Public School Wins First Menswear Woolmark Prize

With a Woolmark and CFDA award for menswear under their belt, Public School has officially arrived.

The International WOOLMARK Prize USA Regional Awards 2014International Woolmark Prize (US) finalists Public School (L) and M. Patmos (R).

Last night, New York’s Milk Studios played host to the 2014/15 International Woolmark Prize USA regional final, where Dao-Yi and Maxwell Osbourne, the duo behind Public School (available at Saks Fifth Avenue’s New York City and Beverly Hills locations) were crowned the victors in the prestigious prize’s first ever menswear category. Marcia Patmos, of M. Patmos took home the womenswear award, beating out Man Repeller-darling Rosie Assoulin, as well as Nonoo, Jonathan Simkhai and Whit.

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The International WOOLMARK Prize USA Regional Awards 2014International Woolmark Prize (US) finalists Public School (L) and M. Patmos (R).

Last night, New York’s Milk Studios played host to the 2014/15 International Woolmark Prize USA regional final, where Dao-Yi and Maxwell Osbourne, the duo behind Public School (available at Saks Fifth Avenue’s New York City and Beverly Hills locations) were crowned the victors in the prestigious prize’s first ever menswear category. Marcia Patmos, of M. Patmos took home the womenswear award, beating out Man Repeller-darling Rosie Assoulin, as well as Nonoo, Jonathan Simkhai and Whit.

The International WOOLMARK Prize USA Regional Awards 2014Marcia Patmos shows off her winning techniques with Merino wool.

The Woolmark Prize honors burgeoning designers in both menswear and womenswear in the states, as well as Asia, Australia, Europe, India and the Middle-East, and allots the respective finalists and winners to broaden their artistic scope in designing with Merino wool. All nominees that move on to become international finalists are awarded $50,000 AU to help jump-start their next collection, while the ultimate international winners are granted a considerable $100,000 AU prize.

The International WOOLMARK Prize USA Regional Awards 2014Saks Fifth Avenue’s Eric Jennings on the judges’ panel. 

The USA judging panel was a veritable who’s who of the American fashion industry, which included Saks Fifth Avenue’s very own Colleen Sherin, Senior Fashion Director and Eric Jennings, Vice President & Fashion Director Menswear, Home, Food and Gifts.

The International WOOLMARK Prize USA Regional Awards 2014New York fashion heavyweights take a break from adjudication for a chic photo-op.

Other USA judges included renowned designer Alexander Wang, Creative Director of Alexander Wang and Balenciaga; Ariel Foxman, Editor-in-Chief of InStyle; David Granger, Editor-in-Chief of Esquire; Malcolm Carfrae, Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer of Calvin Klein; Michelle Lee, Director of Americas for The Woolmark Company, Stefano Tonchi, Editor-in-Chief of W Magazine and Steven Kolb, CEO of the CFDA.

The International WOOLMARK Prize USA Regional Awards 2014Saks’ Senior Fashion Director Colleen Sherin and fellow judges making big decisions.

Despite their nascent status, Public School was able to beat out some stiff competition in their category, including New York favorite Timo Weiland. “We’re so incredibly thrilled and honored to be selected as the US representative in the first Woolmark Prize for menswear,” the duo stated after their win. “Working with wool and all of its natural benefits has been instrumental in developing the trans-seasonality and versatility of our own collection and it’s going to really help jump-start our knitwear business.”

The International WOOLMARK Prize USA Regional Awards 2014The ten finalists’ qualifying looks on display.

Next order of business for the International Woolmark Prize is selecting the rest of their regional finalists, at which point there will be one menswear winner and one womenswear winner, each of which will have their final Merino wool collections sold in over a dozen of the most prestigious fashion retailers worldwide. Stay tuned to see who makes the international cut.

Get cozied up in his and hers statement knit sweaters.

All images courtesy of the The Woolmark Company, shot by the BFA.


Bespoken Word: A Conversation with Saks’ Eric Jennings

The ABCs of the Saks menswear market.

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If you’re a Saks Fifth Avenue regular, chances are your closet is full of items hand-picked by Eric Jennings, VP, Men’s Fashion Director.

Eric, a 20 year fashion veteran, scopes through international trade shows, runway presentations and local shops to help shoppers perfect their “must have” list season in and season out. I had the chance to sit down with Eric to discuss both sides of the vital menswear market today: the art and the commerce.

BESPOKEN WORD: Have the basic rules of menswear changed?
ERIC JENNINGS:
While the rules have not changed, men’s awareness of these rules definitely have. In part because of bloggers, the male eye is better trained. They’re seeing certain elements more often. We’ve now reached a tipping point where a lot more guys are aware of the rules, have a solid foundation, all while being comfortable experimenting with new ideas. Fashion is changing at a much quicker pace than it has at any other time in my twenty some years in the industry. But the rules have been established and you can’t break them unless you know them. It’s all about the fit, proportion and colors that look best on you.

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saks-vp-mens-fashion-director-eric-jennings-talks-art-and-the-commerce-bespoken-word-sakspov

If you’re a Saks Fifth Avenue regular, chances are your closet is full of items hand-picked by Eric Jennings, VP, Men’s Fashion Director.

