February 3, 2010

J. Crew Mens Spring 2010

I first got excited about Spring 2010 at J. Crew when I saw Matthew Goode sporting this sweatshirt way back when the January issue of GQ first came out.

::image source: tFS::

Thread-bare knicked cuffs! Crusted splotches of acrylic! Of course, processed and paint-splattered is nothing new (hello Ralph Lauren circa Spring 2005).

Enter the promotional video J. Crew has carefully placed on the front men's page of their website. I must say, getting a look at their spring presentation and hearing their creative director, Frank Muytjens speak of the inspiration behind the spring looks gives much cred and substance to what has begun popping into stores. There's mention of military, nautical, workwear, and suiting -- all mixed in together in an attempt to create a unique look within itself. Umm, not necessarily the most original in ideas, but okay, we'll go with it...just because the individual pieces themselves do look good.

::all video stills from jcrew.com::

There's specific reference to Japan and deriving influence from the nation's steadfast dedication to workwear (which, ironically, as most people know by now, is also a reflection of the country's obsession with quality Americana of yore).

And of course, Matthew's sweatshirt gets front row purview.

A couple other pics of my picks based on the vid:

I guess these shorts come as no surprise as another item on my list given the caked on layers of color. Despite the DIY-rich context paint-splattered articles of clothing embody, who has the time and the effort? Certainly not me these days. On top of that, I do like the cutoff quality of these shorts (okay, I admit, once again DIY-able).

Mr. Muytjens mentions sunbleached tones as being a theme in the collection, and nothing speaks nautical to me more than different gradations of faded blue on chino fabric.

And in keeping with J. Crew's growing presence in the world of collabs, this top (underneath the blazer) is of interest to me. A "collaboration on top of a collaboration" as Muytjens refers to it, the boatneck (wait, haven't I mentioned my interest in trying out boatnecks lately? ;) tops are done by Saint James and then sent over to be worked on some more by Mr. Freedom.

I read a little bit about the Mister Freedom partnership in this past fall/winter's premier edition of Inventory, a Canadian publication. Formerly h(y)r collective, which I remember as a simple and well-organized online magazine with the best features (anybody remember their profiling the Band of Outsiders Fall 2008 collection?), I was thrilled to learn they'd grown to a point where a print magazine was possible. This first issue is a great collection of interviews and stories with names and labels that cater to individuals with taste and discernment that go far and beyond what J. Crew can offer. I highly recommend, and I'm glad to have it in my collection of readables. Of the selected few, Mr. Freedom is one of the labels to be featured.

I purchased my copy direct from Inventory Magazine, but I do recall seeing that J. Crew had begun offering this first edition on its site as well... If you don't have a copy, here's an excerpt from the interview with Christophe Loiron, the man behind Mr. Freedom.
<< Lately you've been wholesaling to J. Crew. How did that come up? Has it been helpful in terms of raising awareness for Mr. Freedom?

When I first started selling vintage stuff back in late '90's I used to sell vintage pieces to Todd Snyder and Frank Muytjens, the heads of men's design there. Then they saw what I was making and started ordering custom-made stuff from me: t-shirts, bags and things. Then one day Mickey Drexler, the mastermind behind today's J. Crew, was in town and honored me with a visit. He made it all happen.

It was the first time a well-established American company would buy MF and put it as-is in their store with no re-design or re-labeling. It was a great honor for me to be allowed to play in the major leagues. J. Crew understands that MF is standing solely on its integrity. I don't have money to fool people with fake advertising campaigns or endorsements from big stars. I just design and make stuff, then let it do its thing on the market. My niche is definitely not a big money making venture but J. Crew gave us some recognition as well as energy, motivation and the fuel to go on. The folks at J. Crew have been a blessing and are allowing us to not have to change or sell out but keep roaming freely.>>

- Mr. Freedom: the Diligent Raconteur, by Owen Parrott for Inventory, Vol. 01 No. o1, Fall-Winter 2009.
Pretty interesting.

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