On July 4-6 the fashion trade show pendulum swings to Berlin, with PREMIUM, SEEK and BRIGHT all offering up something different for buyers from around the world. Tom Bottomley previews some key brands from each show.
Premium: Scotch & Soda
A well-established brand in the UK, with a buzzing and very successful store on London’s Carnaby Street, this is actually a first time showing for Amsterdam-based Scotch & Soda at Premium. It will present both its men’s and women’s s/s18 lines at the show, in a whopping 2,370 square foot space, with an outdoor terrace at STATION-Berlin hall. Scotch & Soda’s global director of merchandising, Alex Jaspers, says: “Berlin’s naturally buzzy, creative and open spirit is a lot like Amsterdam, our home city. Premium in Berlin feels like the right event to profile Scotch & Soda at right now.” The inspiration for the s/s18 collection is the real-life story of Robyn Davidson, who back in the 1970’s, when she was just 25, trekked from the very middle of Australia all the way to the West coast of the country – alone. The collection centres on the effortless elegance you find in traveler staples. There is a travel-ready aspect to everything. For men, the range explore the contrasts of ‘life on the road’ – washed meets clean, sports meet utility, brights meet sun-kissed hues, combined with modern takes on vintage styling. There’s new takes on palm prints, made moodier with a rock ‘n’ roll edge. There’s also vintage-washed denims with Japanese twists, and kimono lines transform workwear into fresh new indigo designs.
Premium: Joe’s Jeans
Brand new to the UK market for s/s18, courtesy of fashion distributors Zone Two, comes L.A. denim brand Joe’s Jeans – showing its full and impressive collection in Berlin. Perhaps better known for its high-end women’s denim offer, Joe’s Jeans is actually a much bigger collection and is 40 per cent men’s. The brand has two stores in California, one in New York, one in Florida and another in Washington DC. From a wholesale perspective, the brand works with some 3,000 stores in the US. In short, Joe means business. Founded in 2001 by creative director Joe Dahan, Joe’s Jeans has a distinctive premium L.A denim brand look and feel to it, with a touch of rock ‘n’ roll styling, and an emphasis on offering the perfect jeans fit for everybody – utilising the finest technology available. There’s also vintage-look slub jersey T-shirts, long-sleeved jerseys with pocket detail, slim-fit button down shirts in Japanese-sourced denim and washed Oxford cotton. Jackets include leather biker styles with denim linings, a cracked lambskin café racer jacket and a raglan sleeve twill bomber with water resistant coating.
SEEK: Russell Athletic
Formed in 1902, Russell Athletic is one of the oldest sportswear brands still going strong. For a/w17 it relaunched a more premium ‘Eagle R’ collection, utilising its rich archive, and for s/s18 its development continues apace – reinventing and reproducing definitive styles. The ‘Eagle R’ s/s18 collection is a mix of archive-inspired pieces with an injection of acidic colour nodding to 90’s sportswear, a key trend once more. It’s in keeping with the varsity sports heritage, but with modern silhouettes. Gothic lettering and university mascot graphics run alongside the bold ‘Eagle R’ logo. Colours such as golden haze and vintage lilac mix in with the traditional Russell Athletic red and blue colour palette. Fabrics remain true to the brand, incorporating its authentic 30’s American knit, along with soft handle cotton jerseys and peached brushback fleece. The s/s18 collection brings the best of the 50’s, 80’s, and 90’s together to create a fresh take on vintage inspired sportswear.
SEEK: Kappa Kontroll
It seems sports classics are becoming streetwear once again. Kappa introduced its new collection, Kappa Kontroll, for s/s17, and two seasons down the line its gaining a real momentum – with the famous logo still prevalent. The brand’s origins go back to 1916, when it was a socks and underwear manufacturer in Turin, Italy, with the brand name Aquila. Due to a faulty batch of socks, distributed by mistake in 1956, customers returned the goods to retailers, and they in turn returned them to the manufacturer. For the first time in nearly 40 years the company’s faultless reputation was at risk. The company president subsequently had future production labelled with a ‘K’ printed on the box, with the caption ‘KONTROLL’. It was a way to guarantee the quality of its products. The market loved it. Demand for socks with the ‘K’ soared, and the brand moved in to sportswear with the brand name Kappa. Sixty years later, comes the Kappa Kontroll collection, acknowledging the past, but with a new vision. The original Kappa logo features the silhouette of a man and woman sitting back to back in the nude, and was inspired by a photograph taken during downtime of a bathing suit catalogue shoot in 1969. The lighting and silhouette created by the models sitting back to back caught the photographer’s eye, and the logo was born.
Bright: Stay Hungry
A new streetwear label from Berlin, Stay Hungry is a one to watch. For s/s18 it will be presenting functional looking jackets and gilets, which go across the seasons. It is also launching breathable and elegant looking shirts, made out of exclusive and traditional fabric from Switzerland. The shirts can be used in the outdoors under rough conditions, but are equally suited to daily city life. There will be more variations to Stay Hungry’s five panel ‘Camp’ hat styles, exclusively made in Germany, and a new sporty looking small shoulder bag and several hip bag styles, exclusively produced by their friends at Bagjack – from the same Berlin neighbourhood. They are the perfect size for daily commuting in the city or any kind of travel. Stay Hungry is a young brand focused on creating urban outdoor gear and classy sportswear, which is exclusively made in Europe in limited quantities. And that’s its real point of difference.
For s/s18, Finnish brand Makia, founded in 2001, will be introducing quite a few new jackets, including a longer hooded knee-length rain jacket called ‘Longitude’ in black or white. There’s also a new Mac. Both are clean and minimalist waterproof all-season shell jackets. There is also a continuation of the ‘Island camo’ pattern, created from Helsinki’s sea front navigational charts. It will be used on selected pieces such as the ‘Waypoint’ jacket, that’s made out of brushed cotton. The pattern is printed and then garment dyed, for a subtle tone-on-tone look. Makia is generally focusing on timeless pieces, that are easy to fit with its customer’s own wardrobes. There’s a heavy Nordic vibe to the new collection, with marine influenced colours and patterns, along with minimalistic silhouettes and quality materials, such as Merino wool. The brand is also introducing a wider selection of sneakers, walking shoes and boots. There will be textile, oiled suede and leather options. Fresh collaborations for the season include one with Tomi Freeman, owner and designer of pioneering Finnish streetwear brand, CTRL. There will be exclusive custom made prints from Freeman in Makia’s s/s18 collection.