As modern day men we are constantly evolving, ever re-designing ourselves and shedding our skins and trading them in for the new, shinier series. Enters Brian Clarke, Clarke is reigning in the boundaries of men’s fashion and creating an edgy, modern day gentleman with a look that Brian himself describes as “understated and confident.”
Brian Clarke has spent virtually his entire working life in the fashion industry – it’s in his blood. After a short spell at the London College of Fashion, he worked at Berman’s Nathan’s theatrical costumiers. Here, he honed his bespoke tailoring skills. However, it was when he worked as assistant designer/pattern cutter for Katherine Hamnett that the fashion bug really took hold.
After several years of hands-on experience, Brian eventually decided to go it alone. His first independent forays found him styling and designing clothes for pop videos and film wardrobes, but an eye for a strong commercial presence was to reveal bigger ambitions. Brian soon had his own flourishing line, stocking many of the capital’s trendier boutiques and soon opened his first store in London’s Soho stocking his own name label.
The store was more than just a shop; it rapidly became a social institution for slick dressers from the worlds of film, music, art and the city of all whom were looking for the inimitable Brian Clarke style. It was an instant winner and encouraged others to tap into Brian’s design talents.
Wind on five years and after a stint developing a menswear label in Japan – Brian Clarke makes a return to British menswear, with the Soho shop launch and online boutique to follow later this year.
“This season was really about a dying breed of old English gentleman – but one that ditches his horse for a Harley!” The Spring/Summer 2011 ‘Oxbridge Rebel’ collection fashioned from Clarke’s compelling imagination of his ‘repressed gentleman’ muse. Taking his influence from the old Etonian mentality and the dying breed of gentleman, the collection fights to hold onto those traditions held dear, whilst forging forward and staying relevant in our ever-changing society.
Whilst English heritage throbs throughout this seasons collections core, with a hazy jolt to summer afternoons punting along the Cam, there is also a tougher undercurrent that threatens to undercut the collections’ tranquility; Bib-fronted pinstripe shirts with matching dickie-bows are toughened up by diagonal zipped nappa leather jackets in black and deep plum, plaid shirts are paired down with cropped-below-the-knee suit trousers and twisted brogue ankle boots. Meanwhile the show stopping, royal blue cotton/nylon two-piece is finished with button-fastened cuffs and a wet-look shimmer that sets it apart from its day-suit rivals. Brian has skillfully teamed his latest collection with the latest new era male models. “Masculinity is changing to accommodate fashions ever-evolving definition of masculinity, but I think this is great news for men’s fashion which is getting more and more interesting with every season.”
The ‘Oxbridge Rebel’ prissy and takes ‘suited and booted’ to a new level – whilst tipping his hat to the modern progression of the gentleman’s new attire.
“I’d like Brian Clarke menswear to grow organically and to consistently grow season on season. Suits with great cuts and hidden detailing, knitwear and some great leather pieces for AW11. And the online shop launches this month at www.brianclarkemenswear.com” utters Brian with a cheeky smile and an even cheekier plug to his re-launching website.
I’m definitely excited to see what Brian has in store for us and his contribution to the ever-changing face of masculinity in the coming seasons.