Siki Im

It is hardly a secret that the men’s fashion coming out of the United States is largely governed by preppy iterations, a resurgence of Americana, and a lot of sportswear. Most designers churn out athletic-style jackets, upscale sweatpants and denim, suits and wares constructed from jersey materials, and this has come to be indicative of the U.S. aesthetic.

Cloak founder, former-Versace designer and most recently, the founder of his eponymous label (which consists of both menswear and some womenswear), Alexandre Plokhov put the menswear environment in the U.S. in perspective recently, saying: “I have this ongoing rant about preppy clothing and I don’t understand why American menswear is obsessed with remaking the same styles every two years.” While there is a place in many of our hearts for thee common themes that dominate American men’s fashion (or what may be better described as menswear, for the most past), there are some brands that deviate from the norm. There are a few that truly put NYC on the map as the home of innovative men’s fashion, and these are worth discussing, not only because they are going against the grain, but because these are visionaries in their own right. Here are just a few of them …

Siki Im designed under both Karl Lagerfeld and Helmut Lang before launching his own label in 2009. Aside from being NYC’s claim to conceptual men’s fashion fame, showing collections, or mini-stories shared via catwalk as opposed to depiction in print, that defy the status quo, Siki Im has another strong point. He has managed to balance his intellectual approach to clothing (think: minimal, hospital scrub-like garments, washcloth caps and psych ward slippers for S/S 2014) with wearability and dare I say, commerciality to an extent. Designers need stockists and sales, and Im exemplifies that cerebral studies of fashion can be married with sellability, and that such non-traditional wares are a welcome addition (and in some cases, distraction) from a market so heavily dominated by preppy sportswear.


Duckie Brown

Founded in 2001 by Steven Cox and Daniel Silver, Duckie Brown is an ever-evolving take on modern menswear. The designers describe their brand as a collection of wares that enable men to “dress beautifully.” This consists of traditional menswear elements put together in a less-than-traditional manner. For instance, the design duo shows somewhat expected pieces, such as the Italian hand-tailored jackets they use as a grounding element every season, and then some not-so-expected pieces, which took the form of lace/tweed jackets, basketball “skirts”, crop top Polos, and halter tops for Spring 2014 – from which their upcoming womenswear collection will likely be derived.’s Tim Blanks put the essence of Duckie Brown almost perfectly following their F/W 2013 show, saying: “It wouldn’t be Duckie Brown if there wasn’t some element that took that sobriety, flipped it on its pointy little head, and fucked with it.” Enough said.


Carlos Campo

Honduras-born, New York-based designer Carlos Campos, who is continually inspired by the visual harmony of uniforms, offers an inviting middle ground. Campos offers a refreshing take on men’s fashion, while not completely cutting himself off from the athletic-influences of his stateside peers. In fact, his most recent collection included clear references to soccer (or football in most cases). However, thanks to his strong hand at color and prints, Campos’ aesthetic manages to remain slightly outside of the status quo, garnering him fans all over the globe, creating a synergy with his worldly take on men’s fashion. The Carlos Campos man ranges from sophisticated sportsman to suave gentlemen (the cut and construction of his suits rival any of the greats) to clean cut British rock star (think: that floral print-on-print suit from Fall 2013). And in case that’s not enough, I think it is safe to say he does color better than anyone else in his league.


Alexandre Plokhov

Alexandre Plokhov, known largely for his brand Cloak, which closed up shop in 2007, was welcomed back by cult worshipers when he launched his namesake collection in 2011. The Russian-born designer describes his AP brand as “coming from the same place as Cloak” but with a self-proclaimed sense of refinement that comes with age. He certainly fills a void (despite many brands’ attempts at drapey silhouettes and a moody color palette). Maybe it is the Eastern European references that work so well or the fact that he started before the majority and strives to provide clothes that are not disposable or so readily available, but either way, Plokhov’s experimental attempts at men’s fashion work and are an asset to the U.S. scene.