What are the greatest menswear brands of all time?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by YoungAmerican, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

    Messages:
    69,060
    Likes Received:
    31,230
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2010
    Location:
    Colorado Rocky Mountains
    

    i know that boss if infamously looked down upon here, and i myself have not had great luck with their clothing. however, could anyone here elaborate on what importance he may have in the world of menswear, and weather of not he should be considered.

    much appreciated.
     


  2. The Thin Man

    The Thin Man Senior member

    Messages:
    553
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    I'd like to see this list focus more on personal aesthetic judgment. To me, aesthetics are really the point of caring about clothes, and to leave personal judgments out of it really makes it more of a marketing exercise than something I'd like to read.

    I'm not saying you should list what you believe to be the 50 most aesthetically pleasing brands. Just have them be brands that had some sort of aesthetic achievement.

    My list was a little facetious, but I chose to include brands like Drake's and Cappelli both because they are to me the best current necktie brands and because they represent all of the small brands that practiced conservative good taste in the past 80 years. Menswear has largely been a conservative area, where for many men who care about how they present themselves, execution is more important than innovation. The greatness of these brands is in their lack of innovation.

    I'd make a parallel case for a small retail shop like Sulka. My understanding is that it became the premier conservator of traditional good taste in its last 35 or so years.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012


  3. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

    Messages:
    69,060
    Likes Received:
    31,230
    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2010
    Location:
    Colorado Rocky Mountains
    while i think you make an interesting point, i think that would really be best served as as the subject of another list. as well, as subjective as list this is, the one you suggest i think would be 10 times more so, and thus even more difficult to produce.

    lets not forget, the title is 50 greatest menswear brands. brands and marketing go hand in hand. weather or not we like to admit it, we are all victims, so to speak, or maybe beneficiaries, to put it nicely, of marketing and branding.
     


  4. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Messages:
    35,149
    Likes Received:
    12,353
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2002
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    

    Like I said, I could see Frederick Scholte in that list, but really, I'd rather with Anderson & Sheppard on that list. Scholte may have been the innovator, but it was Anderson&Sheppard that made the English drape cut relevant. My point is that the legacy of Savile Row is that of Poole and the other, more military and equestrian heritage based, houses, and that this diminishes the importance of Anderson & Sheppard and Scholte somewhat. I can see the justification for having Anderson&Sheppard on a top 50 list.
     


  5. The Thin Man

    The Thin Man Senior member

    Messages:
    553
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    

    Mostly victims...

    I personally don't see the point of saying "great" and leaving aesthetics out. Individual opinions about greatness should have a large degree of subjectivity.

    And I do think you can talk about brands in a way that doesn't focus on business.
     


  6. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Messages:
    35,149
    Likes Received:
    12,353
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2002
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    

    All the brands we've been talking about have had "aesthetic achievement." Whether you personally find those achievements pleasing, or not, has no bearing. Execution is just not a good criterion for anything other than "what should I kop now?" because the best executed pieces are probably coming from some random tailor somewhere in China or Turkey who is just quietly doing his thing, and will never have a lasting impact. Just taking the latest example, without Scholte, there would have been no Anderson & Sheppard and no English Drape. Without Rubinacci, it's possible that there would have been no London House and no Neapolitan tailoring as we know it today. It's those types of game changing brands that deserve to be on any meaningful top 50 list.
     


  7. mack11211

    mack11211 Senior member

    Messages:
    6,454
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Location:
    Brooklyn USA
    

    Forgot you had A&S on the original list. That's enough. Scholte is in a category of people or houses to which we can attribute one particular menswear development. But that is another list.
     


  8. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Messages:
    35,149
    Likes Received:
    12,353
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2002
    Location:
    Moscow, Idaho
    

    Aesthetics can't be left out. That's very different from saying that your personal opinion counts for anything other than whether you'd have bought the brand or not.

    Sure. And some of the brands we've discussed were only moderate financial successes at best. Gianfranco Ferre's company, for example, never really evolved into even the late 90s, but the influence on men's suiting is still felt. However, I think that "influence" on aesthetics, marketing, etc... cannot be overlooked, and in many cases, this corresponds with the success of a the business.
     


  9. The Thin Man

    The Thin Man Senior member

    Messages:
    553
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    

    Obviously, any article of clothing has an aesthetic dimension and any brand achieved something, I'm interested in what a writer thinks looks good. I'm not saying that what I like should matter to anyone else, but I do think that the most valuable thing we can do when discussing clothing is present what we like.

    Execution divorced from aesthetics is meaningless -- I'd agree to that.

    "50 brands that have had the most lasting impact" is different than "greatest."

