Men’s Trends for Spring/Summer 2020

Italy may be the first to show new directions in menswear but Portland is — for the first time — fast on the heels of these trends.  Our senior designers, Charlie Ryan and Viola Pruitt, are feverishly working on their menswear collections for the September 18 Fade to Light Fashion Show.  In can you want to get ready, here’s the latest in looks, fabrics, prints and colors.

(left to right)

STARK UTILITY

Utility is taking on a new modern look with clean, sharp lines and geometric cutouts. A play with monochromatic styling allows the look to usher in a strong Sci-Fi element and hint at futuristic workwear influence.

MODERN ZEN

We loved this modern interpretation at zen style, with raw simplicity and fanciful details showcasing a new way to do bare essentials. Unfinished edges, mismatched threads, and pleats make this all about repurposed comfort.

FUTURE SAFARI

The utility vest has been one of the biggest street style trends at all the fashion weeks. When paired back to a neon tee or worn with wrap around shield sunglasses, there’s a retro future vibe that takes it beyond basic workwear.

COSMIC CAMO

Camo never really goes away, but there is a new version that comes rendered in sheer fabrics and faded, dusty colorways. This cosmic twist has completely transformed this traditional military motif to resemble some kind of spaceage uniform.

TRADITIONAL TECH

Traditional menswear motifs received a refreshing update with unexpected fabrics such as sheer organza and cool-casted blues and purples in place of traditional navy and grey.

POWDERY PASTELS

Powdery pastels were spotted throughout Florence, often worn in a monochromatic way that added much-needed dimension to minimal yet retro tailored basics. The addition of details like pleats or utility pockets made these sweet hues even more interesting.

SPLICED

Pieced construction is taken to a whole new level with a kind of haphazard chaos that creates a kaleidoscope pattern of classic plaids and stripes.

IN BLOOM

Florence always has plenty of dandies to see. Really impactful florals were growing on everything from suits to tropical shirts, and all with a more realistic painterly effect and oversized scales to make the ultimate statement.

HORROR PLAY

B-movie horror was all over last season’s runways and now the look is being seen on the streets. With a low brow take on monster-inspired whimsy, there were Frankenstein prints, as well as studded embellishment and metal trim.

Courtesy of our friends at Fashion Snoops

5 Easy Ways To Go Sustainable

Fresh off its successful April Eco-Month, PFI pulled comments from its Advisory Board members and asked new teacher Annin Barrett from the Textile Hive to a new class on sustainability.  Look for Barrett’s Sustainability Tech class this Fall.

Meanwhile, why wait?  Here are five tips from long-term fashion designer Nicole Miller for keeping things green.

1. “I’ve been involved with Riverkeeper and Rocky Mountain Institute for many years, so saving the planet has always been a top priority for me.”

2. “Our recyclables used to be overflowing at the end of the day, and now it only needs to be emptied once a week. When anyone puts plastic in their trash, it will not be emptied at night.”

3. “Years ago, I started implementing better practices in my showroom, studio, and home. I stopped buying bottled water and switched to filtered water. We stopped buying plastic cups and dishes. Everyone here uses their own reusable plate, mug, and cup.”

4. “We reuse everything from plastic bags to hangers. We also recycle our fabric scraps—nothing goes to waste here. We have upcycled vintage cashmere and denim. We have eco-made jeans with fibers from recycled plastic and plant-based materials. Recently, we made an anti-plastic T-shirt and our own water bottles that say Bring Your Own Bottle on them. I also do an online newsletter to bring a lot of these issues into light. Recycling is important, but it’s better to use less in the first place.”

5. “I designed a whole line of carbon-neutral ties—each one with a message on the back. I found that it’s really important to get the word out, but it is often frustrating. I go to the gym and spin class and people are not bringing their own water bottles. I always bring my own reusable cup to Starbucks or any place when I am getting coffee, and my employees do the same.”

Courtesy of our friends at Fashion Snoops

Fabric of the Month: Linen

One of the original natural fabrics. Linen comes from flax – from the Linum genus native to the middle East. To turn flax into linen, the stalks must be threshed, retted, broken, scotched, hackled, carded and spun.

HOW TO USE:

Linen is best on loose-fitting, simple, boxy garments.  As a natural fiber, it should be preshrunk before cutting.  Wash gentle, hang dry to limit wrinkling.  Zigzag (SL 3.0; SW 3.0) the cut edges before washing.

It can fray.  So either cut it with pinking shears or zigzag the edges (SL 3.0; SW 3.0) right after cutting.

Wrinkles are part of the linen’s beauty.  To limit them, spray garments with sizing or Grandma’s Wrinkle Remover (available at PFI supply).  Hang garments where they won’t get smashed.  Hanging them in a steamy bathroom before and after wearing also releases wrinkles.


BACKGROUND

Linen may be the oldest natural fiber.  Fabrics dating to about 8000 BC have been found in Swiss lake dwellings. Dyed flax fibers found in a prehistoric cave in Georgia suggest the use of woven linen fabrics from wild flax may date back even earlier to 36,000 BC.

Linen was sometimes used as a form of currency in ancient Egypt. Egyptian mummies were wrapped in linen as a symbol of light and purity and as a display of wealth. Some of these fabrics, woven from hand-spun yarns, were very fine for their day, but are coarse compared to modern linen.

Linen comes in a variety of weights and can be used for such items as handkerchiefs to heavy suitings.

It is cool and comfortable to wear in warm climates. It absorbs moisture easily but dries quickly. It is lint free, averse to static electricity, resists clothes moths and harsh chemicals in laundry detergent. It can be damaged by silverfish and mildew.

Linen is notorious for wrinkling, even when treated with a wrinkle-resistant finish. As a natural fiber, linen shrinks so it should be washed before cutting. It also frays badly so edges should be stitched, preferably with a zigzag stitch (SL 3.0; SW 3.0) before washing.

When laundered, linen loses some of its crispness and surface luster. Some linen is so loosely woven that it loses it shape when washed so test a 3″x3″ square before laundering yardage. That’s why some linen garments are dry clean only.

Iron from the wrong side. It can get shiny when pressed on the right side without a press cloth. A good trick is to hang the garment in a steamy bathroom. Ultimately, embrace the wrinkles as part of linen’s natural look and use it only for looser garments.

Can you dye linen? Yes. But it does not dye as easily as cotton. Darker colors “crock” easily (the color rubs off) and fades at fold lines and edges. So hang garments flat and don’t crowd.

Linen garments keep their shape well but have poor elasticity. They shed surface dirt, resist stains and sun damage but they yellow with age. They are strong when dry and stronger when wet. That’s why 3rd Dynasty Egyptians under the reign of Pharaoh Snefru could use them as clothes one minute and a fishing net in the next.