Despite being thousands of miles apart, Japan and Sweden share a surprising kinship, in a shared minimal design sensibility. Combining Scandinavian sleekness with a playful Japanese-influenced sensibility, Axel Arigato sneakers are the perfect alternative brand for those looking for something different.
Helmed by Swedish designers Max Svardh and Albin Johansson, Axel Arigato has grown from humble beginnings in 2014 as an online-only footwear brand to one of the most sought-after sneaker producers for those in the know. Stocked only in select boutiques and department stores worldwide, the key to the brand’s success lies in its dedication to top quality materials and excellent craftsmanship at a reasonable price point. Crafted in Portugal from premium leather, suede and custom-woven mesh, the range is set apart in its distinctive 90s styling, taking influences from street and skate and updating them for a modern audience. The finishing touch comes in the packaging: a custom made box, branded dust bags and—uniquely—a pair of branded chopsticks in a tongue-in-cheek nod to the brand’s Japanese inspiration.
With classic designs like the Axel Arigato Clean 90 sneaker, along with more contemporary silhouettes like the Genesis, it’s no wonder that the brand continues to go from strength to strength with each collection. We are proud to be among the select stockists for this very special brand; find the latest collection in store and online now, and look out for more to come.
It’s not unusual for menswear to be inspired by uniform: as well as being rugged and highly functional garments, military and service uniforms give an air of masculine dependability that has proven irresistible for generations. From repurposed army jackets to motorcycle garments, denim workwear to arctic parkas, menswear is rife with references to vintage uniforms. But starting a brand with an explicit inspiration from a specific uniform is far more unusual—and makes Parajumpers jackets one of the most unique brands on the market today.
Inspired by a chance meeting with a member of the Alaskan 210th Rescue Squadron—aka the Parajumpers or PJs—designer Massimo Rossetti founded Parajumpers in 2006 with the aim of replicating the PJs’ uniquely-adapted uniforms. Designed to withstand years of use and abuse in some of the harshest environments known to man, the Parajumpers Gobi jacket is closely based on the original jacket that first caught Rossetti’s eye. Boasting a removable down-filled liner and coyote fur ruff, the Gobi jacket is designed for year-round wear, letting the wearer choose how much insulation they want, while still providing rugged, functional and stylish outerwear of the highest possible quality. Parajumpers jackets represent the pinnacle of comfort, technology and style for the modern man.
Throughout the range, Parajumpers jackets boast detailing and features inspired by Rossetti’s research into functional uniform—such as the signature cargo pocket which was inspired by a firefighter’s jacket—and are designed to withstand even the harshest conditions and look good while doing it. Features like detachable down linings, real fur trims and taped seams all add up to the ultimate in year-round weather protection. The signature heavyweight metal snap-hook hardware and PJS logo patch add the perfect finishing touches to your purchase.
We are privileged to introduce Parajumpers to our range of the world’s finest menswear brands. Find our growing collection in-store and online today.
The Stone Island brand name has many different connotations for many different people; for some, it is inextricably linked with football culture, in particular the casual movement — either in a positive or a negative sense; for others, it has become associated with the grime music scene, and has extended its reach beyond the terraces and onto the streets. But first and foremost, that iconic Compass badge on your sleeve is a symbol of quality, innovation and style — the principles on which the brand as we know it was founded back in 1982.
Stone Island Spring/Summer 1983 Catalogue
Stone Island owner Carlo Rivetti is from a family with long ties to the clothing industry. By the 1980s, though, he had grown restless within the world of formalwear and sought to diversify into something he found more appealing: sportswear. He and his sister established a firm — the creatively-named Sportswear Company — and scoured Italy looking for companies that shared their vision for innovative casual clothing, where they discovered (and promptly acquired) CP Company. Stone Island itself, however, was conceived almost by accident: Massimo Osti — founder and designer for CP Company, and household name for those in the know about technical sportswear — had conceived a new fabric dubbed Tela Stella, a heavyweight, oilskin-like material impregnated with different pigments on either side and was determined to make something out of it. He couldn’t find a way to make it fit within CP Company’s collection, however, and so decided to craft a small collection of just seven jackets. In keeping with the military and nautical inspiration behind the Tela Stella fabric, he chose a compass as the logo for his new diffusion line: Stone Island was born.
