You're In The Boys Club Now

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Yesterday I mentioned an idea for a new blog, but instead I've decided to sporadically post those ideas right here. I'm really intrigued by men's clothing--specifically the tailoring of it. Every since I was a freshmen in college and started collecting GQ magazines. I remember shuffling the feet a little faster when I spotted the new issue at one of those overpriced airport snack shops when I was at BWI. This excitement is coming from a girl who used to rock her turquoise MC Hammer pants and jheri curl (cue the laughter and stink faces lol) Instead of subscribing to GQ, however, I somehow convinced myself that getting it straight off the rack deemed it more prize-worthy/special. Crazy, I know. But after a while something about the mag became too standardized-- too one-note--so I started thumbing through other magazines like VMAN, DUMMY, and some really amazing Japanese men's fashion books.

All this came at a great time, as I was able to use my insight on my brother, who clearly had to step his game up from XL Sean John T-shirts and played out Karl Khani. For a minute he was walking around looking like a hanger, but today he's one of the best dressed men I know, incorporating very impressive details and new fabrics into the wardrobe. I'm sure he'd give me the serious side-eye for these comments :)

I've been wanting to sporadically share a few male designers/stylists/individuals who seem to have the perfect balance between dressing smart and infusing their style with a bit of quirkiness without the pretension. I'm no expert in fashion by any means, but I can spot a good cufflink, especially one made by Dunhill ;) So with all that said....on to the boys!

First up is none other than Taz Arnold of Sa-Ra! Sa-Ra is a fly Hip Hop production group. Period. The Hollywood Recordings album was sick. "Rosebuds" and "And If" play in rotation on the iPod, but I digress.... Eclectic and random don't begin to describe this man's style, but let Taz tell it, each piece he wears fits into a greater historical context, specifically Hip Hop's history. He's the epitome of the 80s child, still rocking every florescent color at once and topping it off with a contrasting print, but he makes it look so chill. I'm anxious to see this new clothing line he's been talking about if for no other reason than see what he says about each pieces' history.

The next person, who is arguably one of the best new designers/stylists, is Mobolaji Dawodu (pictured right in first image). I'm sitting here (present day) thinking how I could not have known about this guy while I'm chilling with him and his cousin in BK (summer 2006), offering him a piece of gum on the train, and (not) sharing drinks at a bar in Manhattan. Seriously. My good friend E is Mobolaji's cousin, and she, too, is one of the best dressed ladies I know. We were out to see Leela James perform in Prospect Park one night, and long story short we miss the concert and end up meeting up with Mobolaji in Brooklyn. Off the bat he's an incredibly chill and friendly person, but somehow manages to have enough energy for all three of us. His style is undeniably part of his cool, and it's more than evident that dressing others is second nature. When not globe trotting and dressing everyone from models in the states to musicians in South Africa for The Fader, Mr. Dawodu has been constructing his own line of fashion inspired by African fabric, tapestry, and lifestyle. He reps hard for Fela Kuti, too :)

"Nom de Guerre" is the perfect example of fine tailoring that emphasizes form and fit. Their Fall/Winter 2008 collection is an homage to the military uniform, and it's flawless. The jackets are perfectly cut and shaped to a man's waist without being too bulky. The shirts and sweaters, in cool blues and greys, are kept classic, but with slight embellishments of added buttons on the sleeves. The "Nom de Guerre" Spring/Summer line is also great because the designers have channeled the blue collared worker of the early American century. Fitted denim jeans and rolled up sleeves with suspenders reign supreme. The appreciation for the collection can be found in the seams, the tailoring, and the cut of sleeves, and the fact that this design company takes time to incorporate historical periods with a hint of nostalgia.

photo credits: Taz: Sa-Ra online and Flickr; Mobolaji: and; Nom de Guerre:


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