Sunday, June 28, 2009

Obakki : Raising the bar for Vancouver Menswear this coming Fall

A few weeks ago I attended Obakki's FW 2009 show. Obakki is a Vancouver-based international design house that markets both mens and womens wear. Their men's line is very much understated yet brings about a spirit of strength and masculinity. Like other menswear brands such John Varvatos and Alexander McQueen, this local brand shines in the originality and refined details of their pieces. If you haven't seen their collections, visit Obakki online.

Some key trends to keep in mind for Fall:

1) Plaid will be a staple. Although the show had an obsessive amount of plaid pieces, one plaid shirt in your closet would be enough. Plaid shirts can look great with a plain colored cardigan, sweater, vest, or jacket.

2) Slim Straight/Skinny Trousers remain. They're hanging out for one more season if not longer. Only wear if you are slim or skinny. If you're round and short, stick with a regular straight pant. Herringbone, Houndstooth and Tweed are still popular fabrics for pants.

3) Outerwear can go Rock and Roll or Outdoorsy. Leather jackets are making a strong comeback. To bring out your inner rockstar, get a motorcycle jacket in calf skin leather. Surely, this piece will be hot one this season. Oversized parkas are also going to be seen a lot more. Made from ballistic nylon or recycled polyester shells and lined with faux fur, this item is mandatory is rainy cities such as the ones in the Pacific Northwest.

Look out for a full Fall-Winter trend report straight from New York Fashion Week as we get closer to the season. In the meantime, make use of the boardshorts and enjoy the summer.

All images by Kevin Kinisky

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Three Degrees of Wearing White: Which level are you at?

It's still very rare to find a pair of white pants in a guy's closet. Let's face it. Wearing white is such of a fashion statement that most guys are intimidated to wear it. And the key to breaking that wall down, is really having a good understanding of how best to pull it off. By the time you're done reading this, you should be making a trip to your favorite mens store looking for your first pair of white pants.

The rule of thumb for wearing white is creating balance
. Pairing your white pants with the right shirts, shoes, and accessories can make you look sophisticated, classy, and luxurious. On the other hand, the wrong combination can bring out the Old Man Sailor in you. So here are the rules.

1) For the beginner, get initiated with a pair of white denims. Like your regular blue denims, its all about fit. Stay away from wearing Skinny whites. Stick to straight or boot cut denims. These cuts give you versatility to easily dress your denim up or down.

One of my picks this season is Rivet De Cru's "The Michael" jean. This stylish white 5-pocket denim comes with flap on back pockets, a button fly closure, and Rivet De Cru's signature pocket stitching. This jean works well with guys who have the "hockey butt" but also gives skinnier guys a nice comfortable slouched look. This jean can easily be dressed up with a nice black dress shirt or dressed down with a nice polo. Shoe options depending on the look include pristine white sneakers, loafers, or laceups.

2) Once you've broken in your white denims, its time to move on to white linen pants. Anything made from linen always comes with a self regulating cooling mechanism. The nature of this fabric makes it the ultimate choice for pants, shirts, scarves, hats during the summer months. You can easily pull a sophisticated look with a navy pinstripe french cuffed shirt, sand suede shoes, and paper fedora.

3) Now that you've built your confidence up and are ready to kick your white wardrobe up a notch, explore a white linen suit. Again, easily dressed up or down with a contrasting colored dress shirt or v-neck for a more casual look. For suiting, keep the fit tailored and modern. The length of your sleeve should sit on your thumb knuckle. And you know your suit jacket is too tight when you start seeing creases across the first two buttons of the jacket.

White symbolizes cool, relaxed, purity, cleanliness and innocence. It makes Spring colors come to life. It makes a great canvas for patterns, shapes and lines. Most importantly, it makes every man's wardrobe contemporary this season. No longer feeling intimidated? I thought so.

