Men’s knitwear isn’t always appreciated for its true versatility. Associated most often with dusty university professors and stuffy law students, the men’s knit sweater has been unfairly pigeonholed. This has not been lost on a generation of streetwear and global fashion designers across the globe who are seeking to reinvigorate men’s knitwear utilising a wide variety of approaches, each as unique as the labels themselves.
LA-based provocateurs Pleasures don’t so much try to reform the knit as much as use its connotations for their own incendiary ends. In the hands of Pleasures designers, knitwear pieces become the perfect ironic vehicle for some of the label’s most provocative graphics and slogans, playing against the knit’s presumed formality and respectability. Despite this, the label does show a real affinity for the textural possibilities of knitwear and the attention-to-detail of their jacquard patterns belies their ironic use of the garment style.
Maison Kitsuné and Comme des Garçons PLAY stay closer to more traditional forms of the knit; constructed to the highest quality standards, these labels enliven conventional shapes such as the v-neck cardigan with the dynamism of their beloved logos. Existing between French and Japanese fashion worlds and incorporating notions of quality from both, for Maison Kitsuné and Comme des Garçons, the simple act of remaking such traditional knitted garments with a subtle flourish and positioning them within their understated collections is purpose enough.
Elsewhere in Europe, season after season, Italian experimentalists Stone Island have sought to zoom in on one knit style and perfect it: the roll neck fisherman’s knit. With a fitted silhouette; firm, wide ribbing; and high-quality construction, the label’s knits have gained traction as an effective layering garment or statement piece. With a tonal Stone Island Compass patch affixed to the left arm, these knits have firmly cemented their place among the label’s most coveted pieces for those bound to the label by subcultural affiliation and others.
Subcultural alliances remain front and centre for Japanese rockabilly-influenced label Wacko Maria. The Tokyo-based label’s knits—particularly their cardigans—have gained a global reputation for their high-quality materials and refined animal print colourways inspired by 50s rock and roll culture and contemporary rockabilly imagery. Fellow Japanese label Needles have likewise gained renown for their v-neck cardigans, crafted from the finest mohair and featuring patterns in line with the label’s eccentric aesthetic.
View our range of men’s knits selected from the most innovative streetwear and fashion designers from across the globe.
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