News Roundup: Prep Returns, Modern Ivy, Brooks Buttondowns And St Johns Vetiver

Thanks to all of you who keep my inbox full with Tradsville news, in case I miss something. Let’s start to get caught up. First off, a full four weeks ago MR, the last extant menswear trade publication, ran a large feature entitled “Prep Fashion Returns For A New Generation.” Quote:

But while prep started in the 1920s, it didn’t take hold until the ’30s (primarily on the East Coast), with a major resurgence in the 1950s. Ralph Lauren then virtually resurrected what we know as Ivy Style in the ‘70s and ‘80s, this time tweaking it to be more upper class and sexy. We had a more recent go at prep style during the #menswear movement in the early 2010s that saw our very first influencers take hold of the trend online for the coming-of-age Millennials browsing Tumblr.

Moving into today, a few emerging menswear brands like Rowing Blazers, Noah, and Aimé Leon Dore have taken the essential elements of what makes Ivy style and infused it with strains of skate, punk, hip-hop, and downtown grunge to create something far cooler, and far more inclusive, for the next generation. This go around with prep is a full-scale re-imagining of what the trend means. It’s prep for the people—all people.

“‘Preppy’ is such a divisive word,” says Michael Fisher, vice president and creative director of menswear at trend forecasting agency Fashion Snoops. “It always has been. It means many things to many people. The re-emergence we’re currently seeing is anything but the blue-blooded classics of the past 30 years. It has nothing to do with the good ole boys or the upper echelon of society. The new wave of prep is super irreverent at its core. It’s not at all about following the rules from previous generations. Instead, it’s about rewriting modern tradition and incorporating all kinds of influences into the look.”

It’s certainly the case that “preppy” is an outdated word — almost as much as “Ivy League.” After the great Internet “trad” war of the early 21st century, the term may be emerging as the best option going forward. It’s certainly the opposite of “irreverent.”

In the Ivy Trendwatch department, Robb Report writes about a new Brooks Brothers x Junya Watanabe capsule collection that is being “dropped,” as the kids say, for a “modern take on Ivy League style.” The result is what happens when fashion happens:

You probably need some smelling salts after that. Instead, take a deep breath of St Johns Bay Rum, one of our loyal sponsors. They recently introduced their “most refined fragrance yet,” Vetiver:

And of course St Johns still offers classic bay rum (after its Virgin Islands facility barely survived two hurricanes). Its pop culture references include season 6, episode 22 of “M.A.S.H.”:

Finally, here’s a Spectator piece someone sent me on what went wrong with the Brooks Brothers shirt. Alas I see now that it’s from 2015. I guess we’re all a bit behind the times. — CC

11 Comments on "News Roundup: Prep Returns, Modern Ivy, Brooks Buttondowns And St Johns Vetiver"

  1. “Full-scale re-imagining”? The illustrations with that article just look like a hodge-podge of GQ, Esquire, and RL and Hilfinger catalogs over the past 40 years or so.

    I was expecting chain mail and stovepipe hats, at least.

  2. In the top picture, four of the five models are looking down their noses as the camera, the presumed audience for the clothing.

  3. Am I the only one who has no idea what
    “skate, punk, hip-hop, and downtown grunge” are?
    Ignorance is indeed bliss!

  4. “brands like Rowing Blazers, Noah, and Aimé Leon Dore have taken the essential elements of what makes Ivy style and infused it with strains of skate, punk, hip-hop, and downtown grunge to create something far cooler, and far more inclusive”.

    Let’s strip away BS and expose the ridiculous PR hype. These brands are just using Ivy to make a fast buck by ripping off gullible fashionistas. No real Ivy brand would even consider devaluing itself by association with punk, hip-hop or grunge. Ignore them and stick to J Press, The Andover Shop, O’Connells and even BB.

  5. Old School Tie | March 1, 2020 at 6:03 am |

    To be honest, I would be mightily peeved if every single Generation Z-er or Millennial I ran into was dressed like the boys in the first picture. I like the sense of superiority I get when significantly better attired than the hoi-polloi. As for “flexing” my “fit”…..I can tell you that even today many people have a good long look at my feet if they are shod in my favourite shoes, a pristine pair of early 1990s Church’s Lancasters. I consider that to be a strain of Trad-hop or uptown Trunge. Now, I just have to control my urge to consume cheese…

  6. The new BB capsule collection is only available in ONE store in the world: a BB in Tokyo.

    Let’s hope that the collection expands and that Junya Watanabe becomes the next Thom Browne. Fresh talent is critical for BB if they are to survive another 200 years.

  7. Martin Grayson | March 1, 2020 at 2:07 pm |

    Mitchell,
    Great news!
    Let’s hope it stays in Tokyo.

  8. It will be fascinating to see how the big “Ivy” brands (Polo RL, Gant, BB, Lands End etc) are affected by the coronavirus that appears to be a global pandemic. The virus is spreading quickly across China and other Asian countries. Factories are being closed by government authorities and those brands’ supply chains could be affected severely for several months at least.

    Btw, I read that Spectator piece when it was published. The comments about Brooks Brothers and its awful London store still apply five years later. In fact, it’s getting worse, especially the proliferation of the ghastly logo on the button-down shirts. Even so, it’s not as bad as the dreadful tat in Polo Ralph’s latest “collection”. If only we had a J Press store instead…

  9. Michael Stratford | March 2, 2020 at 6:49 am |

    John,
    I would have said that they look offensively aggressive.

  10. Someone should launch an advertising campaign with models who are all smiling and relaxed, not angry and constipated looking.

    It would be such a radical thing in 2020 that it might shock the fashion world.

  11. Perhaps the young men in the first picture just need a bit more fiber in their diet.

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