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At New York Men’s Shows, Brands Focus on Color, Dye Effects and Core Fits

As the season heats up, so do the styles. This week at Liberty Fairs and Project in New York City, men’s fashion brands introduced Spring/Summer 2020 collection inspired by faraway locales, nature-inspired colors and as always, an emphasis on comfort.

Getaway fashion

From tropical printed frocks to the plethora of natural material hats and handbags that have saturated the women’s market for several seasons now, millennials wanderlust—be it for the ’gram or for the experience—is increasingly influencing women’s designers. So much so that the travel fashion category has given rise to “travel edits” and entire collections designed around getaways, like Reformation’s recent “eco-travel” collection.

This season, with men significantly more likely to splurge on vacations than women, menswear designers are waking up to the opportunity of travel-themed fashion too.

Inspired by Spanish traditions, Life after Denim’s S/S 2020 collection features short sleeved button-down shirts with exotic and bold prints, including one navy and white design that mimics the pattern of Spanish tile.

Tropical prints are among the S/S 2020 trends WGSN youth fashion editor Marian Park urged buyers to watch—particularly as resort shirt and short sets. Dutch label Scotch & Soda received the memo, offering effortless vacation dressing with a range of vibrant Hawaiian prints. Created in collaboration with Keoni, the prints are used across lightweight button-down shirts and casual drawstring shorts. The pieces can be worn separately or as a set.

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The prints also pair well with a collection of linen beach pants and shorts—expected to be among the brand’s hero items for the season—available in multiple colorways.

Scotch & Soda Liberty Fairs
Scotch & Soda Liz Warren

Fresh hues

As a whole, men’s spring fashion is getting bolder—and not just in the form of novelty prints.

For spring, Life After Denim updated staples like hooded sweatshirts and sweaters with trendy coloration techniques like tie dye and dip dye. The techniques allow the brand to introduce trendy colors like lime green into their mix in a low-key way.

Prps continued its experimentation with color for spring. The brand takes a graffiti-inspired approach with statement pieces like a hand-painted jean jacket and a painted hoodie featuring a colorful cherub print.

Likewise, Blank NYC added subtle painterly splashes of color a denim shacket for spring. The garment’s camouflage-print snap buttons are an unexpected surprise, giving it an eclectic, upcycled feel. The brand also presented a line of stretch denim shorts, offering classic indigo and black shorts with a contrasting neon-hued shoelace belt, and pair of cut-off denim shorts with a cloudy gray effect.

Liberty Fairs NYC Spring 2020 trends
AG Jeans Liz Warren

And when it came to color denim, pure players didn’t offer just one or two options. They arrived with a full scope of color denim options.

For S/S 2020, AG Jeans featured light pink, dusty rose, moss green, royal blue and fire engine red, among others. Fidelity presented new twill bottoms in neutral tones like mushroom and green, along with bright weight denim. Paige introduced lilac—a key S/S 2020 color, according to WGSN—alongside mauve and rust-tinted tan.

Meanwhile, DL 1961 explored the allure of desert hues with a large portion of the collection dedicated to tobacco, cream, red clay and coffee. The colors looked fresh on silhouettes like updated shackets with more pocketing, lightweight bomber jackets and an expanded chinos collection.

Straight up

As interest in skinny jeans slow, men’s denim brands are moving towards more relaxed fits. Australian brand, Neuw Denim, introduced Baggys, a three-part capsule featuring: the Studio Baggy, a relaxed tapered pant with a longer rise and button fly; the Reid Baggy, a full length, relaxed straight pant; and the Kerouac Baggy, a loose straight pant with a cropped leg inspired by his namesake.

However, despite what the S/S 2020 runway is dictating, most pure player denim brands (and their consumers) are not yet ready to embrace the baggy jean.

Rather, brands focused on slim fits. Premium denim brand Ace Rivington added two new fits to its S/S 2020 line, including a slim and athletic cut which allows for slightly more movement. Mavi continues to believe in the slim straight, as well a more athletic version made with French Terry fabric.

The slim straight Jimmy remains Fidelity Denim’s best-selling fit, but the slim Torino and the 50-11, a relaxed fit, are catching up. For S/S 2020 brand is also introducing the Camino, a relaxed fit with a tapered bottom ideal for men with athletic builds.

For DL 1961, the slim straight is a staple, but a rep stated that retailers that focus on tailored clothing are shifting toward a carrot fit with a 13-inch leg opening.

Paige’s Federal, a slim cut jean with a slender fit, remains the brand’s bread and butter. For S/S 2020, the brand is also building out its line of Transcend fabrications—a line of stretch fabrics with good recovery—to include a version with more cotton in the blend for a stronger vintage effect.

And AG is embracing the warm season. After seeing success with women’s diversified hem treatments, the brand is rolling out the same for men, including cropped denim to show more ankle.

Reporting by Liz Warren and Angela Velasquez