Barbour x Engineered Garments
Words: Amber Grünhäuser
»There are many ways of living, conditions, capacities, shapes, growth, function, purpose, practice, use, work and operation. Collectively arranged, assembled, produced and planned; built showing use, process and form.« – Barbour x Engineered Garments A/W 2019
Lovers of fine outerwear are welcoming the news that renowned heritage and lifestyle brand Barbour has partnered with workwear-inspired cult brand Engineered Garments for a third season. Expect timeless quality and expert craftmanship fused with distinctive accents and New York City cool. The autumn/winter 2019 Barbour x Engineered Garments collection features Barbour’s iconic waxed cotton and rugged construction imbued with the unique instinct and eclectic detailing of Engineered Garments’ Daiki Suzuki. The collection of men’s jackets, crafted in classic olive and navy, reveal Suzuki’s penchant for workwear references, outdoor utility and romanticism, high-grade military apparel styling and American sportswear.
Among those styles featured in the collection are the Ground Wax, which includes zip fastened poacher’s pockets, vertical 8 wale cord pocket bags, self fabric patches and profile stitching; the Cowen Wax with patch pockets, twin needle stitching around the yoke and arm holes, an 8 wale cord inner collar, vertical cord pocket bags and adjustable tabs at the sides; the Upland Wax, which includes bellow pockets, self fabric patches, a cord collar and a button fasten throat tab; and the quilted Field Vest with an adjustable hood, two poacher’s pockets at the back, zip pockets and like most pieces in the collection, Barbour’s traditional fibre pile lining in tartan.
Considered a British institution in the rag trade, Barbour is a fifth-generation family-owned business that has been operating for 125 years. Barbour’s coveted waxed jackets are still manufactured by hand in its factory in Simonside, UK, using internationally sourced materials. Barbour collections show respect for its British countryside heritage with beautifully made functional outerwear for rugged conditions that retain a certain »wit, grit and glamour«. It is the shared passion for expert craftsmanship, attention to quality and detail, alongside a deep love of time spent in nature that unites the two divergent brands.
New York City-based Engineered Garments, the lesser known but highly influential cult menswear brand is one for the discerning trainspotter. To understand Engineered Garments, one needs to take a closer look at head designer Daiki Suzuki. The brand is a synthesis of everything he holds dear, including reflections of American manufacturing, local NYC bustle, close ties with New York City’s garment district, local production values, a love of American workwear and sportswear heritage, his experience as a buyer and retailer in Japan and nature sensibilities. Suzuki cherishes both expert craftmanship and the unpolished, inconsistencies of American manufacturing in which each garment carries an individual quirk, a feature which he embraces in the design process. Within the designs, eclectic influences, details and elements come together as a cohesive albeit sometimes disparate whole. Engineered Garments’ unconventional and highly original interpretation of workwear is very much Suzuki’s flair.
Engineered Garments is one of the Nepenthes in-house brands along with Needles, SOUTH2 WEST8 and AïE. However, each works as an independent concept. Suzuki and Keizo Shimizu, the founders of Nepenthes, have a longstanding working relationship spanning many buying, retail and production incarnations across America and Japan. In 1999, Suzuki started to produce American-made work pants under the Engineered Garments banner. However, it wasn’t until 2002 that the brand came into its own with a complete collection. In 2010, Nepenthes moved to West 38th Street in the Garment District and turned the store front into the NEPENTHES NEW YORK boutique and designed the collections upstairs. Inspired by NYC living and with a made-locally-in-NYC concept, the Engineered Garments’ story is closely intertwined with New York City’s iconic (and dwindling) Garment District where it is produced. The brand has weathered the challenges associated with trying to keep production local. These production values are integral to the charm and atmosphere of the garments. Keen attention to detail is also carried over into garment construction, where Suzuki is known to require the use of different types of industrial sewing machines and skilled technicians to produce varied effects, sometimes in the one garment. It is this care for the details in the design and production process that sets Engineered Garments apart from other brands and makes them a natural if not adventurous fit to Barbour’s heritage.
The Barbour x Engineered Garments autumn/winter 2019 collection is available at HHV now: