There is one fashion event that I would much rather attend than New York Fashion Week. I know, I know – I can already hear the collective “gasps!” from the fashion community. But, before you send them to pry my fashion card from my hands, please allow me to win you over to my (dark) side. Although I love seeing high-end designers present a fashion spectacular (one that might be available in stores, and one that I won’t be able to afford), I would much rather see what is new and next on the street. What will I see style-conscious people wearing on the street? Lucky for me, there is a “trade show” that does just that. It’s an abnormal trade show called PROJECT that is hosted in Vegas and New York bi-annually.
I’ve been following PROJECT Vegas for a few years. It’s more than just an average trade show: as Andrew Pollard, President of PROJECT, describes it, “Project is not a trade show company, but a fashion company”. It’s a company that strives to create community through education, connection, supporting emerging brands. I have never personally been to PROJECT, but it is on my list for next year. I like that they want to take a new perspective on fashion trade shows. PROJECT wants to develop young talent/brands and encourage established brands to do things differently. What is the future of retail?
PROJECT features the most directional brands and attracts the most influential retailers in the world marketplace; uniting them in a dynamic and community-focused atmosphere designed to drive commerce, creativity, and connectivity 356 days a year. – PROJECT website
The trade show develops specific initiatives that PROJECT wants to focus on. One of the cooler initiatives is called: PROJECT 10. The goal is to highlight 10 of the top brands that are going to influence the fashion culture. The 4th Edition of PROJECT 10 focused on street, skate, cycling, and art communities. PERFECT for a guy like me who loves each one of those categories. I picked my top three brands from Project 10 that you should probably check out (or at least be aware of their presence).
The first one up is a brand called Chubby Boob , sure the name might make you giggle when you say it, but it’s a cool street brand for guys.
Sure, they have the standard selection of graphic T-shirts, but the line consists of button front shirts, sweaters, hats, and even some surprise accessories like an updated rabbit tail (You know, for good luck on those urban adventures).
One thing that I like is the “do what I want” attitude from the branding. It is cool to see street wear brands put a decent amount of attention into their editorials like some of the more established brands.
Another brand that stood out from PROJECT 10 is called Wheelmen & Co. a bike culture brand. They have a selection of leather goods for the casual street style guy. Wheelmen has a few pieces that really stood out to me: a leather drink holder & notebooks. The majority of their products are leather bags (Which remind me of that “favorite bag” that has been worn-in and has a cool story).
The feeling I get from a lot of brands is that their online presence built a strong and engaging story around the brand – a story that consumers could really buy into. Is the consumer buying their products because of the brand’s story? If so, do designers also need to be storytellers in more ways than the traditional editorial work?
The next brand is a unique hat company called The Ampal Creative.Their aesthetic grew on me the more I looked at the hats. The hats are made with bold colors and patterned vintage material. I mean, how often can you pick up a cool street hat with a pink flamingo pattern?!
With their sun-soaked aesthetic, these hats will make you want to go on vacation. The company has a video that shows how the hats are made by hand. It’s nice to see men’s brands branch out into color, pattern, and other bold statements.
I can see why PROJECT 10 selected them as an influential brand: Ampal is a brand that is moving in the direction I think fashion is headed. Craftsmanship is something that I hope is coming back to fashion. If so, local Indy designers should be on the bandwagon to promote the craftsmanship in their products. I mean, I have no problem roaming Georgia St. with my pink flamingo patterned hat.
Onlynylives is the last brand that caught my eye from the PROJECT 10. It is, again, a cool street wear brand that has throwback graphics with a cool, bold color palette. I don’t think there is any excuse for Indianapolis to not have some short of street fashion with some of these really cool brands popping up on the internet. So get on it Indy guys and do a little research for some men’s threads.
Another cool thing about OnlyNYlives: they’re a dope graphic shirt company. However, if you guys check out local brands like PUP, Hayes & Taylor, and RobotoWear (FYI: those brands are also featured in the recently launched PATTERN PAPER MAGAZINE – Really check it out and share!)
With the fashion culture growing in Indianapolis, I hope to see some exciting looks on the streets on Indy. I will be watching – but not in the creepy stalker way; just in the sneaky taking pictures on my iPhone way.
Do you have a favorite street brand? Do you think you look fly in your styled outfit, guy? Show me or tell me about it in the comments. You can always tweet us pictures @PatternIndy or @_jeremiah_ #Indyfashion.