Valentines Gifts From Brands We Love
Fashion moves quickly yet, in a way, it sort of doesn’t. Take trainers for example, the aesthetic can change wildly year-on-year.
A few years back the trend was for low profile silhouettes sporting innovative, lightweight materials such as the Free Run, Ultraboost and Flyknit. After that there was a sudden change of direction into chunky, retro styles such as New Balance’s 2002R or Nike’s Zoom Vomero 5. In between we’ve seen the popularity of Vans Old Skools, Adidas Gazelles and Converse All Stars fluctuate with all the unpredictability of London weather.
However, the common thread that runs (no pun intended) between all of these very variable sneakers are the brands. Nike and Adidas are always vying for top spot, though New Balance have run them pretty close in the past couple of years. Vans and Converse (also owned by Nike) are always lurking in the background. And, like we said, this is just trainers. The same surely applies for garms of all types.
The point we’re trying to make is that, though many try, it’s pretty damn tough for new guys to get in on the action. However, every year there are a handful of brands that manage to carve a niche in an ultra competitive marketplace.
Sticking with the footwear case, Solomon rode the gorpcore wave and recently gained a sudden surge of loyal followers with their statement trail runner the XT6, after years as a low-key outerwear brand favoured by skiers.
So, without further ado, here we take a look at a handful of brands that we feel could be the Solomon of 2024. And, if we’re wrong, at least you’ll have something that not everyone is wearing.
Merrell - For The Footwear Officianado
Similar to Solomon, Merrell have been quietly squirrelling away in the background churning out well made, outdoor ready footwear for years. Until now it’s been favoured by latter middle-aged walkers, but this could be about to change.
The American brand have taken a bold step away from their main focus of hiking boots to release a range of trainer-hiker-runner hybrids with a refreshing retro look. There’s been a complimentary change in their marketing too, with images showing hip young DJ’s and musicians rocking models such as the Moab Speed and Agility Peak in bright hues.
The great news is that; much like Solomon; the materials and build quality are top level, with many iterations being both waterproof and breathable, something the Goliath’s have struggled with.
Instagram - @merrell
Heresy - For The British Streetwear Fan
It’s no secret that British streetwear is going places. The popularity of brands such as Palace and, more recently, Aries Arise has meant that we’re right up there in the coolness stakes with our more lauded American counterparts.
The new kid on the block is Heresy, a Peckham born brand who use unique folklore-themed graphics to elevate their wears, which have a strong focus on being ethical and sustainable.
They’ve actually been around for over ten years but have recently landed spots in a number of chic boutiques including Goodhood and End, which appears to be increasing their presence in the mainstream.
Their loose and comfortable casual wear with simple, sometimes almost crude, illustrations has a unique look which will set you apart from the crowd (for now) and get people asking “where’s the hoodie from?”
Instagram - @heresy
Drake’s - For The Sharp (Well-Heeled) Dresser
Drake’s has been dressing the great and good of London from their flagship store on the iconic Saville Row for decades. They originally made a name for themselves producing stunning, distinctive silk scarves before moving into ties and handkerchiefs. All of which were renowned worldwide as some of the finest available.
In 2010 founder Michael Drake retired, leaving the operations in the careful hands of his understudy Michael Hill. It was at this point that the brand took on a different direction.
Whilst retaining the same core principles of quality and craftsmanship (and prices that reflect this!) Hill greatly expanded the offering into both formal and casual wear. Unlikely - but highly successful - recent collaborations with of the moment New York streetwear brand Aimé Leon Dore has seen their customer base expand greatly too, with a much younger demographic being introduced to the brand.
If you’re looking for a piece that will stand the test of time in terms of both style and quality, you won’t go wrong with Drake’s.
Instagram - @drakesdiary
Satta - For The Eco Conscious and Style Conscious
With all that is happening in the world on an environmental level, many fashion brands are championing an ethical and sustainable ethos. Satta is one such brand, but they were doing it long before most others.
Originally founded in South London, Satta’s HQ is now situated in the warmer climbs of Barcelona. The basis for their work is livity, a term used in Rastafarian culture which refers to being alive, with a strong connection to nature and spirituality.
Their clothing has a loose, flowing silhouette which is similar to many Asian brands and focuses on natural, earthy materials and colours. Urban influences can be seen in the way that Satta fuses streetwear and workwear styling throughout their collections.
They also offer a sideline of ceramics and home fragrance which further compliments their ethos.
Instagram - @satta__