Stone Island and Streetwear: From the Terraces to the Streets
Moving forward from this inauspicious start, Osti pushed ahead with fabric innovation, endlessly researching new textiles and ways to implement them, coming up with often outlandish, off the wall fabrics that no-one else had even thought of: heat-reactive weaves; nylon fabric laminated with hundreds of glass beads to change the colour in different angles; earth-dyed, acid-corroded canvas. This over-the-top approach, along with the masculine, military styling of the brand’s offerings was a large part of ‘Stoney’s’ appeal to the football casual crowd: fans travelling abroad for away and international games were always on the lookout for new and exciting garments to bring home and show off. Stone Island, with the one-off and unique nature of a lot of Osti’s fabrics, fits perfectly into this culture of one-upmanship, and the brand’s popularity was cemented from then on.
Because of this association with the hyper-masculine world of football casuals, the brand’s enduring legacy has been as a symbol of manliness. In more recent years, it has been adopted by inner-city kids in the UK as a status symbol, and in turn, became associated with the grime music scene. Buoyed up by high-profile collaborations with streetwear giants Supreme and Nike, the brand’s appeal has diversified beyond connoisseurs and collectors, particularly across the Atlantic. Urban music superstars like Drake, Frank Ocean and Travis Scott have all embraced the ‘Stoney’ look of late, skyrocketing interest in a brand that was previously alien to those not living in Europe, and launching its appeal to a whole new generation of streetwear fans.
Stone Island Fabrics: Continuing Innovation
These days, far from being helmed by a single visionary like Massimo Osti or later designer Paul Harvey, Carlo Rivetti has assembled a team of designers to better embrace its newfound worldwide popularity and the diversity of its fanbase, stating “It [is] necessary to be multicultural in order to be truly contemporary … I felt that in this era it is this possible to face all aspects of a world only with several minds and several visions.”
Stone Island Heat Reactive Jacket
This ethos has lead to the continuation of the innovation and research that Massimo Osti started all those years ago, and Stone Island holds its reputation for using unusual and technologically-advanced fabrics and finishes. Some recent examples:
Micro Reps: Stone Island Micro Reps is one of the brand’s staple fabric constructions. Classic nylon, the warp and weft fibres are of different thicknesses, allowing for a much tighter weave than traditional nylon fabric. This not only provides natural weather resistance but serves as the ideal base for the brand’s garment dyeing experiments.
Nylon Metal: We’ve written about this one before: nylon fibres with an irregular structure are woven as grey weft and white, ready to dye warp threads, and undergo an elaborate double-dyeing process to produce a fabric that has an iridescent sheen in different lighting conditions. This can produce a subtle three-dimensional effect, or be used with bright, contrasting colours to provide some pretty wild results.
Tank Shield: Crafted from matte polyester fabric, the whole jacket is first assembled and then internally laminated with overlapping panels of a weatherproof, breathable membrane, giving superior weather resistance and a near-seamless look.
Heat Reactive: A highly limited capsule, the Stone Island Heat Reactive jacket from SS19 was a cotton ripstop construction, printed all over with a three-colour fractal camo design in a heat reactive pigment. As the wearer’s body heat warmed the fabric, the pattern became brighter and more prominent, also revealing a large Stone Island logo to the back.
This is just a tiny fraction of the scope of the brand’s vision: the brand’s own historical archive consists of over 7000 pieces, while their research archive is larger still, at over 40,000 items of vintage sportswear and militaria.
