Boyswear founder and designer Jackson McKeehan could never be accused of being too conventional. He took inspiration for his Spring ’15 launch collection from diners and breakfast food, and is basing his next line on vintage robots. He takes fashion into new, otherworldly realms.
Since his spring debut, McKeehan’s emphasis on standout colors, patterns, print and unusual silhouettes has made for eye-catching clothing. His bold designs are not necessarily masculine, but border on unisex, which, he said, is something fairly new in the contemporary market. The androgynous quality of the clothing may come from McKeehan’s more theory-driven design process. He starts with stories about something happy or joyful, and the design comes afterward. “I focus on the story of the clothing rather than the silhouette or shape,” he said.
The Fall ’15 line is called The Robeatniks and is influenced by the silhouettes of robots from the 1960s and beatnik dressing for a “strange, neo-90s effect.” The line features original prints and has a futuristic palette of blues, purples, optic whites, reds and metallic silver.
McKeehan discovered quirky American design and kitsch growing up in Montana and Missouri. That sense of humor is reflected in his choice of materials and silhouettes, which demand attention and defy expectations. There is a cropped jacket, styled like a jean jacket, done in navy and metallic silver vegan leather, and a pair of wool knit trousers styled like ’50s denim. A pair of furry, navy sweatpants takes the athleisure trend to an absurd extreme.
Another source of inspiration for McKeehan is Brooklyn, where he currently lives and draws cues from the people around him, particularly the borough’s spirit and personality. McKeehan said he envisions his line worn by “the young at heart and brave people who aren’t afraid. If they’ve got a little twinkle in their eye, they’re a possible customer for me.”
That frenetic urban energy, coupled with McKeehan’s sharp eye for kitsch, can be seen in Boyswear’s custom prints. Notable pieces include a short-sleeve button-up in a sunglasses print detailed with expressive scribbling, and a sweater that reads “So Beat” in a large, stretched print. The defining urban feature is a large, abstract rat graphic, a Picasso-esque rendering of New York’s hated mascot, that reappears throughout the fall collection.
McKeehan is targeting the brand to unique shops and online platforms worldwide. As for the future, the designer said he is toying with the idea of pushing Boyswear further into the genderless apparel category and is considering introducing accessories.
Which pieces are currently getting the most wear in your own closet?
McKeehan said he is wearing a lot of his own collection; a James Long jumper that’s half-fur; and an oversize pair of Acne summer shorts, paired with leggings.
Which designer do you find inspiring and why?
Walter van Beirendonck, who is one of the Antwerp Six and uses lots of color and prints.
If you weren’t designing apparel, what would you be doing?
Finding another way to tell stories, maybe through writing.
What are your favorite blogs or magazines to read?
Paper Magazine, New Yorker, AnOther Man, Hello Mr.
Online, or in-stores: How do you tend to shop?
Online, because it’s easier.