My “SPRING” Wishlist

Regular readers will know that my blog is usually reserved for my writing about style mistakes which I have witnessed each week or gleefully boasting about the wonderful trips that I have managed to wrangle unsuspecting people into accompanying me on. However, this week is a little different.

With this being the first week of the Spring season … I was reminded of New York’s SPRING store which I was introduced to at roughly this time last year. I love rediscovering online stores; however, I ALWAYS end up flicking through the site and adding approximately 60% off their offering to my “TO BUY” list that I keep on my phone. It’s an expensive process…

So below…is a Top Ten Wishlist from SPRING this Spring.

1) Comme De Garcons Play – Peek A Boo

Living in Scotland, wearing canvas trainers is the equivalent of living on a knife edge. Even in the height of Summer we have the ever-present threat of rain. However, for these Peek A Boo beauties, I am willing to take this wet-sock risk. I think I have found the ideal pair of Summer trainers for me this year. I’d pair these with a some light blue slim-leg jeans and a plain white tee to create the perfect Summer barbecue outfit.

Gallus Lad - Spring - Peek

 

2) Uniqlo – Oxford Shirt (Pink)

I have big-love for the brand Uniqlo. It makes the staff uncomfortable. Unfortunately, Uniqlo haven’t yet opened a store in Glasgow, resulting in me always finding the nearest Uniqlo store whenever I travel out of the city. This particular shirt mixes Uniqlo with two of my other Menswear passions …oxford shirts and pastel colours. A great item for the office during the Summer months.

Gallus Lad - Spring - Uniqlo Pink Shirt

 

3)  Uniqlo – Short Socks

Nothing fancy. These were added to the list because I need new short socks. Carry on…

Gallus Lad - Spring - Short Socks

 

 

4) Pintrill – Speech Bubble Pin 

Those who know me personally will be aware that I am a big collector of pins. Whenever I travel I buy one of these tourist pins you see being sold in shops with titles like “I LOVE LONDON”. The SPRING accessories store (unisex) has a good collection of day-to-day pins …but this one was definitely my favourite.

Gallus Lad - Spring - Speech Bubble Pin

5) Ray-Ban – Clubmaster Wood

When buying Ray-Ban glasses you can always be guaranteed both style and quality. The Clubmaster Wood only further enforces this reputation…

Gallus Lad - Spring - RayBan

6) Gents – Matt Paint Splatter Cap

There are two types of people who can successfully pull this cap off. Body Builders and professional football players. I fit into neither of these categories (clearly). However, I do fancy taking a risk on it and seeing what sort of feedback I get…

*Bonus Note* …and the need for this model to be topless is??

Gallus Lad - Spring - Gents Matt Paint Splatter

 

7) Scoop – Knit Jacket

Another article for my office wardrobe. Combining the polished look of a smart blazer with all of the comfort of your favourite house-sweater. Superb.

Gallus Lad - Spring - Knit Jacket

8) Axel Arigato – Chukka White Marble Sole 

Drool. Everywhere.

Gallus Lad - Spring - Axel Arigato

9) Everlane – Large Backpack

Backpacks are an essential item for me, especially when I am travelling or attending some kind of convention. It is also an item you need be extra careful when selecting though. There is only a tiny line between the stylish gent look and the private school-boy look! That’s why I included this Everlane Large Backpack on my wishlist. Simple, elegant, stylish.

Gallus Lad - Spring - Large Backpack

 

10)Uniqlo – Dry Stretch Pants 

I love these. Uniqlo does it again!
Combine this with an open neck white shirt for a casual summer look.

Gallus Lad - Spring - Dry Stretch Pants

 

 

Let me know what you guys think, what is on your TO BUY list this Spring?

 

Style 101: Valentine’s Day – What to Wear!

First off, let’s get the hard part out of the way….Valentine’s Day is a pointless holiday isn’t it?

It has been pushed upon us hard by jewellery designers, card companies and those wonderful people who sell individual roses outside of train stations – but no one has yet been able to find a justifiable reason as to why the holiday exists at all.

Also … if as a couple you only celebrate and appreciate each other one day a year – then you are doing life wrong.

