Men’s Fashion 101: 10 Brands You Need to Know

As a self-proclaimed fashion guy, you think you know everything about style. You know the difference between cotton and cotton twill as well as the insider opinion that wearing white after Labor Day isn’t necessarily a fashion faux pas. But do you know designers? And the awkward silence ensues. Sure, you may know the basics: Ralph Lauren, Christian Dior, and Giorgio Armani.

However, the world is full of designers who don’t have a bustling empire with fragrances and celebrity endorsements (yet). Not only is getting to know these obscure designers a great way to find some cherish-able pieces, but your seemingly encyclopedic fashion knowledge will garner you as your friend group’s go-to style guy. And for any dress-conscious guy, isn’t that the dream? Time to brush up on your fashion IQ and read on for 10 designers you need to know about.

1. Neil Barrett

2014-spring-font-b-neil-b-font-font-b-barrett-b-font-black-and-white-colorEven though Neil Barrett’s eponymous line dates back to 1999, the designer has an extensive resume. Born in South West England, Barrett studied design at two of the top fashion schools: Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design as well as the Royal College of Art in London. Between his experience at Gucci, spearheading Prada menswear’s collection, and being dubbed creative director of Puma Italia line in 2003, his very own label is just the tip of the sartorial iceberg. So now that you’re impressed by the man, let’s talk about the clothes.

For starters, they’re perfect for the minimalist guy who isn’t afraid to make a statement: Think trimmed coats in deconstructed camo prints or fitted turtlenecks adorned with punchy graphics. But before you write off Barrett’s designs as showy, each statement print or material is featured in subdued neutrals like black, grey, or olive green.

2. Public School

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They say that two brains are better than one, and that’s been proven true by New York-based brand Public School. The cult brand is a joint effort between street-wear designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne. While the brand was launched in 2008, the designers didn’t hit their stride until 2013. In just a few years, the brand has won a litany of awards: the CFDA Swarovski Award for menswear in 2013, the CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year Award in 2014, and the International Woolmark prize earlier this year. Extra cool points? The designer duo recently signed on to take over Donna Karan’s contemporary line, DKNY. As for the clothes, Public School’s street-wear aesthetic is a far cry from your dad’s threads.

Twill trousers are relaxed with a tapered hem and a drawstring closure. As for the accessories? Think leather sneakers that are far too fancy for the court and platform lace-ups that add some pizazz to your standard office kicks.

3. Gitman Brothers

Hill-Side_Gitman-Bros-Vintage_0000Step aside, J.Crew and Brooks Brothers: There’s a (not-so) new office attire alternative in town. While the American brand dates back to the 1930s, this brand is more modern and fashion-forward than the brand’s heritage background suggests. Prioritizing quality above all things, Gitman Brothers‘ specialty lies in button-downs and ties — tactile silk, knit, and wool ties in dreamy jewel tones and standard stripes as well as cool geometrical prints.

As for the shirts, the brand boasts 100% cotton Oxford shirts with signature details like chalk buttons and double-track stitching that are stylish with a suit jacket or relaxed pair of chinos. If you want to sport these after hours, swap the brand’s traditional solids and stripes and opt for Gitman’s selection of cheetah shirts, flannel, and Navajo-inspired prints.

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