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Most men may not be quite ready to wear a skirt, but these four designers are making it easier to break the rules with style.
For her New York-based brand Bode, Emily Bode transforms antique textiles from all over the globe into sophisticated jackets and pants, which have been spotted on celebrities like Donald Glover and Harry Styles. “People have such strong relationships to textiles because they grow up with them in different ways,” she explains. Her most recent collection was inspired by a friend’s grandfather, who immigrated to Canada from India during British colonial rule. The result was a line of suiting done in English towel fabrics and traditional Indian khaddar cloth, adorned with embroidered Bengalese patterns.
Designer Kozaburo Akasaka , who recently won the LVMH Special Prize, infuses his pieces with a personal narrative. Although his clothes incorporate many Japanese-inspired details (sashiko-embroidered overcoats, indigo-dyed shirts), he sees his work as “borderless.” A recent collection features the craft of a Buddhist monk who hand-painted a print for a number of pieces, as well as Navajo concha belts engraved with Japanese characters and a T-shirt that combines symbols like the mark of a Japanese dojo, a Chinese yin and yang, and a Native American medicine wheel.
London designer Grace Wales Bonner has recently become a breakout star—her clothes have even been shown at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. For Spring 2019 she did a collection based on American spiritual teacher Ram Dass’s Be Here Now manifesto from the 1970s. The pieces, which included recycled patchwork brocades from India, featured printed quotations from the book about love and being present. Wales Bonner has been known to push the boundaries of masculinity in her collections: Her most recent line includes a suit tied with Tibetan cymbals and a beaded skirt worn over trousers.
KIRK MILLAR, the menswear designer behind the burgeoning New York line Linder (which has recently launched a women’s collection), wants his clothes to celebrate “fantasy and the interior life of an individual.” To that end, he’s printed poetry from Hart Crane and Walt Whitman on the linings of coats, and for his Spring collection he designed sweaters that featured family drawings collected by his grandmother, as well as sleeve details showcasing flowers she’d cut from gardening magazines in the ’60s.