Stone Island Badges
Aside from the high-end fabrics and construction, perhaps the most important element of a Stone Island product is the removable badge, normally found on the left side of the garment, with the Marina collection breaking the mould and not featuring the badge at all, instead opting for bold text printing. There are a number of different versions of the badge which denote different aspects of the brand. The standard, most commonly recognised badge is the yellow and green compass rose badge (above left). Despite switching from a green border to a black one, the classic badge has remained unchanged since the brand’s inception and is a tribute to both the military inspiration of the brand and the sense of adventure and exploration driving Osti’s research.
There are a number of monochromatic badges (above centre) that were originally used for what the brand dubbed Ghost Pieces: with fully tonal designs in a variety of colours, including black, red and white, they were conceived as a kind of modern camouflage, allowing the wearer to blend in while still keeping the unmistakeable Stone Island aesthetic. More recently, the tonal black badge has been used to denote pieces from the Shadow Project diffusion line: combining Stone Island’s technical fabric expertise with directional, futuristic designs from ACRONYM’s Errolson Hugh.
The White Compass badge (above right) is seen on limited edition pieces, often known as ‘Champagne Pieces’ because of the colour of the badge. These jackets often use even more innovative fabrics and construction that can only be created in small quantities, and are often at a higher price point to the normal line, due to the limited nature of their production. Of course, the flip side of this limited aspect is that the pieces become collector’s items in years to come, holding their value for a lot longer than others, if not increasing it.
Celebrities Wearing Stone Island
Drake with Stone Island owner Carlo Rivetti
The Weeknd in Supreme x Stone Island
As mentioned above, Stone Island has been spotted on more and more celebrities recently. One of the more high-profile representatives of the brand has been music superstar Drake, who seems to wear the brand almost exclusively these days, even going so far as to have custom pieces made for his Boy Meets World tour. Drizzy is joined in his love for Stoney by fellow Canadian star The Weeknd, who was recently spotted wearing pieces from the Supreme x Stone Island collaboration (for extra streetwear kudos), as well as rap mainstays Kanye West and Travis Scott.
Jason Statham in Stone Island
Back over in Blighty, grime artists are often spotted sporting the Compass, including Tinie Tempah and Skepta, while Hollywood hardman Jason Statham is another of the brand’s high profile fans.
Stone Island Headquarters Tour Video
In this unique video, Carlo Rivetti opens the door to the Stone Island empire and allows the public a sneak peek at the research and experimentation that goes on behind the scenes. It offers a fascinating glance into how the brand operates behind closed doors.
Since its release around this time last year, the Nike Air Max 270 has earned itself quite the reputation. Having been dressed in countless colour combinations, topped sales charts and took on a variety of materials and fabrics, the trainers mark the coming of a new generation of Air Max that’s spearheaded by the unrelenting advancements in on foot-technology and got the old-timers shaking in their pressurised air repositories. Backed up by the likes of the VaporMax and hungry for its spot in the limelight the 270 has not only already earned its spot in the upper echelons of the Air Max ranks but provided the inspirational base material for fellow young guns, such as the 720 and the 270s more outdoorsy sibling, the Bowfin, to follow in its footsteps.
But, we aren’t here to talk about the Bowfin or the 720, we’re here to tell you about this very nice pair of 270s set to come through our doors very, very soon. Boasting Nike’s biggest air unit to date, this iteration of the instant classic showcases an understated black colourway that acts as the perfect contrasting base layer to amplify the cool blues and sharp whites. Born out of a mish-mash of some of the best elements found evident both in the Air Max 180 and 93, the trainer comes with a knit upper which hugs the shape of the foot and utilises hits of mesh and solid panelling to not only create a streamlined silhouette but retain structure and airflow.
An asymmetrical lacing system helps to enhance the supportive qualities above whilst a dual-density foam sole and aforementioned air unit tucked neatly under the heel give in-step cushioning from below. Finished with garnishes of tasteful branding to the tongue, sides and pull tab, the trainer captures that highly in demand, ultra-technical sporty aesthetic we all can’t seem to get enough of.