 

However, that doesn’t mean you can simply ignore Valentine’s Day.
Despite the holidays many flaws, sometimes you have to make that extra effort.
Maybe it’s even a first date? (eek!).

For us guys, it can be a daunting task trying to pick out your outfit for Valentine’s Day. You have to try and blend what you feel confident and comfortable in with the expected dress code for the evening. That’s before you even factor in what your date for the evening is wearing.

 

This week I’ll be giving you a helping hand with regards what to wear in different situations.
Before we get started, remember, you want to make sure that whatever you put on your body makes you feel as comfortable and confident as possible. This will ensure you keep your full attention on your beautiful date and not the fact that your tshirt is slightly tighter than you remember it being.

Let’s start with the most casual of dates and move up from there:

 

The “Quiet Night In” Date

This option is quite easy to dress for because it’s casual. You don’t want to be strolling up to her front door in a three piece tuxedo. You will definitely look creepy…and creepy is not a good look on anyone.

What you want to do is wear what you normally would for the occasion… except dress it up slightly. Normally wear jeans and a tshirt? …possibly with a hoodie on top? How about we swap out that hoodie for a blazer.

You will look smart … but in the middle of the evening when you have settled down to watch a film, you can take it off and be as relaxed as you like. Perfect.

I would say this method would also be suitable for the “Cinema Date” too. However, I can’t advise you take a girl to the cinema on Valentine ’s Day. Take her somewhere you can actually talk to her.

 

The “Let’s Go for Drinks” Date

Perhaps you don’t know the lucky lady well enough for a quiet night in?
You may, instead, decide to go out for a few drinks!

For this option, you’re going to want to look appropriate for the evening’s activities while still being able to mask the inevitable stains which come from spillages and drips on a good night out.

An easy “go to” outfit for this would be some straight/slim leg black jeans – combined with a maroon or oxblood tshirt / polo shirt / casual shirt. This can be topped off with a black leather jacket for a classic “bad boy” look!

This particular outfit would also be appropriate for a more casual meal.

 

The “Fancy Dinner” Date

You know the type of date I am referring to; the type hosted in that restaurant you can’t afford any other night of the year (…and secretly on this night too!).

If you are going to go for this option, you really need to step it up a gear.

I would recommend wearing a suit because you simply can’t go wrong with a suit. However, it’s a relaxed evening, not a boardroom meeting. Therefore, skip the tie and loosen up those top buttons.

It’s also best to choose a suit with a bit of texture – a grey tweed or brown hopsack. It will reinforce the relaxed nature of the suit wearing.

 

Remember, this article was always meant only as a suggestion. It’s best to go with your gut.

You will know best, get a feel for the expectations of you and ensure you match or surpass them!

5 Things to Learn When Starting Your Menswear Journey

The idea of “wanting to dress better” is one which many guys have spoken to me about this week.

That first step can be a daunting task, it’s definitely easy to feel uncomfortable and out of your depth.

I’ve had a few private messages on twitter about tips for someone who is at the beginning of the journey. Where to look for ideas, rules to follow etc. It has inspired me to put together this list of 5 simple facts you can learn which will help you improve your style faster than you thought possible!

 

1)The “fit” of clothes are one of THE most important aspects of your look.

One of the common misconceptions is that this rule only applies to formal wear. Yes, the fit of your suit is very important. However, this rule can be applied universally across your entire wardrobe.

A poor fit can make a Hugo Boss suit look like a £5 Primark effort; however, very solid fit can make a full Primark outfit make you look like you’re carrying around million dollars (in a good way … not a mafia way).

It really is the No.1 rule of menswear and the faster you get to grips with it, the faster your style will improve. An easy way of thinking about it: strong style is about a strong silhouette of your body; this becomes impossible to achieve if your frame is drowning in excess material.

You should always try on clothes before you buy them. Make sure they fit you properly.

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2) Self Grooming and Hygiene is as Important as Clothing

This one is a little self explanatory … but I feel it still needs to be said.
There is very little point in being dressed to the nines if you are absolutely stinking of piss.

…or have an uncontrollable monobrow.

It’s a simple fact, but it is the truth.

