Whilst numerous collections have recently been unveiled in both Paris and Milan providing ample material for analysis and amazement, I've been keeping my attention squarely on (Summer-long) home turf. Stitch Menswear, the biannual London-based menswear and men's accessories trade show, opened its doors to buyers and press today at the Old Billingsgate Market (former fishmarket, incredible venue and sans sea scents, thankfully), allowing unprecedented access to designers' creations crafted from hard graft and unrelenting vision.
Although several of London's established designers are participating (Carolyn Massey, Omar Kashoura, Lou Dalton et al.), it's the lesser known brands that I've chosen to focus on. First up, the inimitable E One Six. Launched just a month ago, E One Six aims to proffer shirting which marries exquisite quality and unerring attention to detail.
^ E One Six SS11 at Stitch Menswear
Born from the desire to fill the void in the "modern man on the move" market, the label aims to provide shirting which is equally at home in the office as it is at a bar. The prime reason for the label's success in achieving such a goal is undoubtedly the detailing. As ever, good menswear is achieved through good detailing and E One Six designer, Daniel Blake, is fully aware of the old adage. From contrast collars to stripes on shoulders to a shirt of two contrasting halves, each Oxford begs to be worn as a statement piece of dynamic construction - not least due to each taking at least 35 separate parts and a skilled worker 80 minutes to manufacture.
With all fabrics and shirts being produced in a single European factory, Blake makes a conscious effort at eco-fashion reducing carbon footprint and ensuring quality consistency. Colour, too, is used in an unconventional manner, giving rise to a collection which takes white as its base but embellishes for interesting effect. Bland office attire this is not, and it's all the better for it too.