Style Brands From Around The World That You Need to Know About
There’s more to men's style than the shops you frequent at your local mall. Somewhere, in a different part of the world, are sartorially savvy men sporting threads from designers you may not have heard of.
But times are changing and cultural borders are disappearing, opening up new possibilities for your wardrobe. From foreign retail giants to emerging independent labels, we rounded up the coveted brands earning raves from other parts of the globe. Don’t miss out on these brands the next time you’re on a trip abroad.
Sassafras from Japan
It comes as no surprise that Sassafras, which is named after the aromatic herb, offers a line of “gardening chic” workwear with utilitarian features. Sassafras was established in 2004 by Takashi Takagi, an avid gardener in real life who created his line of functional outdoor clothing with details inspired by military and worker styles. While features such as multiple pockets were built for the nature lover in mind, they’re easily as stylish for daily wear.
Biro from Singapore
Biro is based in Singapore, but its spirit is very much Japanese. Founded in 2013 by brothers Chong Keng How and Kage Chong, it features handcrafted, highly detailed pieces soaked in a relaxed post-war aesthetic. Produced in small factories in Japan, all items are created with the same artisanal quality as more famous clients like Comme des Garçons. Here, you’ll spot indigo-dyed pieces with details such as contrasting stitches and lined pockets.
Nigel Cabourn The Army Gym from England/Japan
Nigel Cabourn, the designer, is British, but much of his professional history is linked to Japan, where he has earned a following since the 1980s. He found an affinity with the local culture in its shared love for vintage sports and post-war, utilitarian clothing.
In 2009, Cabourn opened The Army Gym, his flagship store in Japan. The shop also offers 20th century-style military-inspired clothing and vintage outerwear, all featuring that same heritage Americana aesthetic and fastidious attention to detail the designer is known for.
Naked & Famous from Canada
Don’t let its ostentatious name and North American origins fool you. Denim brand Naked & Famous was founded as an anti-thesis to the over-glorified designer brand phenomenon. It takes its name from the celebrity-obsessed culture, with a logo rendered in 1950s pop-art style to satirize mass media. Its offerings, however, are stripped back to the core essentials: Japanese raw denim cut,
Orlebar Brown from the U.K.
The U.K. is undoubtedly one of menswear’s most iconic hubs, thanks to bespoke tailoring mecca Savile Row, as well as its heritage military-style clothing that rose to fame after the war. To have Orlebar Brown, a resort wear brand, now hailed as one of the scene’s greats is unprecedented and unusual. Founded in 2007, the label can be concisely described as one that sells swim trunks, but for founder Adam Brown, it’s not as simple as that: These are smart and tailored trunks that you can wear from the resort to the restaurant, giving birth to poolside style.
Feiyue from China
If you’ve been wondering where else Gen Z's nostalgia-induced fashion could be headed, then this can provide some answers. Like the Birkenstocks in the west, 70-year-old sneaker brand Feiyue has seen an intense revival in China. Made with recycled rubber from tire factories, the sneaker is best known among Shaolin monks and was also worn by martial arts athletes in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Its French incarnation has been seen on the likes of Orlando Bloom.
Elhaus from Indonesia
This Jakarta-based denim brand combines a refined utilitarian aesthetic with modern and traditional Indonesian techniques. Staying true its keen attention to detail, Elhaus jeans feature pure copper rivets, laurel leaf top buttons, hand-carved leather patches, and felled seams.
SSAP NYC from Thailand
This brand planted its roots in New York City before it moved back to its home in Bangkok. Thai designer Mel Sangsomsap puts a spin on classic menswear by taking influences from the eclectic cultures of the Big Apple. This translates to designs like patchwork denim woven by traditional weavers in northeastern Thailand.
Pot Meets Pop from Indonesia
With its roots in the creative hub of Bandung, Pot Meets Pop showcases artisanal creations at its very core. The brand showcases blue-collar inspired pieces with a refined street aesthetic, a punch of bright colors, and vibrant patchwork graphics.
Beams Plus from Japan
Menswear aficionados will have likely heard of Beams, the Japanese retail giant that is now home to select brands. Its in-house line, Beams Plus, was founded in 1999 as a tribute to vintage Americana and timeless clothing. Aside from housing original, import, and vintage pieces and accessories, the Beams Plus focuses on next-generation wear with its own take on rugged, heritage- and workwear-inspired clothing.
CLOT from Hong Kong
Actors Edison Chen and Kevin Poon founded CLOT in 2003 as a fashion label that prides itself on thoughtfully designed apparel and goods. Years later, it has become one of the city’s biggest homegrown streetwear labels. The brand, which has been envisioned as “bridge between the East and the West,” has collaborated with giants such as Nike, Stüssy, Coca-Cola, Visvim, and Fragment Design, among others. Its success has led to a brick-and-mortar retail concept, Juice, which has stores around the world, including Los Angeles, Shanghai, Beijing, and Taipei.
Juun.J from South Korea
It’s no secret that South Korea has a dynamic streetwear movement, and acclaimed designer Jung Wook-jun can be considered the pioneer of the scene. His brand, Juun.
Diafvine from South Korea
Tucked away in a nondescript building somewhere within upscale Gangnam in Seoul is a shop decked out in red brick and cement. Its vintage rugged aesthetic is inspired by motorcycles and other counter-culture elements: leather jackets, boots, aloha shirts. In case you need more proof of their cool-guy status, it has collaborated on FIFA World Cup pieces last year with Budweiser.
Norse Projects from Denmark
Leave it to Scandinavia to perfect minimalist fashion. Founded in Denmark’s capital, Copenhagen, Norse Projects features clean lines and a timeless aesthetic. It takes elements from workwear, street culture, and designer fashion to create polished urban looks. The brand places an emphasis on functionality and practicality, blending multi-functional pieces with an avant-garde silhouette.
Engineered Garments from Japan/U.S.
Founded in New York City, Engineered Garments was started by Nepenthes Daiki Suzuki, whose style was inspired by
Doek from Japan Known worldwide for its high-quality and minimalist canvas shoes, Doek shoes are created in the region of
Fjallraven from Sweden
Known primarily as an outdoor brand, Swedish brand Fjallraven rose to fame for its Kånken bag. Fjallraven is popular for its range of timeless, durable, and functional gear. Created with the nature-loving explorer in mind, Fjallraven has all the desirable qualities of an athletic label with the stylish sensibilities of Scandinavian fashion. The brand also supports sustainable production.
Venroy from Australia
If there’s a retail concept you can rely on from Australia, it’s surfwear. Hailed as “the next Billabong,” Venroy brings a luxurious experience to coastal life with relaxed pieces that marry beachside elements with smart tailoring. With tropic-friendly staples such as a light blue mandarin collar button-down and straight-leg shorts in linen, its pieces certainly won’t look out of place in sunny Manila.
Vissla from the U.S.
Vissla, the brand of “creators and innovators,” has a youth-forward approach that markets itself toward creative professionals and the millennial set. Its aesthetic is relaxed and inspired by laid-back ‘60s surf culture, while its eco-friendly designs and other visual treats glorify the love for surf.