The Nike Air Max 270 is available both in store and online now. Be sure to follow us on social media and sign up to our newsletter for the latest news and information surrounding upcoming drops and releases.
The worlds of music and fashion have always walked hand-in-hand; for youth subcultures from mods to punks to hip-hop heads, the clothes they wore were of equal importance to the music they listened to. Specific brands and items have even been intrinsically linked with certain musical styles or groups, like skinheads with Dr Martens and Fred Perry, or the Wu-Tang Clan with Clarks Wallabees. But it’s not usual to find a brand that has a direct link to the music industry through its own record label — meet the Maison Kitsunebrand.
Founded as a record label in 2002 by the Franco-Japanese duo of Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki, Kitsuné branched out into clothing early into its life, delivering its first ready-to-wear collection in 2005 and introducing its very endearing fox logo embroidery. The collision of music and fashion has always been central to the brand’s ethos since its inception. Loaëc had moved from Brittany to Paris to open up a record store, where he got to know regular customers Daft Punk – the world-famous electronic music duo, known as musical tastemakers and eccentric dressers – and eventually became the group’s art director and manager. Kuroki, meanwhile, was more from the design side of the spectrum, moving from Tokyo to Paris at age 12 and graduating as an architect in 1999.
Loaëc and Kuroki knew one another as acquaintances through Loaëc’s record store, but didn’t really become close friends until Loaëc needed a guide for Tokyo during a Japanese trip to oversee the production of Daft Punk’s Interstella 5555, an animé companion piece to their Discovery album. Kuroki came to mind immediately, and during the trip the two bonded over their shared loves of music and fashion, and the concept for Kitsuné – something that would combine music, image and clothing – was born.
Alongside the first ready-to-wear collection, Kitsuné released the first in a series of highly popular and influential compilation albums, showcasing the likes of Hot Chip, Digitalism and the Klaxons long before their mainstream success. Having grown organically since then — and remaining an independent company — the Maison Kitsune label has not only opened 16 boutiques across the world, including Paris, New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Honolulu, but also their own Café Kitsuné in Paris and Tokyo, along with plans for a Kitsuné Hotel in Bali, Indonesia cementing the brand’s image as a fully-fledged lifestyle destination.
Kuroki designs the clothing collection, using his architectural background and Japanese influences to create designs that channel classic Parisien chic with a modern approach to preppy style that exudes an air of ineffable cool. Each of the brand’s basic pieces is made in Portugal by small factories that are selected for their artisanal techniques, ensuring that Maison Kitsuné t-shirts and sweatshirts are some of the best you can buy. The brand have also recently expanded their selection to more ready-made cut-and-sew pieces like shirts, trousers and suiting, alongside footwear in collaboration with specialist companies like Pierre Hardy and Brandblack.
Having come this far through their own merits, with a finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist and an eye for details, The Maison Kitsune brand is sure to continue to grow from strength to strength. Shop the first drop from Spring/Summer ’19 today at Aphrodite, and look out for more Maison Kitsuné as the year goes on.
One of the most storied houses in fashion history, the Balmain brand is synonymous with luxury, and we are privileged to add the esteemed brand to our roster of the world’s finest menswear this season.
History of Balmain
The house was established by in Paris in 1945 by Pierre Balmain, the son of a drapery merchant and a man-about-town in Parisien society. After showing just one collection, which was feted by luminaries such as the costume designer Cecil Beaton and intellectual writer Gertrude Stein, the house quickly cemented itself alongside Dior as a force in French fashion. Balmain used his natural charisma to build relationships with his customer base, along with courting interest from further afield, outfitting everyone from Hollywood film stars like Marlene Dietrich, to foreign royals, notably Queen Sirikit of Thailand, who was touring the West at the time.