Eric, a 20 year fashion veteran, scopes through international trade shows, runway presentations and local shops to help shoppers perfect their “must have” list season in and season out. I had the chance to sit down with Eric to discuss both sides of the vital menswear market today: the art and the commerce.

BESPOKEN WORD: Have the basic rules of menswear changed?
ERIC JENNINGS:
While the rules have not changed, men’s awareness of these rules definitely have. In part because of bloggers, the male eye is better trained. They’re seeing certain elements more often. We’ve now reached a tipping point where a lot more guys are aware of the rules, have a solid foundation, all while being comfortable experimenting with new ideas. Fashion is changing at a much quicker pace than it has at any other time in my twenty some years in the industry. But the rules have been established and you can’t break them unless you know them. It’s all about the fit, proportion and colors that look best on you.

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Street sharp men on the scene at Pitti Uomo 2014. Find the perfect suit at Saks.

How long have you been making the trip to Florence for Pitti Uomo? How important is Pitti in terms of menswear?
ERIC:
It’s been 8 years since I first made the trip; at first as an exhibitor. Pitti is vitally important. Historically, it has always been the first men’s show, until London Men’s Fashion Week. It was the first major event on the calendar, thus, your prime chance to get an understanding of the season ahead. There you would see all the trending colors, patterns and new brands. As a fashion director, it remains essential for me to attend Pitti, for it is indicative of what the overall men’s season is going to look like.

How has the internet changed the face of men’s fashion?
ERIC:
The advent of bloggers and street style photographers has greatly helped the menswear’s exposure on a large scale. Through the internet the partnerships between the menswear community has been completely destigmatized. Men are now comfortable engaging in dialogues about fashion and personal style in an unprecedented way. They are also going to the internet to find out how to tie a bow tie, what the appropriate etiquette is going to a certain event. It’s all there at their fingertips, either on the computer or a mobile device.

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Be inspired by Florentine flare. Find what’s new & now.

Saks remains a major player in men’s fashion. What is Saks’ philosophy on men’s style?
ERIC JENNINGS: We trade in different zones of business – classic, modern, contemporary and designer. Our philosophy is to make the best edits and best selections from the best brands in the world. To be a leader in terms of trends, colors and brands, while supporting new and emerging design talents and providing the best edits from the most coveted brands in the world. What we offer goes from fashion forward, contemporary to classic all while existing under a luxury umbrella. Because we are a luxury department store, we are always looking at things through the lens of a customer who wants luxury goods.

Does brand loyalty exist now that people have so much access to the internet?
ERIC:
Men are very loyal to brands. If they have a brand they are familiar with, they tend to stay with it. As far as seeing new items online, it may look good on the page, but you don’t know how it will fit. You can’t be sure the shade of color is what you are looking for, you don’t necessarily have a history with the brand, you don’t know the quality. Guys don’t want to take that type of risk, but intend to make a wise investment. In a luxury market, brand loyalty goes without question. The challenge lies in introducing the new brands because men don’t have that familiarity or history with them. But the tide is turning.

How does Saks stay true to tradition while focusing on the road ahead?
ERIC: It’s all about timing. You don’t want to be so ahead of the curve that you alienate the customer, and you certainly don’t want to move too slowly. Presenting new looks, styles and brands at the right time, and remaining a leader with vision and point of view, with the customer’s needs and wants always in mind – all of it counts.

Visit Saks and refresh your wardrobe.

All photos shot by Guerre for SaksPOV


Color Coordinated, Part III: Sunny Side Up

We round out our color series by going to one of the most visible places. That’s right, your face. While colored frames aren’t for everyone, colored lenses are surprisingly democratic. “A hint of tint in the lenses subtly updates classic frames. They can help a guy see and be seen in a whole new light,” says Eric Jennings, VP and Men’s Fashion Director. Now is the perfect time to upgrade your sunglass game. The same rules of finding the right style to match the shape of your face applies, but getting a pair with colored lenses takes it to a whole other level. A classic wayfarer silhouette suddenly looks fresh when Super by Retrosuperfuture adds lenses that change color depending on the angle. Oliver Peoples modernizes…

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We round out our color series by going to one of the most visible places. That’s right, your face. While colored frames aren’t for everyone, colored lenses are surprisingly democratic. “A hint of tint in the lenses subtly updates classic frames. They can help a guy see and be seen in a whole new light,” says Eric Jennings, VP and Men’s Fashion Director.

Now is the perfect time to upgrade your sunglass game. The same rules of finding the right style to match the shape of your face applies, but getting a pair with colored lenses takes it to a whole other level. A classic wayfarer silhouette suddenly looks fresh when Super by Retrosuperfuture adds lenses that change color depending on the angle. Oliver Peoples modernizes the pair of frames that Gregory Peck’s character wore in To Kill A Mockingbird. New life is breathed into a style that was popularized 50 years ago by recreating them with indigo lenses and setting them in clear acetate frames.

 

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Still need a few ideas for dad? Visit our Father’s Day Gift Guide.