What’s a man to do when his WFH sweats and tee shirt simply won’t cut it? Fashion doesn’t stop, even for a pandemic, and these fabulous new trends are proof. While we’ve all been hunkering down, Caribbean menswear designers have been surging ahead – and creating the next big thing while they’re at it.
Denim on Denim
Infamously worn by Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake on a red carpet in 2001, double denim, or the Canadian Tuxedo, is a difficult look to pull off. However, when done correctly, it is also difficult to outdo.
The new men’s full-body denim look is emphasized by clean, crisp lines, and underscored by dark washes with minimal details.
Ultra-modern points – like the ankle hem splitting in front, and the slightly-too-long sleeves, make looks like those shown right all the edgier, making them easy to wear with confidence. Both designs by Bianca Saunders, a British designer of Jamaican and West Indies heritage.
Embroidery has a long history in streetwear, but the new school is much evolved from the iron-on patches of the past. Modern embroidery can be a true art form, allowing for amazingly creative and unique looks. The ombre-effect is made even cooler when adhered to a zig-zag stripe in these jeans by Rebels to Dons, created by Joshua C. Joseph, the Brooklyn-based Trinidadian designer. Motifs from classical art are also given new life, translated to embroidery by Rebels to Dons, like the angelic baby shown on the jacket below made for Lebron James.
Throughout the pandemic outbreak, excuses to don formalwear have been few and far between – which is why in a post-pandemic Caribbean, dressing to the nines will be even more extreme. We’re seeing ultra-luxurious materials, rich colors and patterns, and flatteringly less-traditional cuts. This sumptuous chocolate-brown suit from Frère fits the bill, with subtle details like silken lapels and form-fitting darts. Founded by Haitian-American designer Davidson Petit-Frère, Frère is known for superb mens’ tailoring, and their newest ready-to-wear collection is no exception. Fit for an evening ball, or a garden wedding, this style celebrates the exuberance of beautiful menswear.
Your Anything But Basic Tee
How can you make “jeans and a t-shirt” a standout look? Give it a form of its own. Heads will turn for the punchy silhouette of a structured tee. The fierce fuchsia and bold motifs of the shirts above, by William McIntosh, make the unique shape of these neoprene tees even more memorable. Mcintosh is a Trinidadian designer and stylist, with his finger on the pulse of menswear. Graphic and edgy, these distinctive tees will fit into any streetwear setting – while also stealing the show.
We love a man who is not afraid of color – and this trend is definitely not for the faint of heart. Jaw-dropping, blood pumping colors, saturated from head to toe – now that is one way to make an impression. We love the electric tangerine hue on this an oversized, slouchy smoking jacket, and slightly flared trousers by MMRMS Studio out of Kingstown, Jamaica (above). Perfect for partying, the collection is inspired by the Queer Caribbean dancehall scene, according to founder Tommy Harvey in an article for Vice.
This aesthetic is also prevalent in a slightly more formal manner at Musika – the NYC based brand by Aleks Musika, who previously co-directed Frère in Haiti. Crisp tailoring and modern details like the knotted belt build a great foundation, while layers of tones – like the camel, chocolate and tan combination shown below – add dimension to the look.
Prints for Days
While we have a lot of love for a good printed tee, prints can do so much more for your wardrobe. We’re loving the idea of bold prints for daytime looks – from dapper printed blazers to matching sets.
The Navy and Orange abstract floral print ensemble Jamaican designer Carlton Brown is balanced out by the orange collar and waist – these details keep the silhouette from being lost in the busy pattern.
For a polished but fun day-look, try a printed blazer over your summer whites, à la Ecliff Elie’s look below. This outfit from the Caribbean-wide custom menswear designer is perfect for an afternoon garden party or lunch date!