Now's The Time
Personally, I’m really excited about this capsule collection because it shows how Black Ivy style isn’t a thing of the past, but has elements and ideas that are truly timeless. We sat with the book, broke out our favourite jazz LPs and poured over thousands of other images and came up with some key themes that then informed a capsule collection, which we thought would be perfect for now.
One thing that needed to come through the collection was the lack of compromise with which these clothes were worn. In so many of the images we looked at, what made them great was the way the men fully committed to their style. For example there’s a Life Magazine photo essay by Bill Ray featuring local kids in Watts a year after the riots. They’re tough and confident and even against a backdrop of struggle, their sense of self definition through style comes through. The white trousers, the sunglasses, the red socks, the tab collar shirts - all helped inspire this mini collection.
Still located in Watts, we discussed the style of the legendary artist Noah Purifoy - with his popover shirt, stay press and deck shoes - and in another image he’s wearing a bold white shirt and white jeans. Both looks helped inspire pieces in our collection. Like his art, his style of dress was used to offer new ways in which could we respond to each other and our environment.
But commuting to a look also means going lush at times - taking classic pieces and adapting them by way of making a powerful style statement. Many Black Ivy style musicians did just that, turning the finest examples of Ivy clothing into their everyday wear, their casual wear aand their work wear. Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Eric Dolphy, Quincy Jones, Sonny Rollins - the list could go on - all musical giants who repurposed Ivy style to echo their own subversive, avant-garde message.
That subversive approach is what helped us decide to include the collections’ beautiful tweed jackets - worn in a relaxed casual way - matched with the most luxurious Indian madras shirts you can imagine either in classic button down collar or a first for Drakes a club collar. Here intense patterns and colours that tradition would say don’t work, combine brilliantly for this Spring Summer edit.
The Shape Of Things To Come
The original intention behind Black Ivy style of the 50s and 60s was not just to blur the lines of what was conventionally acceptable but remove them all together - it was truly a stylistic metaphor for social change. As a result, it’s a look that seems totally on-point now, where formal and casual, high and low, work and play are for many of us no longer diametrically opposed ways of dressing or of seeing things in general.
Blue In Green
So here in this first Black Ivy Style edit you’ll find an elegant red or white chore jacket, a luxurious indigo dyed merino t-shirt, a pastel blue or green button with the most perfect roll on the collar, premium construction deck shoes in bold colours, soft shoulder unlined tweed jackets, evening wear day wear, casual wear formal wear - all ready to be mixed, matched and mismatched.
I guess that's why I’m so happy about this as our first collaboration - it’s a beautifully designed, deeply considered wardrobe that honours the stylistic and cultural pioneers of the past in a way that I feel resonates with our lives today.