The Balmain brandwas one of the first labels to adopt this pan-global approach, seeing the potential in the American and Asian markets and tailoring the commercial supply to meet the demand in these areas. After Balmain’s death in 1982, the brand went through a succession of different creative directors, most notably Oscar de la Renta, who helmed the house for the period between 1993 and 2002. Bringing a new personality to the brand, de la Renta leveraged his status as a native New Yorker to bring a metropolitan vibe to the Balmain brand, while still respecting the aesthetic and designs of the house’s founder.
In recent years, the Balmain label has seen a new surge in popularity thanks to young creative director Olivier Rousteing and his social media-savvy persona. The second-youngest person to hold a creative director position in Paris, since 2011 Rousteing has utilised both traditional runway shows and his wealth of Instagram connections to present his vision for the brand. In contrast to Balmain’s classic, understated image, Rousteing injects a sense of youthfulness to the collection, adding a wealth of influences ranging from military uniform, rock-star aesthetics and nods to Asian culture to create something totally unique while still respecting the history of the brand. Having grown his acclaim much in the same way that Pierre Balmain did decades earlier — appealing to a changing global market, while using his own personal charisma to build an enviable list of contacts and customers among the rich and famous — Rousteing is arguably the closest the brand has come to a true successor to its founder, which is reflected in the growing success of the brand.
Keeping the luxury DNA intact, Rousteing’s Balmain brand is the ideal balance of refined sophistication and rugged masculinity. Key pieces from the collection include the Biker Jacket and Biker Jeans: a formidable combination that elevates these two wardrobe staples into something worthy of fashion royalty. The jacket is crafted from the finest lambskin, buttery-soft to the touch in contrast to its tough-guy looks, playing on the iconic ‘Double Rider’ jackets sported by 50s icons like Marlon Brando and James Dean. Balmain jeans, meanwhile, transfuse the blue-collar staple with an unexpected motorsports influence, reframing panelled motorcycle trousers in sturdy washed Japanese denim for a uniquely textured, three-dimensional look. Supporting these investment pieces are a plethora of essentials like t-shirts and sweats, each given a unique Balmain twist. Displaying a graphic language that’s informed by Rousteing’s influences from the worlds of music, fashion and travel, Balmain t shirts and other apparel are the perfect way to inject some luxury into your off-duty wear.
Finally, Balmain footwear is the perfect accent to the rest of the collection. Whether looking for a contemporary, chunky sneaker like the Jace, a sleek and sophisticated ankle boot, or something in between like the slip-on Sock Sneakers, the latest lineup of Balmain shoes is some of the strongest ever, all boasting superlative European construction, making them true investment pieces.
A major name in Italian fashion, DSquared2 holds the motto “Born in Canada, Living in London, Made in Italy” which embodies the brand’s history and ethos perfectly. Founded by Canadian identical twin brothers Dean and Dan Caten, the brand’s collections display a wealth of influences from across the globe.
DSquared2 Brand History
The Caten brothers founded the brand in 1995 and, thanks to their dedication to luxurious construction and the irreverent, punk-infused attitude of the clothes, quickly became a favourite among fashionistas and celebrities alike. The brothers capitalised on their growing reputation, forming relationships and connections with their most high-profile and influential customers. This strategy resulted in them working closely with stars like Madonna and Rihanna on collections for the artists’ tours, as well as enlisting them to walk the runway for spectacular shows.
This penchant for spectacle translates to the clothing, with heavily distressed and embellished detailing appearing as a signature throughout the brand’s collections, along with nods to the Caten brothers’ home of Canada with maple leaf and rugged outdoor motifs. DSquared jeans in particular are popular for their outlandish styling and exceptional quality. As enshrined in the brand’s motto, all the clothes are made and hand-finished in some of Italy’s finest couture factories, giving the brand a healthy mix of opulent fabrics and rock’n’roll attitude.
