The tried-and-tested fashion staple that is the denim jacket makes for the perfect spring and British summer cover-up for guys. If you are considering investing in a jacket this season, Topman has created the perfect sartorial offering in the form of The Denim Jacket Project.
The denim jacket had changed little since its inception and introduction by Levi’s circa 1900, but the project takes this humble piece of outerwear one step further. Topman has upped the ante by commissioning five British and American designers, charging them with the task of reinventing this classic male wardrobe building block to give it a fresh and updated look for 2012.
For the project, Topman has culled its chosen designers from the current wealth of emerging fashion talent. The line-up consists of the cream of upcoming British menswear talent, all of whom have each shown previously as part of Topman and Fashion East’s initiative MAN, the Topman sponsored New Gen Men, or have collaborated with the brand previously, and some rising American fashion stars.
From the UK come Oliver Spencer, Lou Dalton, and Katie Eary. Oliver Spencer is perhaps the most well-known name on board, renowned for his relaxed, quirky take, on quintessential British style. Spencer has designed a navy denim biker jacket with press-stud fastenings and double asymmetrical zip to create a contemporary version of the denim jacket with a harder edge.
Lou Dalton has remained essentially true to the traditional form of the denim jacket, in keeping with her aesthetic of refined tailoring and contemporary classicism. The use of French seams adds depth to the design, and ensures that the jacket will retain its colour when washed.
From glamorous-streetwear designer Katie Eary comes a nifty stand-out number in stark bleached denim that features a detachable borg collar and gold hardwear. Unassuming at first glance, what marks this jacket out from the crowd is Eary’s signature use of bold animal print, used here in the lining in a multi-coloured leopard print.
Out of the US comes one of the most exciting and talked-about fashion talents to emerge out of New York in recent times: Mark McNairy. Recently bestowed the honour by GQ as one of the “Best new menswear designers in America”, McNairy has designed my particular favourite: a workwear inspired jacket with an all-American feel in raw denim, which uses the cut and sew technique to create what is seemingly two separate jackets fused into one.
Also representing the Stars and Stripes is California-born, British-trained designer Shaun Samson. His offering is a highly fashion forward, mesh-backed creation that has a 90s sportswear look.
Cult in-house label Topman Design, round out this amazing roster with their polka dot denim version. An homage to the heritage of the denim jacket, it is modelled on an original 1930s design.
The Denim Jacket Project will launch on Thursday 4th April. The jackets retail at £70 each and are available from Topman Manchester Arndale, Topman General Stores in Shoreditch and Earlham Street London, Topman Oxford Circus Harrods, Selfridges and online here.
Ian Michael Turner