February 2010 feels like just yesterday. But since then, Warby Parker’s set up numerous stores throughout the U.S., distributed glasses to over a million people in need worldwide, and pivoted itself as one of the most popular eyewear brands, perfectly meshing affordability and style. With an expansive variety of optical accessories, the label has certainly built itself up in the past five years, and that’s definitely something worth celebrating.
Sometimes it’s a lot harder than you’d think to find the perfect accessories, especially when it comes to menswear. Over-the-top styles make for great statement pieces, but what happened to a traditionally good bag?
Cue Oppermann, the London-based label that fuses luxury and practicality to create undeniably beautiful leather goods. Launched in 2012 by two Swedish brothers, Niklas and Mattis Oppermann, the brand shows the perfect combination of sleek Scandinavian minimalism and cutting-edge London style. And just when it seemed as if the perfect shapes, high-quality materials, and couture-like craftsmanship couldn’t get any better, Oppermann is also using a refreshing new retail model.
Launching this fall, set to make waves through 2015 and beyond, Oppermann will be one of Europe’s first online-only menswear labels. Retailers often mark up the cost of items by at least three times, and by distributing directly from the source, Oppermann offers their pristine products at astonishing prices. But don’t think a reasonable expense means lower quality; the brand is still all about getting better and better with each piece.
As with typical minimalism, the details are what truly make Oppermann’s items stand out. From bags to wallets to leather sleeves and document cases, everything is handmade in Italy, while all materials come from some of the finest European manufacturers. Take the brand’s latest collection, “Surfaces.” Featuring tumbled leather from Tärnsjö Garveri in Sweden, Italian vegetable-tanned leather trims, and zippers from Raccagni, Italy, the items are handcrafted in Naples, Italy to produce duality and versatility. In a nutshell, Oppermann is proving that the pricetag doesn’t have to match the elevated quality, putting the brand in line to be one of the hottest men’s luxury accessories labels.
Get in on the label’s Kickstarter campaign here, and check out some of the awesome items below!:
Some items have a certain allure that makes them nearly irresistible. A perfect example of this would be the M05 timepieces from the Dior Homme Chiffre Rogue line. Though they originally debuted over a year ago, the two distinct styles present themselves with a sharpness and sophistication that allows for eternal and universal appeal. Many watch connoisseurs often express detest for those of the designer fashion family. However, to those of us who simply enjoy beauty and efficiency, the Chiffre Rouge M05 is a thing of dreams. Sleek and minimal, the predominantly black watches feature pristine silver details and tastefully affixed translucent red mineral crystal accents, with the elements interpreted differently for the specific model. Somehow, the simple pieces define the elegance and masculinity commonly associated with the Dior Homme aesthetic. And they came to our attention just in time for the holidays.
Does anyone remember Jil Sander’s Vasari bag? You know, the paper bag clutch with its black leather counterpart that debuted (and subsequently sold out) with the brand’s fall 2012 menswear collection? As ridiculous as it seemed to spend $290 on the coated paper original or $630 on the luxe leather version, the sales don’t lie, and the item became one of the hottest men’s accessories in recent years. Unfortunately, the Vasari is long gone. But that’s where StampdLA comes through in the clutch…literally.
Known for their leather snapbacks and cheeky accessories, the Los Angeles-based, urban-inspired retailer created their own variation of the Vasari bag. The “Bodega Bag” first appeared on StampdLA’s online shop quite a while ago. But for those times when we’re feeling nostalgic for our Jil Sander lunch dates, the Bodega certainly presents a great option. It’s also a more reasonable alternative, priced at $90 for a smaller “40 oz” bag and $140 for a medium. Both sizes are available in either a neutral “brown paper” shade or in sleek black, and all variations are made from 100% full grain leather. Even when the Vasari is out, the Bodega is still in. “Paper-bagging it” just got a lot more stylish, especially at with a price tag that’s not worth losing your lunch over.
As much as I love the fashion industry, it’s essentially a corporate-based market; it’s not every day that a brand or company contributes to a deeper cause. That’s one of the many things that makes Matonyok stand out.
The term “matonyok” means “to work hard together” in the Maa language of the Maasai tribes of Kenya and Tanzania, embodying the strong spirit of the brand itself. The Maasai women are known for their exceptional craftsmanship, as they produce basically immaculate handmade jewelry. Unfortunately, the profits from the pieces sold to tourists don’t provide enough for substantial education and healthcare costs. But by mid-2011, things would begin to change.
After getting to know the skilled Maasai women, Mary Argimon partnered with accessories designer Jessica Walsh to create an innovative and inspirational fashion endeavor. The team merged Western design concepts with the Maasai women’s beading mastery, and a series of handbags, footwear, accessories, and small leather goods soon followed.
Not only does Matonyok use unique, couture-like craftsmanship for their products, but the brand also represents positive cultural change and the benefits of a globalized market. Matonyok supports the women and children of the Maasai community, providing them with consistent income and donating 10% of proceeds to secondary education and women’s healthcare. Sure, plenty of fashion designers have contributed to charities or done similar projects before, but Matonyok is the first I’ve heard of that dedicates a huge fraction of its work to helping others.
Let’s also not forget that the pieces are fantastic; Matonyok’s amazing cause is definitely backed by some seriously stylish items. Their designs aren’t the items you would find in a Nairobi gift shop, and this isn’t the type of cultural appropriation you’d see in some designers’ “Africa-inspired” collections. Matonyok’s pieces display modern uses of the Maasai craft that’s been practiced for centuries, and everything is presented in a way that’s relevant to the high fashion market. I could easily picture these accessories alongside recent designs from Lanvin and Burberry Prorsum, only Matonyok is the real thing (no offense to Alber Elbaz and Christopher Bailey).
Oh, and before I forget, I’d like to express how extremely excited I am to intern with Matonyok this July in Kenya! I’m sure it will be amazing, to say the least, as it will give me experience in the fashion industry and the opportunity to witness and contribute to an unbelievable cause.
In the short period of time Hedi Slimane has been working at Saint Laurent (formerly known as Yves Saint Laurent), he’s managed to piss off a decent amount of people. It probably doesn’t help that his fall 2013 menswear and womenswear collections were both…well let’s say they weren’t exactly amazing. It was actually reminiscent of some of Urban Outfitters’ absolute worst items, but I’m not trying to turn this into a Slimane-bashing post (trust me, I’m tempted). Let’s focus on the positive: before even I (a once avid Hedi Slimane fan) lost hope for his work at Saint Laurent, he presented a phenomenal spring 2013 menswear collection. One of the many pieces I’d love to buy is the Roc Sack Backpack in Black Leather (I’ve already mentioned how much I love black leather).
I have a leather backpack right now, and after seeing this bag, I’m ready to throw mine out the window. I’m always on the go, and when I’m not, I’d definitely like to be. I obviously don’t want to buy some hideous hiking backpack, and I’m not into man purses, totes, or briefcases. The Roc Sack has lots of pockets and cool details, and it’s perfect to carry around all day and maybe even at night. Oh, and it retails for $2,995…casually. My birthday is May 2nd, which isn’t too far away. If anyone wants to buy this for me, I’ll be eternally grateful.