Focus On: Rier

Rier was established in 2018, based on a long research of different craftsmen, artisans, small family-run businesses and various fabric suppliers throughout Austria, Italy and France. The focus of this label is on natural materials, timeless quality, handcrafted items and a completely unisex wardrobe. Andreas Steiner is the owner and founder, and the label’s aesthetic is deeply personal – the designer himself was raised in South Tyrolean Alps. Steiner studied in Milan and London – before working for Prada and Louis Vuitton. At Rier, timelessness takes a central role. In respect of nature and a more conscious consumer behaviour, all designs have to respect longevity, aesthetically and quality wise.
Rier finds inspiration in the South Tyrolean countryside lifestyle and the contemporary urban environment. The appreciation for nature, heritage and savoir-faire take a central role in the working process of the brand, while pushing gender boundaries and the disruption of traditional codes. The heritage classic items refer to the love and appreciation for incredible artisans and small family run businesses throughout Austria, South Tyrol and northern Italy. Rier’s aim is to safeguard the incredible know-how and technical skills that are locally available – and often underrated.  As the designer sums it up, “I love the freedom of disrupting traditions and conferring a new and free spirited mindset to this historical items, shifting them in time and location between city and countryside.” Ultimate must-haves from the autumn-winter 2020 collection? All the beautiful pieces with authentic flower embroideries.
Disover the brand here!
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Focus On: Husbands Paris

First of all, I’m not a suit guy. I usually hate ties and don’t feel comfortable in blazers. My personal style is rather this: a vintage cashmere knit, Lemaire-ish, over-sized pants (a big no to any sweatpants!), a big coat and Raf Simons sneakers. I yawn at all Zegnas and Brionis (although I respect them), as men’s tailoring is quite uninspiring to me. But there’s one exception. And it’s Husbands Paris. Whenever I see their posts on Instagram, I’m obsessed. Everything is a dream, really, from their signature knitted ties (they might be an ideal option that wouldn’t make me feel out of breath) to the most delightful trench coats. You’ll find Husbands between the orbits of tailoring and fashion, plucking the craftsmanship from the former and stories from the latter to fill an otherwise uninhabited space of the industry with culture and style. The mind behind it, Nicolas Gabard, is as clued up on the technicalities of suit making as he is on the depths of Francis Bacon’s art. This understanding of two worlds has allowed him to birth a bespoke identity of design. In an interview with GQ, he says “craftsmanship is the secret of styleHusbands comes from an obsession with the body – of precision and details. We keep the full canvas of tailoring and its construction because it guarantees a lasting garment. Technically, we offer a perfect piece, but its life comes when the wearer composes something with it.” That’s where the culture comes in. Gabard views fashion as an outlet for “phantasm” and, after stitching on the roots of tailoring through one eye, he seals his designs with stories through the other. They originate from expressive interests, like llistening to The Smiths and Joy Division or watching films by Eric Rohmer. Husbands is proposing the thread of forever intriguing style icons, like Serge Gainsbourg, and then using it as a hook to dig people into exploring the possibilities of their own identities. The label sources its materials from England and manufactures its suits in Naples, but Paris is the base that provides an essential interplay with the individual’s state of mind. As Gabard says, “you don’t have to live the life of other people and that’s the same for clothing – you have to wear your own garments with your body, your culture, your dreams, your past, your phantasm.

Discover the brand here or visit their store in Paris on 57 Rue de Richelieu (in post-lockdown times, of course…).

Collage by Edward Kanarecki, photos sourced from Husbands Paris site and Instagram.

Focus On: Petit Kouraj

After discovering Petit Kouraj some time ago on Instagram, those bags are still on my mind, so I thought it’s worth sharing! The label – the name translates as “little courage” in Haitian Creole – is the creative child of fashion stylist, Nasrin Jean-Baptiste. Born in London to Haitian immigrants, Jean-Baptiste amassed over a decade’s worth of experience as an international fashion stylist before creating her brand. An innate desire to create something meaningful lead Jean-Baptiste to develop a luxury bag line full of unique personality; both lively and chic – qualities quite uncommon within conventional brands. Following a trip to her native country of Haiti in 2018, she was immediately inspired to do something that frightened her – acting from her core, and with the help of a little courage, Petit Kouraj was born. Based in Brooklyn (and handmade in Haiti in partnership with D.O.T Haiti, women-lead organization which works closely with local artisans to provide opportunities, education and vocation training), each of Petit Kouraj’s bags are lovingly handmade using organic cotton net bags, 100% leather handles and rayon fringe. Each strand of fringe is individually sewn 656 times to create the large bags and 342 times for the mini. It’s a labor of love, and it takes 8-12 hours of manual labour to complete a single bag. Petit Kouraj signature accessories are fun, whimsical stand-alone pieces of wearable art that celebrates love for haute-knitwear and identity. Shop them here! And here are some of my favourites:

All photos courtesy of Petit Couraj.

