As lifestyles become increasingly complex, flashy excess in men’s fashion (and fashion in general) is wearing thinner. Today, it seems men want to embody a more authentic, simple style, from their outerwear, sportswear to their suiting. Looking good in a well cut t-shirts and a pair of well made jeans in an urban environment is the ultimate low-key yet cool style.
One of the cool new artisan menswear lines, designed by Kai D, “Utility and Relevance” is a great example of the new esthetic; practical clothes with the skills to excel and be competitive in today’s world.
Kai D was born and raised in Taiwan, but has been living in NYC for the past 18 years. Kai’s long fascination with utilitarian objects including tools, boxes, hardware, and found objects as well as an interest in vintage clothing and old photographs of workshops and factories has shaped his design philosophy. Kai updates functional clothing and re-purposes them with style that is both utilitarian and modern.
All of Kai's clothing and accessories have been manufactured entirely in NYC, and he created the line with a desire to create something practical, timeless and long-lasting, using resources found in his own backyard. "Working locally is more personal," he says. "You know the people making the garments." Creating jackets based on 1930s military uniforms and vests inspired by iron workers, Kai's work is marked by a high functionality and details that often is being disregarded in menswear.
For Kai it's all about duality; the styles simultaneously call to mind the Industrial Revolution and modern hipster aesthetics. For example, leather elbow pads on a tweed field jacket or a charcoal crombie coat with a surprise green plaid lining are all expertly tailored with a vintage, handmade craftsmanship.
The Kai D American artisan collection can be found online or at his NYC studio.
Images by Kai D