Wanna Walk on Air this Season? Get Simple's Gumshoe

Back in the 80's there was a TV show called the "Greatest American Hero". The theme song called "Believe It or Not" peaked at number 2 on Billboard's Hot 100, spending 18 weeks on the Top 40. The chorus goes "Believe it or not, I'm walking on air. I never thought I could feel so free. Flying away on a wing and a prayer. Who could it be? Believe it or not it's just me."

I just got a pair of Simple's Gumshoe. And believe it or not, I was walking on air. This shoe has to be the most comfortable shoes I've put on -- EVER! I picked up the shoes at the EPIC Sustainable Living Show in Vancouver a few weeks ago, and have truly put it to the test.

Simple is leading the footwear industry with their commitment to making 100% sustainable products. There is a lot of hype in the fashion industry that its pretty difficult to find great articles of sustainable clothing that you can live with. Well constructed and comfortable shoes made from recycled materials are just rare. But Simple's Gumshoe, just like the hope I have for a greener world, gives hope that more cool products are made from reusable materials.

The Gumshoe is smart as it is stylish.
This vegan-friendly shoe boasts a natural and breathable fabric upper made from hemp, organic cotton linings, and a durable sole made from old auto tire scraps. Although the sole could use a bit more grip, the shoe is a perfect summer shoe. The thickly padded footbed made from carpet padding gives you at-home comfort every step of the way. I wore the shoe for 8 hours straight. The heel is made from recycled PET (that's plastic bottles) and latex (natural rubber), completing the air like feel of the insole.

A Footwear Plus Green Award recipient, Simple has created a line of shoes that incorporate not only natural based fabrics like hemp, bamboo and cotton, but also other materials like recycled inner tubes, bicycle tires, and plastic bottles. They also have a line called Planet Walkers that use eco-certified leathers and suedes.

No hype is neccessary for this shoe, as it will soon make its way to every man's shoe collection simply on performance, style and quality merits. It's already in mine . And lastly, this shoe easily converts into a slipper with its innovative collapsible heel. So look up your favorite store and get a pair, because believe it or not its like walking on air!

For more information on Simple and to view their entire collection go here

John Varvatos' ARTISAN: a MUST HAVE fragrance this season

Miriam Webster defines an Artisan as someone who practices a trade or a handicraft. A true Artisan is someone who takes that practice, molds it, modernizes it, and calibrates it to create a piece that stands the test of time. This defines menswear designer John Varvatos and his debut fragrance ARTISAN. Known for timeless and fashion forward mens ensembles, his imprint can be noted in this fragrance as well.

Photo by Richard Phibbs

Spring/Summer fragrances for men are suppose to be light, pure, fresh with notes of citrus or blossoms. Fall/Winter fragrances are woody, musky, with hints of vanilla, caramel, and spice. Just a few sprays of the ARTISAN will take you to a fruit orchard filled with notes of oranges, clementines, and tangerines. Combine that image with a trip to a spice market, where your nose is tickled by the scents of marjoram, Indian Muraya, wild thyme and lavender That kind of a masculine citrus & herbal blend makes it a "must-have" fragrance this season.

Another great thing about this fragrance is its longevity. The scent doesn't simply go away. During the course of a day, most colognes evaporate leaving one scentless. This doesn't. In fact, the ARTISAN's notes shift from tart and fruity Sicilian orange clementines to North African orange blossoms and finally to a light musky Georgy wood. A perfect companion for those day and evening events!

Lastly, what can be more manly than a flask wrapped in caramel colored, hand woven rattan. Add to that an antique black finished bottle cap with a debossed logo, everything about this prodcut speaks John Varvatos' notierety for clean lines and casual elegance. This fragrance is not hard to wear.

From a day at the beach, a summer party on the deck of yacht, to a fancy gala this season, the ARTISAN brings out luxury and chic in every man.

The ARTISAN is available at freestanding John Varvatos boutiques across the US, as well as in better specialty stores throughout the world.