    While game-changing is important, I'd just argue that successfully pursuing conservative good taste is also important.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012


  10. CTBrummie

    CTBrummie Senior member

    Messages:
    707
    Likes Received:
    186
    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    No one mention Church's? They should take precedence over every other English shoemaker...
     


  11. The Thin Man

    The Thin Man Senior member

    Messages:
    553
    Likes Received:
    73
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2009
    

    I actually think that a good writer describing what they find appealing about a brand is more likely to be interesting than them making observations about what they think other people found appealing about a brand.

    You also seem to be one of the people on this site most interested in the commercial aspects of the clothing industry.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012


  12. kennethpollock

    kennethpollock Senior member

    Messages:
    306
    Likes Received:
    0
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2006
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Huntsman
    Anderson & Sheppard
    Henry Poole
    Kilgour, French & Stanbury
    John Lobb of St. James
    G.J Cleverly
    Henry Maxwell
    Foster & Sons
    Edward Green
    Crockett & Jones
    Gaziano & Girling
    Church's English Shoes
    Hilditch & Key
    Turnbull & Asser
    New & Lingwood
    Drakes
    Atkinson's Irish Poplin
    Charvet
    John Lobb (Paris)
    Norman Hilton
    Troy Shirtmakers Guild
    Alden
    Johnston & Murphy handmade
    Brooks Brothers own make
    Martin Greenfield
    Samuelsohn
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012


  13. rach2jlc

    rach2jlc Prof. Fabulous Dubiously Honored

    Messages:
    14,813
    Likes Received:
    820
    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2006
    Location:
    Monaco
    Great points, Fok, and I agree. It seems to me that the thread is largely divided in terms of criteria into two quite different groups: (1) who are more like critics, and (2) who are more like customers. They'll use the same terms (greatest, innovative, etc.) but necessarily have two COMPLETELY different sets of experiences and criteria in mind).

    Given that SF isn't, technically, a "fashion" forum in the classic sense (like thefashionspot ca 2003-5), I'd actually say this forum is more heavily populated with "customers" (group 2). For example, how many members here have actually gone into stores, or reviewed collections in person, that they had no intention of actually buying? How many keep up (or kept up) with the industry outside of their "personal" favorites?

    So, it's difficult to get many of group (2) understand, for example, why Gaultier or Ferre might be on the list but not Borrelli, because 99% of members have never owned Gaultier or Ferre, and probably never really even seen one. RL, though, is owned by just about everybody here. As well, classic makers like Brioni and such are probably much more represented, because it is a site with a lot of professionals, not just a lot of fashion fans.

    Finally, if a discussion like this becomes too "personal aesthetic," then the discussion becomes just like every other thread on SF. "Check out my new XXY suit; isn't it great?" "I don't like the drape." "Well, I like the drape." "Shoulder has too much padding." "I like padding!" etc.

    Whether I like Gaultier or not, or whether I wear Arrow shirts, doesn't mean that both of them aren't more influential than, say, Roberto Menichetti... even though personally I wear his stuff and have more of his garments than either of these others. Thus, I'd put myself and my comments into group (1), as I would also Fok's, but many others would be in group (2). I don't know that we'll ever be able to come up with a comparable list, though BOTH are equally valid (in a sense).

    In any case, it's still been (and is) a very good discussion and I'm learning a lot, especially in this recent batch.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012


  14. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

    Messages:
    8,316
    Likes Received:
    13,618
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    I like the idea of "aesthetic achievement." I think Versace, for example, is a good example of that. But I find it problematic to equate "aesthetic achievement" with "things I happen to like." First, it would end up being an incredibly boring list of SF-approved brands. Second, you would end up with companies exactly like Cappelli. I happen to like Cappelli, but to name them as one of the greatest menswear brands of all time seems ... odd. It's a relatively new company that simply takes conservative English silks and puts a bit more visible handwork into their construction. They're not even really unique in that regard.

    Take this to the extreme. I happen to really like Panta, but to name them as one of the top fifty greatest menswear brands of all time seems strange, no?
     


  15. dieworkwear

    dieworkwear Senior member

    Messages:
    8,316
    Likes Received:
    13,618
    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2011
    

    I agree, and think this is a big problem. Drake's name keeps popping up, but I have to wonder if they'd be nominated so often if this thread was started prior to Michael Hill's arrival. Are people suggesting them just because Drake's happens to make really pretty ties right now? People made what many considered to be pretty ties in the 80s, 70s, 60s, and before. No reason to leave them out if that's the only criteria.

    The problem with conflating "greatness" with "things I like" seems to be exactly this - it's very dependent on the fashions of the time, or what the writers can buy.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2012


Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by