Christopher Fisher, Head Buyer, oki-ni
"Oversized floral prints on short-sleeve lightweight shirts are a staple forsummer – relaxed beachwear from the catwalks was heavily influenced by the 90s, with references including Baz Luhrmann’s iconic Romeo and Juliet. Junya Watanabe is one of the new brands joining oki-ni this season and his pieces carry much kudos for their wearer!"
Left - Junya Watanabe - Black Flower-Print Short-Sleeved Shirt - £320
"Every guy should own a pair of crisp white low-top sneakers – the term versatile is an understatement. Common Projects has been the go-to luxury brand for many a season now. The ‘Achilles’ Low has a clean, minimal silhouette and is crafted in Italy from the finest leather".
Left - Common Projects - White Premium Achilles Low Sneakers - £248
"Wide-legged, loose fit trousers are not going anywhere soon. This pair from Maison Margiela are a prefect starter pair – not too oversized, they have a neat turn-up that will rest nicely on a pair of sneakers".
Left - Maison Margiela - Natural Wide-Leg Cotton Trousers - £410
"Let’s face it – it’s still freezing outside. Layering is the key to getting through this cold snap. This panelled sweatshirt from kolor is perfect for now, but will also take you nicely into spring when paired with some wide-leg navy shorts (see Marni)".
Left - Kolor - Grey Panelled Sweatshirt - £389
"I am a keen runner, so I was really excited to bring Satisfy to oki-ni, this season. Satisfy is a brand for both serious and not-so-serious runners –their products are designed, prototyped and tested in their studio in Paris. The technical fabrications used are insane and not one detail is overlooked (The product looks super-slick too)".
Below - Satsify - Black Packable Windbreaker - £305
The fashion business likes a ‘category’. The more categories the more product and the more money, hopefully. If only it was that easy.
Designers and brands like to enter a category, be it jeans, underwear or sunglasses, usually partnering with a manufacturing expert in that field, and expand their businesses one category at a time. Take Tom Ford for example, he is just about to go into underwear after mastering jeans, sunglasses, beauty and trainers, in no particular order.
Left - N/A Necessary Anywhere socks available at Oki-Ni & Harvey Nichols
Underwear is one of the biggest money spinners for brands. People will pay a premium for somebody else’s name on their waistband - not really sure why - and entire brands like Calvin Klein and Versace are built on their underwear categories. They can charge a premium for something that is cheap to make.
And while the underwear category has matured into a reliable cash cow for many, the sock business seems so much trickier. There aren’t many designers or brands who have owned the category. With the exception of Paul Smith, designers produce the odd sock for collections, but don’t fully enter or develop the category. It wasn't that long ago that Burberry pulled out of the category and they make everything.
It’s interesting how people are willing to spend on underwear, but not on socks. We do have quality sock brands such as the German Falke and the British Panterella and Corgi, but there seems to be a ceiling on the pricing. People think socks should be cheap and when brands like Vetements and Gucci do socks at high prices - think nearing three figures - they seem like one of the most frivolouss purchases you can make and are usually a one-off show piece rather than entering the category.
The branded sock market seems to fall into two categories: sports and colourful office-type socks. There’s definitely a gap for something in between. So, it was at the recent CIFF fashion trade show in Copenhagen that I found N/A from New York.
When I searched ’N/A New York’ I got plenty of Narcotics Anonymous meetings, but it actually stands for ‘Necessary Anywhere’ and is influenced by the ‘everyday grind’. To the British that's walking (thought Americans didn't do that anyway!). They believe it’s vital to get up every day with the aspiration to move ourselves forward.
Founded in 2015 by Nick Lewis with six socks, these premium knit socks marry innovative textures with classic colours and patterns. When people pay for socks they usually go for something colourful and playful, N/A seems to have produced a cool sock which marries sports and fashion. They’re about £15, which, while more than your average three pack, aren’t extortionate. They fit somewhere between your smart socks and your sports socks and could, potentially, signal a new category within this difficult category.
Christopher Fisher - Head Buyer at oki-ni
“This suede trucker jacket from Maison Margiela has a beautiful rich texture to it. Demonstrating a workwear-inspired aesthetic whilst nodding to the easy chic of the 70s, it works perfectly with jeans, a classic white T-shirt and a fresh pair of sneakers in the summer and can also be dressed up with one of the season’s printed shirts and tailored trousers for an effortless evening look”.
“Marni's irreverent floral print buzzes with energy and after so many seasons of black and muted tones, this statement style adds a welcome injection of colour to any wardrobe”.
Left - Maison Margiela - Suede Jacket - £1750
Below - Marni - Floral Printed Cotton Shirt - £309
“OAMC draw inspiration from a wide spectrum of sources each season – for SS16, the brand looks to Africa and safari adventuring following a stand-out visit Luke Meier paid to Tanzania in recent years. Technical suiting with breathable perforations and taping is not only practical for temperature regulation but also understatedly stylish”.
Left - OAMC - Jacket - £742
“Souvenir Jackets are a statement piece for SS16 and this one from Valentino is a perfect example. This particular piece has intricate detailed eagle embroidery to the back that can also be seen across other pieces in the collection”.
Left - Valentino - Souvenir Jacket - £1635
“These Stone Island tech swim shorts are woven with a red weft in the fabric which creates an iridescence when caught in the light. Perfect for the beach, home or away”.
Left - Stone Island - Shorts - £95