Inside a hustling-and-bustling Chelsea studio this week, New York Men’s Day introduced the latest slate of up-and-coming menswear designers to fashion week showgoers. This year, the chosen talents on-the-rise left nothing unstated, debuting their Fall/Winter 2023 collections through innovative, resourceful presentations and concentrated concepts. Among them, some let tailoring hold the conversation; many challenged traditional menswear archetypes with genderless styles, and the more-seasoned visionaries sharpened their focuses. For all, craftsmanship prevailed.
Below, Hypebeast rounded up seven standout designers from the showcase.
Founded in 2014, Terry Singh’s namesake label seeks liberation through fashion design. “My clothes are a conduit for my values of freedom, celebration, and connection,” the designer said in a statement. “I make them to inspire. I had a subtle shift in my consciousness while on a spiritual journey in India. I realized that my lived experience was shaped by rules created by my mind; and yet, what defined me as a man was only thought. Without those rules, I was free and at peace–life felt like a dance.”
For Fall 2023, Singh juxtaposed the youth’s excited naivety with an elder’s storied wisdom. Models, of all ages, showed the collection’s breadth. There were lots of skirts, oftentimes pleated, on both men and women. Some were made thick with tweed, while others were light and covered in graphics. Gray suiting, including cropped blazers and refined button-up jackets, proved to be a collection mainstay, while navy iterations were a close second. Meanwhile, a woven, black-and-white jacket and skirt set pushed texture to the fore.
“This is our fingerprint, which I want to give to the world,” said Singh. “We are at an age now, when we want to leave something for ourselves in the world – color the world with our brush.”
BULAN, designed by Beam Rachapol Ngaongam, makes knitwear like you’ve never seen it. This season, the brand championed chaos, with oversized constructions, excessive garment wrapping, curvaceous shaping and striking color pairings. Notably, the collection’s vibrant color palette is inspired by that of German-born American painter Hans Hofmann. On polyester, acrylic fiber and merino wool, Beam’s kaleidoscopic tones intend to seek light in the darkness.
“The collection is inspired by mental health issues and their complexity,” the collection notes read. “Starting with the fascination of how the human body works and resulting with an exploration of the concept of sadness versus beauty and the point where they meet.”
For Fall/Winter 2023, Atelier Cillian made men’s formalwear glamorous. In a fanciful forest setting, designer Stephen Mikhail unearthed a collection defined by an inherent duality between traditionally masculine design tropes and an infiltrating sense of femininity. Silver suiting glistened under a spotlight, while an all-black iteration opted for transparency. Tops were cut asymmetrically, or with slits to expose parts of the chest. Pants were fitted and straight, sometimes skin-tight. While the majority of the collection appeared ready for a drama-filled dinner soirée, a selection of mesh iterations was already looking for the after-party.
“The collection references the Malleus Maleficarum, the treatise written in the late 1400s detailing how to identify and punish witches, which was later widely adopted by the Catholic church,” Mikhail told Hypebeast. “For multiple centuries, these texts resulted in the persecution of countless accused witches to wipe out any traces of what they deemed ‘ungodly.’”
Kent Anthony debuted on the New York Men’s Day roster for Fall 2023, with a collection that integrates multidisciplinary design tactics into silhouettes that stylistically resemble human anatomy. The label’s goal is to “create a dialogue that represents marginalized communities and transcends expected cultural norms.” This season, Anthony accomplishes that through his refined approach, garnering double takes for a double-breasted coat with exposed wire detailing on its back and referencing African design codes with experienced draping.
“The inspiration for this collection came from the study of human anatomy as it relates to track and field,” Anthony said. “We worked to create the illusion of long legs, short torsos and small waists to mimic the build of track and field athletes. The drapings and rope patterns were inspired by the muscular structure of the human body, with a nod to historical fashion found across the continent of Africa.”
Nicholas Raefski is a storyteller. In his third go-around on the Men’s Day roster, the designer has proven himself as a creative director — not only in terms of designing his clothes but also in crafting the world that surrounds them. This season, the tale that he tells references “The Hero’s Journey,” analogizing his own adventure into the fashion domain with a collection, aptly titled “Leap of Faith,” that takes inspiration from some of history’s greatest heroes. Among them, John Lennon is memorialized atop a black-and-white, double-breasted trench coat; Freddie Mercury comes to life in an all-leather look featuring a zip-up, red-white-and-black jacket; and Kobe Bryant receives a tribute through a purple-yellow sweater vest with all-over basketball motifs.
“A lot of the heroes in the collection were people I admired as a child growing up,” Raefski told Hypebeast. “People who I believe were exceptional humans and people who I strive today to be like. I think I’m starting to come into my own as a designer, and this collection helps establish the direction I want the brand to head in. I want fashion to be fun, whimsical and exciting. I was really satisfied in this intro chapter’s designs, and I’m super excited to continue to tell this story of the hero’s journey over the course of the next two seasons.”
All Beneath Heaven
All Beneath Heaven is pure fun. This season, the whimsical imprint made its debut on the New York Men’s Day stage, with a collection titled “Prologue.” Establishing brand pillars through an abstract autobiography of its designer, Jimmy Alexander, the label made a memorable introduction to the industry with a loud, arty and youthful wardrobe.
Alexander’s designs are confidence-inducing. Broken up into “expressions,” the range articulates myriad philosophies important to the designer through artistic motifs. Among them, a vibrant jumpsuit flaunts a saturated “ladder to the universe” print picturing a giant red ladder reaching into space, and a “head in the clouds” graphic decorates a matching button-down and shorts set. Meanwhile, a stoic statue figure on a motorcycle commands a navy-orange shirt with a magnetically removable lotus flower embroidery, and a “bird-in-shadow” puppet appears on the Flow Suit Jacket and pants, representing Alexander’s pursuit of freedom and self-acceptance.
Designer Aaron Potts is no stranger to New York Men’s Day; counting this season, his collections have debuted at the showcase a total of seven times. For Fall 2023, his label, A.Potts showed just how far he has come.
Titled “Neorascalism,” the collection has a metropolitan mentality. Black tops, cargo pants and skirts are utilitarian, with patches and pockets stitched all over, while leather counterparts appear ready to take on the city streets. A bulky, square poncho rests over a form-hugging long sleeve, while several iterations emphasize the human form with cinching at the waist. Fur elements come into play across a slew of bright, cold-weather-ready ensembles — specifically, trench coats and oversized turtlenecks. Overall, the collection is largely black and white, with the exception of a few monochromatic red looks in the conclusion.
A.Potts’ Fall 2023 collection is “less a linear story and more a list of intertwined inspirations,” according to the designer. That list includes “the Little Rascals, 90s Parsons art students, NYC through the eyes of little-Aaron dreaming of the big city: rebellious, creative people in all black hustling & bustling through the streets looking chic and unbothered; Barkley Hendricks; graphic elements; always futurism.”