Focus On: Nicholas Daley

In support for the Black community, I continue celebrating and highlighting the talented individuals that shape fashion today. Take notes! Nicholas Daley’s keen sense for fashion is matched by his taste in music. After spring-summer 2020’s live jazz performance, he upped the ante for the autumn-winter 2020 line-up with a fashion show that kicked off an entire night of events at Earth, the landmark East London venue. His musician girlfriend Nabihah Iqbal came up with the title of the new collection, “The Abstract Truth,” and shared billing with U.K. dub legend Mala among other artists at the after-party. “I like my shows to be about community, it’s always a friends and family affair,” said Daley speaking backstage between sets. To warm up the crowd for the fashion portion of the evening, he enlisted a trio of young South London musicians – Rago Foot, Kwake Bass and Wu-Lu – to perform a live score. Borrowing from the world of experimental jazz and psychedelic rock, the music gave song to the wide-ranging references in the new collection, including afro-futurism and the black abstract art movement of the 1970s. He was particularly drawn to the work of Frank Bowler whose first major retrospective opened at the Tate this time last year. The Guyanese-born artist’s vibrant “pour paintings” came through most vividly in a show-stopping hooded poncho. Daley has a knack for spinning utility clothing with a sense of specialness. In place of camo, he used a handsome khaki green jacquard patterned with hand-drawn lines to elevate his fishing-style vests and Crombie coats. The designer’s commitment to supporting local craftspeople is ongoing. In addition to working with an English mill on the custom jacquard, he dug into the archives of Scottish tartan maker Loch Carron, unearthing two particularly striking mohair checks, both of which added a rich hand to slouchy button-down jackets and peg-leg pants. Those traditional British tropes were remixed with handfuls of neo-boho accessories – coin-trimmed necklaces and scarves, knitted crossbody bags and berets – and that magpie eclecticism felt fresh and contemporary. With models sporting Jimi Hendrix–inspired coifs, the groovier elements of the collection were nicely amplified. The musicians looked just as cool, dressed in all black and with Daley’s new oversize baker boy hats and genius coin-trimmed sneakers both made in partnership with Adidas.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Focus On: Duro Olowu

In support for the Black community, I continue celebrating and highlighting the talented individuals that shape fashion today. Take notes! Duro Olowu‘s bold fashion needs no introduction. Born in Lagos to a Nigerian father and Jamaican mother, Duro Olowu spent his childhood travelling between Nigeria and Europe. From an early age, his enthusiasm for fashion was inspired by the unexpected mix of fabrics, textures and draping techniques of the clothing worn by the women that surrounded him. The designer started his eponymous label at the end of 2004, and up to now he’s one of London’s favourite designers with a loyal, art-world-focused clientele (in a way, similar to Mona Kowalska’s now-closed cult A Détacher in New York). Alluring silhouettes, sharp tailoring, original prints juxtaposed with luxurious vintage fabrics in “off beat” yet harmonious combinations are Olowu’s signature. For spring-summer 2020 he drew on the work of Françoise Gilot, who is perhaps most famous for being Picasso’s romantic partner, though the 97-year-old French painter, art critic, and author is a creative force in her own right. Olowu came across a recently reissued collection of her travel sketches, and her colorful impressions of India, Senegal, and Italy from the late 1970s and early ’80s informed his new collection. One particularly eye-catching coat in that series was spliced with panels of pale pink made from vintage interior fabric that Olowu came across on a trip to Lille, in northern France. It was upcycling done with a sophisticated hand. Then, if you look at Olowu’s autumn-winter 2019 line-up, “cosmopolitan”, “chic” and “Afrique” were the three words that the designer used to describe the spirit the collection, which was inspired by Miriam Makeba, the fearless South African singer and civil rights activist. Makeba, who was known as Mama Africa to her fans, possessed a wardrobe that was purpose-built as a celebration of African pride at a time when her country was in the grip of apartheid. You could see her influence right off the bat, in a graphic knit coat with patch pockets and detachable snood (Makeba was rarely seen without a towering head wrap or hat). That motif was repeated to flattering effect on an A-line maxi dress that could have been pulled from her closet. The world of Olowu is eclectic and rich, and each collection tells a unique story. Induldge yourself in his idiosyncratic, feminine and timeless work by browsing his previous collections on his site. And if you’re in London, visit his boutique on 14 Masons Yard!

Collages by Edward Kanarecki, look-book photos from different Duro Olowu‘s collections.