It’s a little sad in the modern day to hear fully grown men describe using moisturiser as “feminine”. Don’t be one of those guys.  Men’s skin get damaged the exact same way women’s do. Therefore, it is important to take care of it. You’ll thank yourself later.

 

You’ll never see the “best dressed man in the world” with a scraggly beard and monobrow.

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3) Sizes Vary Between Stores

I mentioned above that the No.1 style rule is getting the “fit” of clothes correct.

It is important to point out that the stores on the high street have different fits to their clothing, even if they are sized the “same”, e.g Small, Medium, Large.

Therefore, try not to go into each store with a pre-given size that you “know” fits you.
Try on each item before you buy it. Make sure you are happy with the way that it sits on your body.

Don’t be afraid of trying the next size up/down. It could potentially fit you better?

…and besides, it’s only you who knows what size the item is once it’s on your body!

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4) Get a good tailor

Important point, body types vary significantly, they simply can’t be broken down into the “Small, Medium, Large” brackets that modern high street stores use. (Are you beginning to see a pattern?)

When you start to consider the different body shapes you see on the street every day, it becomes unreasonable to expect most articles of clothing will fit you perfectly straight from the rail.

It’s not even a matter of your weight; it can be down to sleeve length or should width.
I, for instance, have a wide frame developed from my days playing rugby as a growing lad…but I suffer badly from T-Rex arms. Most items of clothing I buy require that I roll up my sleeves, or have them tailored to fit properly.

The art of tailoring is all about making clothes fit perfectly on your body. Find yourself a decent tailor and things get even easier. With just a few nips and tucks, a tailor can make even the most basic of pieces look like they were made for your body.

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5) Do your homework

The internet is now awash with Menswear resources. Utilise them!

If you are not sure about any topic? Google it.

 

Almost every question can be answered online!

Also … feel free to fire any questions to me on Twitter… @galluslad.

 

HIS NAME IS “PAUL”

The world famous designer Paul Smith was recently in Glasgow to celebrate the opening of the “Hello, My Name is Paul Smith” exhibition at The Lighthouse venue in the city. The exhibition was first displayed in London a few years ago; but has since spent 2015 and 2016 (so far) touring Europe. Now it is Glasgow’s turn to host…

Paul Smith, along with his counterpart Ray Kelvin, has always been vocal about his affinity with Glasgow, previously writing:

“I’ve always had affection for Glasgow based on the city’s strong art heritage and its wonderful link with creativity. Charles Rennie Mackintosh, the School of Art and just the whole atmosphere of the place is fantastic.”

I was invited down to meet with Paul and get a sneak peak at the Glasgow-leg of the exhibition, guided by the man himself. “Hi, My Name is Paul Smith” draws on Paul’s personal archive and memories, spanning from the company’s very beginnings in the city of Nottingham to the now infamous international prominence the company have built.

The first thing that was instantly noticeable as I entered The Lighthouse was the charisma of Paul himself, he could instantly be identified, despite a) facing the other way …and b) wearing a traditional blue suit and pastel shirt combination.

As he turned to address the noise of us coming through the door, his face was welcoming and content, instantly putting my nerves (I WAS MEETING AN IDOL!) at rest. There was no ego at play here, it was obvious.

I could tell this before he had even opened his mouth yet…

One of the first things that Paul wanted to clarify was the real purpose of the creation of exhibition in the first place. He stressed (almost defensively) that the aim was not to create a vanity project, or an exhibition of how fashion has developed through the years; the exhibition was put together in an attempt to inspire more young people into starting their own business. Any business, in any industry.

The exhibition was mainly recreations of essential rooms in Paul’s business history. However, also included was the “Inside Paul’s Head” room, which aimed to pull together all of the different muses Paul uses to try and inspire his creativity. There is also a room which collects the most bizarre items Paul has been sent by his biggest fan. He/She has been sending him items since the late seventies; Paul doesn’t know their identity, he doesn’t want to. However, if you are reading this, you should know…he has kept them all…

For me, the highlights of the exhibition were:

  • A recreation of Paul’s first shop in Nottingham (which measured 3mx3m!!)
  • A recreation of the Parisian hotel room in which Paul Smith sold their first collection
  • A recreation of Paul’s office (a nonsensical sensory bombardment)

There was no doubt in my mind walking around this exhibition that the Paul Smith in front of me was the same Paul Smith that was welcoming strangers to view his home-made creations in broken French many years ago. Fame and success haven’t changed him; they have simply facilitated his creativity.

