Some of My Favorite Designers/Labels Who May Still Be Flying Under Your Radar

All this cost about 150 bucks at Japan's answer to American Apparel, Uniqlo

For someone who enjoys shopping, I don’t like shopping for clothes, mostly because it involves taking things off, trying things on (and sometimes alterations), which is why I generally do it when I’m traveling. That way, the necessary evil is transformed into a cultural experience, with the added bonus that there’s less likelihood that I’ll ever run into someone where I live wearing exactly the same thing.

Here are some of the more obscure labels I’ve come across, in no particular order. Some of them you can find in New York. Others you have to go overseas, but for what it’s worth—

Elliot Rhodes
London-based custom belt-maker. I have a gray python number with two buckles and it goes with everything from shorts to a suit.

Duncan Quinn

A Brit with a love of machinery (cars, motorcycles, sailboats), he creates clothing that combines Savile Row sophistication with an urban punk sensibility.

Social Primer

A line of gifts for “Dads, grads and lads,” they do customized correspondence, business, calling and even playing cards, monogrammed gifts, bar sets and more.


This legendary glove maker produces lined and unlined gloves in dazzling colors with impeccable craftsmanship.


This fashion-forward Italian men’s store carries everything an iconoclast could want, from elk-skin boots to Willy Wonka top-hats with swirly patterns. For the man who likes to stand out in the crowd.


This old-fashioned German department stores has some surprising finds, from cashmere sweaters to blazers made from Zegna fabrics.


A design collective that’s now down to one man, it’s East Coast establishment meets West Coast burn-out.

Boggi Milano

Italy’s answer to Brooks Brothers, it’s Euro-prep with slimmer cuts and finer detailing.

Day Birger Mikkelsen
Scandinavian meets Japanese design with interesting results.

Fausto Colato
A Milan-based maker of men’s belts that utilizes superb materials and Italian know-how to make them last

Billy Reid
This unabashedly preppy American designer from Alabama delivers country club propriety with an urban edge.

Pedro del Hierro
Spain’s answer to Calvin Klein, the only downside is that he brands his initials on everything (but at least most Americans don’t think anything except that you dated someone whose initials are PDH).

Trendy shoes that surprisingly (given the price) won’t fall apart. Their Ask The Missus label, especially, offers knock-offs of high-style designers.

Lorenzo Matissini
A ghost designer whose clothes I’ve found in the basement of Harvey Nichols. The black cashmere sweatpants and mohair/cashmere hoodie are two of the most versatile and comfortable items in my wardrobe.

David Mayer Namen
Italian menswear so hip it hurts but not so expensive that it actually does.

A Boston-based T-shirt company whose burnouts and graphics have to be seen to be appreciated.

Roberto Verino
This classic Spanish designer specializes in women’s clothes, but his men’s things are affordable luxe: doeskin trousers and scarves as warm as any overcoat

Fatima Lopes
A fashion-forward Portuguese designer who mostly does women’s clothing, but with her men’s line foresaw the craze for jackboots by years and isn’t afraid to add a coat of paint to an otherwise ho-hum blazer.

India’s largest purveyor of things made the traditional way, you could wear something from here to a party in the Hamptons, and everyone would think it was from Bergdorf’s.

Hot Buttered
A wildly popular Australian surf/skate brand, they make jeans, sunglasses and other useful things for kicking around on the beach.

It looks like something Johnny Depp might wear to a tea party, and it’s cheap but looks expensive.

Japan’s answer to American Apparel, there’s a wall of cotton socks in every shade of the rainbow and basics that are made of good material but so inexpensive it’s disposable.

Pura Mania
A Brazilian teeny-bopper denim brand that’s fun for age-inappropriate looks.

Castro Men
Israel’s answer to Levi’s, but with a lot more color and whimsy.

Jon Sonen
A Colombian designer whose linen resort wear is perfect for a day on the yacht or dinner in Cap Ferrat.

Fashion Galleria, Bangkok
Most churn-and-burn far eastern tailors blow. This one (conveniently located near the Oriental, Peninsula, and other 5-star hotels) might not beat a bespoke European tailor for suits, but he has gorgeous shirtings and does them quickly and finely, with an annual roadshow that brings him to a hotel room near you.

Lake Tahoe’s contribution to fashion, this snowboard apparel company also makes killer shorts and casual wear.

Skateboard clothes that include shorts that won’t make you feel like an 80-year-old from Palm Beach

Standard jeans and T-shirts with enough of a twist that it’s not what it looks like on first sight.

Anni Futuri
Youthful Brazilian stuff that only costs Reals but delivers bang for the buck.

Makers of shirts that not even your mother would ask if it was supposed to be tucked in or ironed



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