For the first time in fashion history, Americans are dictating the trends: Virgil, Rihanna, Kanye, Todd Snyder, Teddy Santis, Kim Kardashian, Kendall Jenner.
Sure, before them, there were Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Donna Karan, Anne Klein, Halston, Bill Blass, Oscar de la Renta, Stephen Burrows and the famous Battle of Versailles. And they were all influenced by Bonnie Cashin and Claire McCardell, who created the American Look that feels as breathlessly modern today as it felt when it was first appeared.
They all inspired and influenced the fashion system. But they didn’t change it.
The change happened only recently, when the fashion system was first forced to stop ignoring popular culture, and then to put this pop culture in its center. When Vetements made post-Soviet punk its aesthetic, it was really riffing off on the urban American looks (hoodies, sweatpants) that Soviet teenagers were copying and making their own. When Dior launched its '“political knits,” it was really reflecting Cashin and McCardell’s designs that, 70 years earlier, freed women to move and work and live their lives unconstrained by Dior corsets. Cashin and McCardell’s made their clothes practical, functional and versatile through separates, layering and day-to-night looks. Other brands soon followed, turning American cultural language - workwear, streetwear, sportswear - into their couture.
We now have haute workwear and couture streetwear at Dior and luxe sportswear everywhere else. Number one item for Q1 2021 on Lyst’s quarterly ranking of fashion’s hottest brands and products was Gucci GG x The North Face. Most searched items are Yeezy slides.
Until six years ago, it was inconceivable that Dior would sell T-shirts or that sneakers and puffers would be the hottest fashion items. The shift is as meaningful as it marks the breakdown of fashion genres. Just like it’s increasingly hard to define music genres (as this year’s Grammy’s testify) and corresponding fandom identities, it is equally hard to label something “luxury” or “workwear” or “street” in fashion. It’s one big sartorial blur.
In this blur, the brands that stand out are brands that define their own cultural language. Cultural language is an aesthetic mix of attitude, behavior, appearance and style.
To celebrate this genre-less moment in fashion, we created our own aesthetic mix. It’s called the New BR Look. It involves the mythical American Look, a journalist-illustrator couple, and the late 1990’s.
The American Look is the look you didn’t know you had. It seamlessly mixed fashion with life, and style with movement, and it sprang from our unsatiable desire to hang out. City strolls and road trips in the countryside, hiking trails and summer barbeques and weekend golf and a trip upstate and beach time. The American Look believed that clothes don’t change the world. People who wear them do.
Then came the Zieglers. A journalist and an illustrator, irreverent and anti-conformist and thriving on breaking the rules. The Zieglers didn’t fit into rigidly defined fashion categories, and they liked it that way. Why wouldn’t we make safari clothes out of upcycled military garb, they asked. A photojournalist vest was born.
The late 90’s introduced us to oversized men’s shirts on women, sweaters so large they could be worn as dresses, and the versatile and ubiquitous workwear.
Mix the three and you get the BR Look.
The BR Look reflects our heritage as a fantasy. It takes things we already know and have nostalgia for and puts them together in a way that feels fresh.
The BR Look is functional: our pockets are made to pocket things and our sleeves are meant to be rolled up.
The BR Look comes to life once it’s worn. It’s less about fashion and more about life. Just like grunge and metrosexual co-existed in the 90’s, The BR Look jumbles fashion genres and blurs sartorial codes.
The BR Look is about living. It is about creativity and resourcefulness. It’s about pragmatism and cherishing the freedom of movement. Democratic in both form and price. Made by and for people from everywhere for everyone.
The BR Look is uptown polish and downtown irreverence. Sportswear mixed with street. Menswear with womenswear. Safari with tuxedo. Pajama pants with formalwear. Vintage with tailoring. Velvet dress with a beanie. Suits worn to a wedding or to work. Puffer vest over plaid shirt. Suits with sneakers. Traveler pant with everything.
Call it utilitarian chic.
Call it slouchy elegance.
Call it modern casualwear.
Or call it the BR Look.
You will recognize the BR Look in the wild by its layering, statement belts and cinched waist, silhouettes that are both structured and generous, timeless travel accessories (who doesn’t need aviator goggles for a trip to work?), comfortable and unrestrictive clothes, versatile separates, tailoring that moves, and expedition-ready casualwear.
Our New BR Look launched today, with a new Fall collection and a new website design, curtesy of Grace Robinson-Leo and Rob Matthews of Decade. Check it out here or see the screengrabs below. More news to come soon.