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Style 101 – How To: Layering

Winter has arrived hard and fast.

With the unpleasant arrival of the cold and the wet comes the necessary art of layering. Layering becomes a daily essential. Even the heartiest of men begin to require a few extra layers to keep themselves warm.

However, though this need arises like clockwork year-upon-year …are you prepared when it finally arises?

 

 

What IS layering?

It really isn’t complicated, laying is essentially the art of combining your clothing on top of each other while ensuring that they keep you warm, protect your body and are still aesthetically pleasing.

 

Why should I “layer”?

Layering’s appeal is twofold really.

 

Layering is Practical.

An obvious function of the layering process is keeping yourself warm. If you’re wearing more layers (all of them stylish, of course) you can retain more heat and keep your body temperature higher during these cold seasons.

 

Layering looks awesome!

Layering gives you the opportunity to step away from the regular summer staple of a t-shirt and jeans. Layering items on top of each other gives the opportunity to display your own take on style. It also enables you to get the most out of your clothes …as the same garments can take on dramatically different looks when used in different ways.    

 

How do I “layer”?

In all honesty, layering isn’t all that hard. In fact, if you break it down to its basest level … you can follow one simple rule “thin to thick” and make sure it looks good (in your opinion)!

The “Think to Thick” rule is simple: thin clothing should be closest to your skin, with every piece of item you wear becoming thicker in size and weight as you progress through your outfit.

However, if you are looking for a little more detail in how to layer properly, here are a few further points to keep in mind:

 

  • Remember Pattern Matching Rules

Pattern Matching rules are a whole different Style 101 article which I promise to bring to you soon. However, to keep it simple:

  • If you are not confident, keep it to 1 patterned item in your outfit
  • If you feel confident, try to keep it to 2/3
  • Any patterns you do choose should contrast with each other in size/density.

  

  • Keep your outfit balanced

Layering largely tends to be top heavy for obvious reasons. When piecing together an outfit, make sure to regularly check your top half isn’t disproportionately bulky compared to your lower half.

Sorry lads, no spray on jeans matched with bulky shearling jackets!

 

  • Be care of colour coordination

Unfortunately, increasing the number of layers you are wearing means exponential growth in possibility of poor colour combinations.

If you are not confident, keeping your clothing colours in the natural hues (black, navy ect) should help keep you on the right side of taste.

 

  • Each item of clothing should be suitable to be worn on its own.

Layering shouldn’t be an excuse to wear (and hide) those tacky t-shirts you haven’t brought yourself to throw out yet. A key benefit of layering is the option of adding/removing items as you see fit.

You will need to wear most layers in the mornings (as that’s when it is coldest) and as the weather gets warmer, you may want to take off a layer or two – so it’s vital that your comfortable showing each layer.

 

Style 101: Formal Wear – Identical or Different, Never Similar.

Style is a cruel mistress, difficult to master; easy to get on the wrong side off … sometimes you must wonder why you bother?
Even the experts don’t always get it right.

Never fear – Gallus is here to teach another easy to implement lesson which can have a drastic impact on your every day styling.

The lesson today is simple – when it comes to pairing formal wear; the jacket and trousers must be identical or completely different – similar is a BIG NO. You need to remember that simple rule.

When you are buying formal wear – you must either buy it with the corresponding trousers or pair it with a suitable option in a noticeably different colour and texture.

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(Here is a strong example of the “Corresponding” option)

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(Here is a good example of the “Different” option)

The reasoning behind this rule is the two major factors mentioned above: Colour and Texture.

Choosing a pair of trousers which give the illusion of a matching suit fails to look as good every time because it will neither straight-up match or functions as separates clothing entities.

The best example I can find of this common mistake is Guy Ritchie’s outfit below from the GQ website:

As you will be able to see yourself – Guy’s outfit doesn’t really work due to the similarity of his linen jacket with his trousers. They are very similar colours … but clearly not identical. The textures of the two fabrics are vastly different too.

