion bible, the impact of the folio has not gone unnoticed by the publication, which recently featured an article titled ‘Six of the Best Document Holders’ that included a neon orange Ted Baker folio, camouflage print Givenchy version and striped canvas design from the Wooyoungmi x Mr Porter capsule collection.
Elsewhere, The Guardian road tested a selection of products from British brand Holdall & Co. – who stock a wide range of classic leather folios – with very favourable results, while Topman’s online team proclaimed tan leather document holders as the ideal accessory for “the man with timeless style and indulgent taste”.
London’s Evening Standard supplement, ES Magazine, also recently included a piece on document holders, labelling them as the accessory of choice for SS14. The author very much supported the use of folios as an alternative to carrying individual items such as keys, wallets, smartphones etc. in your pocket, which can create an ugly bump in the trouser leg.
However, as GQ magazine rightly point out, if any document holder can conceivably be classed as a men’s clutch (‘mutch’) or purse (‘murse’) then the offending item should be immediately vetoed. Folios and document holders are designed to be sleek yet sizeable; anything smaller than A4 should be avoided at all costs.
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