Today, menswear can be boring. Billionaire fashion barons own tens upon tens of brands, subjecting the high street to bland, uninspired and thoroughly mainstream style. Finding a truly independent menswear store can be difficult — but when you do, it pays off handsomely.
Many of our favourite brands are small businesses, working hard to uphold creativity and craftsmanship — not to mention a level of customer service you’d never find with big name brands. So, if you’re bored of browsing run-of-the-mill rails, here are the ten best names in independent menswear. Try them out for size.
For a simple, utilitarian style: Oliver Spencer
Graduating from a market stall to the runways of fashion shows, self-taught tailor Oliver Spencer has built his brand from a vision of what he believed clothes should look like. And, since 2002 he has watched thousands of customers come around to his way of thinking.
Spencer’s new SS19 collection is full of workwear cast in soft pastel colours, all of which are reliable, stylish and itching to slip into the modern man’s working routine.
Fishtail Trouser Kentridge Black
Cowboy Jacket Evering Stone
New York Special Shirt Vernet Yellow
For an economical, alternative look: Sir Plus
Henry Hales may have started his brand by using shirt off-cuts to create boxer shorts, but today Sir Plus offers a full wardrobe. And, from waistcoats to shirts, you’d be hard pushed to wander down Portobello Road and not spot a stitch of Hales’ handiwork.
The brand has two stores in London now, and we’d recommend you pop in next time you pass. The new Chore jackets are a particular favourite of ours — or, if you want something a little lighter, the t-shirts are super lightweight and just as comfortable.
Rust Moleskin Chore Jacket
Olive Stripe Overhead Grandad Shirt
Blue Raglan T-Shirt
For basic but bold garments: L’Estrange London
This is a brand with a simple motto: ‘With less, do more’. It’s a bold outlook, and one which is changing wardrobes across the world. And these Marie Kondos of menswear are succeeding in simplifying the way we dress; one garment at a time.
They started with the hoodie, but today offer pared-down versions of every item, from the immensely popular 24 Trouser to the basic, but reliable tailored tee.
For exciting collaborations: Kestin Hare
Founded in 2014 by Kestin Hare, after he enjoyed a successful 17-year career in the fashion industry, this eponymous brand is based on the designer’s love of vintage-inspired clothing. And, while the story may have started in Scotland, the clothes are today stocked all around the world.
You can head down to their own shops in Shoreditch and Edinburgh and check out everything from Hare’s own designs — we like the shirt and trouser ranges — and some of his great collaborations as well. Our particular favourite is the recent Superga shoe team-up.
Crammond Shirt In Navy Floral Print Tencel
Inverness Trouser In Olive Water Repellent Cotton
Superga x Kestin Hare 2754 In Olive/White
For a sophisticated Scandi touch: A Day’s March
This Swedish brand has mastered the simple. Their basic designs have been adopted by many gentlemen, especially the brand’s popular overshirts — which have quickly become a staple in wardrobes all over the capital.
A Day’s March pride themselves on creating some of the most useful and versatile clothes available to the modern consumer. And, thanks to the versatility and reliability of their garments, they’ll not only make daily appearances in your outfits — but last longer than any other item, too.
For quality Italian craftsmanship: Luca Faloni
Luca Faloni grew up in Italy, where the level of craftsmanship superseded that of the rest of the world. To even that out, the entrepreneur brought Italian artisanal work to Britain, and founded his own eponymous brand.
Perfect examples of this craftsmanship can be found in the fine silk-cashmere long sleeve polos. Or, for more formal occasions, opt for one of the brand’s brushed cotton shirts. Even when the temperature drops, this continental brand has you covered with their exceptional cashmere cable knit jumpers.
Marine Green Pure Cashmere Cable Knit
Atlantic Blue Fine Silk-Cashmere Polo
Light Blue Brushed Cotton Shirt
For tried and tested style: Sunspel
Probably the oldest brand on this list — first selling their styles in 1860 — Sunspel are still running their own shop, and create some of the softest materials in our wardrobes. They have even dressed the world’s most famous spy, James Bond.
We can’t get enough of the brand’s Riviera polo, originally tailored for Daniel Craig to wear in Casino Royale. But, when our British weather calls for more layers, Sunspel’s knit Harrington jacket and waffle jumper are always winners.
Men's Cotton Milano Knit Harrington Jacket in Grey Marl
Men's Cotton Waffle Jumper in Blue Marl
Men's Cotton Riviera Polo Shirt in Navy
For a touch of South American style: Frescobol Carioca
The Brazilian brand has come from the sandy beaches of Copacabana to the less sunny streets of London to spread the relaxing charm of Rio. All of the brand’s wooden products, including their frescobol bats, are crafted from hand collected drift wood and off-cuts from the lumber industry.
But it’s the clothing where they really come alive. All carnival-ready, you can choose from colourfully-patterned swim shorts to light, breezy camp-collared shirts.
Leblon beach bat set — green
Trunks classic short leg angra
Shirt regular seer sucker camp collar
For an underwear upgrade: Hamilton and Hare
Surely the experts when it comes to underwear and loungewear, Hamilton and Hare are here to give the same level of attention afforded to your tailored suit to your boxer shorts.
Slip into a pair of their briefs, or drape yourself in a dressing gown they’ve designed, and you’ll realise that all their attention was very much worth it. And, as we know, a true gentleman always wears pyjamas.
Plain boxer short box set — sky blue, white, navy
Personalised towelling robe — navy stripe
Tubular crew neck tee — white
Now find out what Luca Faloni’s perfect weekend in London looks like…