The distinction between formal, business wear and sportswear used to be a staunch and abrupt line, and menswear fell on one side or the other. But the birth of high fashion street wear, the transcending style of athleisure, and such gender-defying labels as Astrid Andersen and Hood By Air, have broadened the menswear market significantly.

 

On track to reach $40 billion in sales by 2019, and posting year-over-year growth, menswear is a bright spot in the fashion industry. With the third season of New York Fashion Week: Men’s kicking off today, and the spring 2017 men’s shows already concluded in London, Milan and Paris, here is a primer on some of the most exciting new brands, from re-imagined classics, to the fringes of postmodern design.

 

John Elliott

 

Elliott sent his first designs to Nike at the tender age of 8, and founded his label in 2012 with the help of his best friend and business partner, Aaron Lavee. Though evocative of the larger street wear movement in fashion, and pioneers of said movement such as Rick Owens, John Elliott is distinguishing itself with small, important details. Whether that’s developing fabrics in Japan or sourcing zippers from Riri in Switzerland, the brand’s efforts add polish and refinement to the category. Elliott shows his spring 2017 collection in New York on Wednesday.

 

 

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Rochambeau NYC

 

Joshua Cooper and Laurence Chandler are the New York natives behind Rochambeau. The New York Fashion Week: Men’s newbie, showing Wednesday, taps into millennial skate and street culture. The duo started Rochambeau as a branding initiative, handing out screen-printed T-shirts at parties to advertise their events promotion business. By 2007, things had grown from DIY to a fully produced collection; recent designs have included bomber jackets, coveralls in velour and 3M tech fabrics, streamlined mandarin collared shirts and track jackets. The label has garnered a significant amount of buzz, too. Cara Delevingne has worn the label’s 3M "paparazzi blocking jacket," and Rochambeau was recently nominated for the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award.

 

Agi & Sam

 

Launched in 2010, Agi & Sam, headed by duo Agape Mdumulla and Sam Cotton, marries the worlds of traditional pattern, printmaking and dying techniques with classic sartorial tailoring, but with a modern twist. Mdummulla, a descendant of the Masai, native to southern Africa, draws inspiration from cultural motifs and dress. Cotton helps to give the label its playful, yet structured and streamlined look. Known for their bold prints and colorful collections, the designers are quickly becoming London Fashion Week favorites. The duo’s most recent spring 2017 collection comments on gender roles with soft tailoring in pinstripe and gingham patterns, with cropped jackets and short-sleeved suiting with generous silhouettes.

 

Casely-Hayford

 

This father and son brand exemplifies the evolution of menswear in London. Joe Casely-Hayford has been a British mainstay since the late '80s, styling creative groups such as the Clash and U2, and building his own eponymous brand for men and women. His early work exuded the kind of elegance that attracted attention from the likes of Princess Diana. More recently, he assumed the role of creative director of Gieves & Hawkes, the 200-year-old Savile Row staple, and in 2009, he partnered with his son Charlie in a joint endeavor to re-launch Casely-Hayford Menswear. (Charlie is known for his styling gigs with clients like Nas, Drake and Robert Downey Jr.) The label pulls from every corner of society, including art history, pop culture and traditional English style. For spring 2017, the brand expands its horizons by integrating womenswear into the collection, as well as launching made-to-measure. All while, the collection maintains a mash-up of two generations of musical influence, rock and grime, producing radical statement pieces and loud accessories.

 

Christopher Raeburn

 

Putting the focus on luxurious sustainability with sharp and tailored outerwear for men and women, Raeburn has racked up several designer awards, including the 2015 Best Emerging Designer award from GQ. For spring 2017, the London-based label opted for a space exploration theme, using dead stock, industrial and technical fabrics in combination with photo-realistic moon prints that dazzled — and further expanded the brand’s reach into the orbit of the fashion world.

 

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