It’s a shame, as if it had been a better jacket/trouser combination the outfit would have been pretty strong. The colour combination between the jacket and the shirt looks good …and I like the white pocket square to match.

Guy Ritchie is normally very good with his style, but as I said above – even the experts get it wrong sometimes!

Menswear Dog – My Favourite Thing on the Internet

It has previously been said that dressing well is 90% fit.

We’ll now … it would seem that dressing well is 90% fur!

 

In case you have not been privy to the growing phenomenon that is “Menswear Dog” – the principle is simple.
It is a dog…who dresses in Menswear.

It’s not very often you get a successful mix of humour with fashion. Menswear Dog not only breaks the mould of humourless, emotionless fashion models. He smashes it into smithereens.

To me, Menswear Dog is essentially the greatest idea ever, a perfect mix of the internet’s two favourite things … cute animals and strong fashion.

Bodhi, the Shiba Inu (it’s a type of dog) who stands in front of the camera has managed to create something truly original in the beloved Menswear Dog brand. What has been created is an easily accessible menswear guide with a greater intention.

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In fact, the endeavour has been so successful that it has already spun out into it’s only book:
 
gallouslad - menswear dog book
 
The book highlights menswear essentials organised seasonally and is filled to the brim with serious fashion advice to coincide with the hilariously posed outfit ideas.

Menswear Dog can solve two problems – if you are a pet loved, you will find this page endlessly amusing – if you are still trying to grasp the ins-and-outs of what works in menswear, this book can help with that issue as well.

Brand Overview: Jack Spade

It has taken a lot of concerted effort for me to learn to spend money on quality fashion items.

It’s hard to explain…mainly because I don’t fully understand it myself.

For some reason it simply comes much more naturally for me to spend a significant sum of money on an old, rare, out-of-print book or a piece of original artwork by Matteo Scalera than a gorgeous 100% leather holdall.

However, I have learned through experience now that the price tag attached to these items comes with an unspoken guarantee that these items will last a lifetime.  In short, they are worth the money.

The first brand that I spent more than £100 for an accessory on was Jack Spade. They were my gateway brand.
The brand may be familiar to those of you in the USA; however, outside of the USA, it is relatively unknown.

I can think back now and remember clearly what it was that convinced me to part with my hard-earned cash (I was employed as a music manager at this time, so all cash WAS hard earned to say the least). I was sat on a train to Edinburgh  and a fellow commuter flashed by me … and his dark-grey briefcase caught my eye.

GallousLad-JackSpadeBriefcase1

From a simple glance I could see the quality of the product and the attention to detail yet simplicity of the design.

I knew in that instant that I needed to own it.

How did I know?
…because in that quick flash as the stranger walked past I managed to both read and remember the brand name.

Jack Spade create timeless pieces, consisting of quality components.
High quality with beautiful style… but a reasonable price tag.
They are the type of brand I would expect to see regularly in Esquire magazine if you added £100 to the price tag of each item…

GallousLad-JackSpadeBriefcase2

Jack Spade was founded in 1996 with the aim to only create items which could be both utilitarian and stylish. This company moto was inspired by the creator’s experiences living in New York, where storage space is expensive. They wanted to create items which could service multiple needs.

Kate Spade: New York is an American fashion design house founded in 1993 by fashion power-couple Kate and Andy Spade. The company initially started selling mainly woman’s handbags, but now have also branched out to include a full women’s clothing line.

Jack Spade is the name for the Kate Spade brand’s line for men.

Jack Spade, is an entirely fictional name, inspired by the couples’ two idols – Beat novelist Jack Kerouac and business titan Jack Welch. They believed the combination of these two idols were the perfect fit for a company which aimed for art and commerce to comfortably co-exist.

From their initial offering of men’s bags – accessories followed – and now Jack Spade offer a full clothing line. However, in recent years, the brand has featured designs by guest designers and is no longer the sole creative output for the marital dream-team.

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I am still very attracted to the designs of the organisation, high quality leather goods that let everyone know you have a classic, effortless style. However, I also love the family aspect to the organisation. I have a strong affinity to family, it is very important to me.

There’s a reason menswear is consistently going back and revisiting the classic styles; Jack Spade deliver this in abundance.