Uniquely, the brand has extended its collaborative stance to outfitting football teams, starting with Juventus in 2006 and more recently with Manchester City. These partnerships showed a more subdued, sophisticated side to the brand, which has started to cross over into the main DSquared2 collection, resulting in a well-balanced, wearable range that still boasts the Caten brothers’ unmistakeable graphic sensibility.
We are proud to be official stockists of a range of DSquared2 t-shirts, jeans and other apparel, welcoming the brand to our list of the world’s finest menswear. Shop the whole range today, and keep an eye on our social media channels for all the latest news and arrivals.
It’s fair to say fashion has taken a swerve that no one could have anticipated over the past few years, with even the highest of high-end focusing solely on that of the streetwear trend. We explore a brand whos organic identity had them placed rightfully in the rankings of this megatrend from the offset, by documenting them in their new stomping ground.
With an assortment of familiar silhouettes and fabrics, The North Face never fail to impress with their ability to give everything a fresh take. In an array of earthy toned fleece, poly and nylon with healthy dashes of camo print and the newly introduced repeat ‘brand mantra’ text, never stop exploring, you can stand out or blend in as you please.
Of all the fashion trends of the last decade, perhaps the most important is the move towards sustainability – brands and consumers alike changing their habits and practices to benefit the planet we inhabit. Aside from the ethical considerations, the ‘buy-it-for-life’ mentality also makes sense financially: spending more money on individual products that are of a higher quality with the view to having them last a lifetime of wear. There are few products that benefit from this more than a good pair of boots. Not only will the right pair remain looking stylish season after season, but a well-looked-after pair of quality boots will last longer than any fashion trend, making them a perfect investment. With their insanely durable, fully re-craftable range of boots, the USA’s Danner Boots could be your new footwear go-to.
The brand was founded by Charles Danner in 1932, who had noticed a drop in quality, American-made footwear after the Great Depression hit, and so set out to make his own. The boots were aimed at the burgeoning timber industry in the Pacific Northwest, and so had to be both durable and affordable. Thanks to his uncompromising approach to best quality at the best price, Danner soon developed a reputation for reliability, which earned them a contract to produce footwear for the U.S. military, which the brand still holds to this day.
After the Second World War, Danners started to branch out into other varieties of footwear, spurred on by the rising popularity of outdoor leisure activities in the 50s and 60s. In the early seventies, the Danner brand released its first specialised hiking boot, the 6490, which coincided with the peaking popularity of hobbyist hiking and mountain climbing. After receiving rave reviews in outdoor magazines and sell-out production runs, the brand was able to relocate to a larger factory in Portland, Oregon, which still remains their base of operations today.
This larger factory not only allowed production to increase but for the brand to branch out and experiment with ways to push the boundaries and make their product the best it could be. To this end they partnered with W.L. Gore Ltd. (now known as Gore-Tex) to add a liner to their boots that were not only waterproof but breathable, allowing them to reduce the weight considerably while still maintaining all the boot’s technical properties. This breakthrough served as the genesis for two of the brand’s most enduringly iconic styles: the Mountain Light and Danner Light, which form the core of the Danners range.
Where to Buy Danners
Today Danners still pushes these technical boundaries, working with industry experts like Gore-Tex and Vibram to create modern styles like the Mountain 600, while still making tweaks and improvements to their heritage range, ensuring that they’ve got a pair of boots for all tastes. They only use the finest leathers in their manufacturing process: each hide undergoes a strenuous sequence of tests to ensure consistency, durability and, of course, good looks. This attention to detail is readily apparent in the Bull Run work boot: a simple design elevated by a beautiful, waxy leather that’s sure to age wonderfully with proper wear and care.
We are honoured to welcome a brand of Danner’s stature to our range of the world’s finest menswear here at Aphrodite Clothing. We stock a curated selection of the brand’s heritage work and hiking boots, along with the more modern Mountain 600 boot; whichever pair you choose, you’re sure to have a new companion for years to come.