July 28, 2011
There was an epidemic of sameness at the recent menswear trade shows in New York. I share Style Salvage’s feelings of fatigue with the trade shows, but mine more of a sense that many brands merely rehashed clippings from their inspiration boards over the last five years, somehow pushed through into production, content that the line had been sufficiently freshened up with the novel idea of doing one double-breasted wool jacket in…wait for it…peach. At trade shows, which are designers’ exhibitions of their next-season offerings, mostly for buyers and partly for press—in essence, clothes on racks en masse at convention centers—devoid of the glare and stomp of runway shows and the magic of styling and accessories and the beguiling beauty of models, one gets to see the clothes for what they really are, what they would possibly look like if they make it into production, and subsequently, into the hands of consumers checking them out in stores.
I was about to lose all hope in fashionkind in the stroke-inducing heat on the last day of Capsule when I stumbled upon Scout Original, a new Brooklyn-based label by Gianna Galli, Ryan Sneden, and Jon Sneden, whose clothes I thought transcended the conventions of fashion and tickled a childlike fascination in me.
hand-painted reworked vintage jacket by Scout Original
Granted the DIY-er in me favors those who do customization in a similar vein, these exquisite pieces are created with such skill that I could only dream about recreating them with my kindergarten-level manual dexterity.
The caricature jacket in its entirety: the drawings are a kitschy nod to Old Hollywood (and a fresh take on those much-maligned two words!), but they also remind me of those for-hire pencil portrait artists in sleepy little Shoppesville in Manila.
the back: more drawings and distressed oversize leather elbow patches
These hand-painted khakis in an interesting capri length that is longer-than-Abercrombie but not-quite-Thom-Browne are oddball-beautiful. The doodles on the patched and frayed pants make me think of an artistic soldier who chose to stay in Hawaii after Pearl Harbor and whiles away the time drawing figures of fantasy on his now tattered army-issue uniform.
hand-painted khakis by Scout Original
They like to pair objects of history with their pieces, and this vintage compass comes with the pants.
This painted white t-shirt would look terrific worn over and over in the summer until it’s stained and semi-sheer and the colors are muted and falling off.
botanical hand-painted-tshirt by Scout Original
For the dreamers, the star-gazers, and those perpetually starstruck—
this reworked vintage work jacket hand-painted with a constellation print is an interesting mix of romance and masculinity.
And the orange scarf elevates it to the state of painterly.
What they did with the belts was brilliant:
vintage leather cut and pieced together with brass hinges.
These long shorts are an exercise in subtlety and an exhibition of technical prowess. They started out an almost-black indigo, and were repeatedly washed until supersoft and pale ice blue.
washed long shorts by Scout Original
a close-up of the color variation due to the repeated wash and the natural folds and frays all over the piece
The commentary on Americana that is strung through the entire collection and their fresh take on heritage are so versatile that those like myself with a penchant for darkness could easily incorporate a piece or two in their wardrobe, say, the caricature jacket, and those who prefer a more joyful, colorful take on clothing would appreciate pieces like this apple-stamped military jacket:
The kooky take on Americana is amusing,
and with the map-print pocket square, also quite global!
The line had just been picked up by Barney’s, and I only expect to hear great things about this label in the near future.
Scout Original’s official site