Until recently, "collaborations" have been mainly in the purview of streetwear. They're a way for companies with specific strengths or areas of expertise to create something unique together, sort of like how academics from different fields might come together on a project. Growing up, I've always associated the term with Nike, or how a cut-and-sew company might collaborate with a cool brand specializing in screenprints. But as the fashion industry has increasingly embraced streetwear in the last ten years, even luxury lines are marketed under the flashing neon-lights sign of "collaboration." Collaborations are a way for companies to generate not only products, but also online content and interest in today's noisy, crowded market.
The best collaborations involve companies with distinct points of view, but aren't worlds apart. Last week, two of my favorite companies, No Man Walks Alone (a site sponsor) and Stoffa, collaborated on a project called In Good Nature. It's a fall/winter capsule collection that includes dramatic overcoats, patterned tailoring, lounge jackets, drawstring pants, and camp collared shirts with generously sized chest pockets. Like the two companies involved, the collection straddles the line between classic and modern, allowing you to style the clothes in various ways (more on this later).
The name In Good Nature refers to the team's goal of producing clothes with minimal environmental impact. Stoffa founder Agyesh Madan sourced deadstock Italian wools originally made in the late 1990s and early 2000s, saving material that would have otherwise been discarded. You don't often see collections like this because larger brands need enough cloth to produce massive runs. NMWA and Stoffa were able to use these remnants because they made a small capsule collection through flexible Italian factories ("The clothes are made in the same way we would do a one-off MTM," No Man Walks Alone founder Greg Lellouche explained). They also sourced natural, undyed fabrics from the Yorkshire-based mill Marling & Evans, which specializes in this sort of cloth. Most fabrics are chemically treated to take on the color palette of your wardrobe. Undyed fabrics allow the natural color of an animal's fleece to shine through. They're typically cold in hue, have some visual depth (since the fibers haven't been dyed into a flat uniform color), and range from grey to taupe to chocolate brown.Keep reading