The Importance of the Nike Air Force 1

Today I want to highlight to you the importance of the shoe Nike Air Force 1 (AF1).

The AF1 is without competition my all-time favourite shoe.
For me, no other pair of trainers have even come close to looking as stylish yet casual.

So where does the AF1 win out over other shoes?

I believe the sleek all white/black design of the current version combined with the thick sole and added touch of class in the rectangle medallion (which used to be circular by the way!) create a simplistic, eye catching design without being too brash.

The Air Force 1 has even been included in a few of my Instagram looks so far:

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Originally launched in 1982, the Air Force 1 was the very first basketball shoe to feature an air pocket in the heel for cushioning and support. For added information; the air pocket had been utilised before in trainers, just never in a basketball shoe.

This proved to be a very important milestone in Nike’s history. At this point, Nike had previously proven themselves to be one of the top brands in running shoes; however, were still very new to the Basketball market.

Although the shoe, which was originally named and produced as a tribute the plane that carries the President of the United States, was discontinued in 1984, the public demand for the shoes return remained extremely high.

For high-end trainer manufacturers at this time, once a shoe had sold out, reproducing them made no sense. Why would we as consumers want to spend our hard earned cash on a pair of shoes that were essentially old news?

This is why the Nike Air Force 1 is special, the demand for this shoe made Nike re-think the whole idea of discontinuing shoes.

Finally, the Air Force 1 did what no shoe before had done … and raised from the dead.

Today, there are nearly 2.000 versions of the Air Force 1 and it is still going strong.

Now sold in three different styles (low, mid and high) and in a multitude of different colour schemes, the most commonly sold are still the reliable solid white/black designs.

So there we have it ladies and gentleman …the Nike Air Force 1 … the shoe which changed an industry forever.

The Gap x GQ Collection 2015: My Highlights.

Every year (since 2007), fashion magazine GQ has joined forces with fashion brand Gap and their selection of the “Best New Menswear Designers in America” to create one incredible collection. It is an incredible, positive, project which gives recognition to some of America’s most talented up-and-coming designers. Plus … the “Gap x GQ Collections” is always a constant source for getting great designers products significantly cheaper!

Last year, John Elliot’s hoodies sold out within hours and we can no doubt expect similar pandemonium this year. Each of the selected designers offers a unique take on what’s ‘new and now’ for men, channelling styles and influences from both coasts.

Now in its fourth iteration, GQ and Gap have teamed up with David Hart, Stampd, NSF and The Hill-Side.

The collection includes tailored blazers and trousers, overcoats, leather jackets, graphic and classic tees, sweatshirts, sweatpants, denim, and field jackets, along with accessories — including shoes, hats, bags, socks, and ties.

I’ve had a look at the collection and it is very, very, good. It’s everything you need to look shap and styled this Autumn/Winter, all sold in the one collection.

Here are my highlights from the collection:

 

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David Hart – Tweed Blazer

David Hart designs sophisticated clothing with a nod to the past. Inspired by the classic mid century American uniform, Hart updates the impeccable tailoring of the 50s and 60s with modern fabrics and colors. Think suits, topcoats, sweaters, and polos that are retro (without living in the past) and razor sharp (yet easy to pull off).

 

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David Hart Tweed Pants

Fantastic partner to the Jacket above.

 

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David Hart Windowpane Wool Pants

I love these. They stand out without being too flashy. Pair these with a crisp white shirt and a pair of brogues and you are winning.

 

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The Hill-Side Plaid Tie

The only accessory on my list. The Hill-Side are brooklyn-based brothers Emil and Sandy Corsillo who have traveled far and wide on a quest to find the world’s most unique textiles. Selvedge denim, authentic indigo, and unlikely camos have all made their way into a collection that’s influenced in equal measure by Japanese street style and American vintage.

 
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STAMPD Long Striped T-Shirt

Forget color and logos. Instead, mix athletic gear with streetwear—and focus on how it all fits. That’s the formula for Stampd, Chris Stamp’s mashup of West Coast surf culture with East Coast street attitude. The result is a line of futuristic sportswear with a gloriously simple color palette (black, white, repeat).