Men’s 2011 Fall/Holiday Style Guide: Comune

comune

Mike Quinones, COMUИE Creative Director

What is your overall story for Fall 11?

This collection has been a very big deal for the brand and marks a lot of milestones for us a company. It is our two-year anniversary, we have introduced women’s bottoms, and we also offer a domestically produced capsule collection. We’re really proud to be able to offer domestic product on some level or another, and still make it affordable to most consumers. I think that is the ultimate for domestic goods-not overshooting what the majority of consumers can afford and are willing to pay. Pulling some of the grip back from overseas manufacturing is important, too. We have too much reliance on it, and we have already begun to see what the consequences of that are.

Wovens is always an important category for Fall. Do plaid flannels still have legs? Or what do you think has replaced the plaid flannel for this season?

Flannels are basics for some brands, much like a solid or Oxford shirting is. Personally, I think that flannel has slowed down for a lot of brands because the market is a bit oversaturated, but we are always going to offer our take on how it is viewed or worn. For Fall we’ve combined different silhouettes, dye techniques and brushing techniques to give it new legs. We have a style called the Branton, which is an over-sized button up poncho that uses a lightweight heavy brushed flannel. I feel pieces like that breathe new life into a category that retailers have seen millions times. We’ve been using a lot more blends to replace the flannel in our collection, and increasing fabric weight and weave to fill that ‘heavy woven’ bucket.

What categories and styles did you see perform last season and how did you incorporate that retailer feedback into the collection?

We are a very strong in denim, woven’s and outerwear. Styles like the Braydon Denim Jacket are staples in the outerwear category and we are constantly offering new fabrications in it, same goes for the Howard Woven. We’ve been able to continually build and expand these categories at retail based on the continued success of staple pieces like these. We love experimenting with denim and pushing how far we can take it, or how far it will let us go. We’ve also added some new non-denim styles in both trouser and five pocket silhouettes using two-tone twill in David, brushed down tweed in Kristoff and wool blend fabrics Kelly.

What are the key styles for knits?

Knits and fleece were a little tough for us to find our niche in the beginning, but I feel strongly that we have worked out where we land. Our retail partners understand that we aren’t going to show them four versions of printed fleece and screen-printed zip front fleece. Being a new brand, it has been important for us to keep really tight to our ideals and direction, and I think that is what has helped be so successful early on. The Ford and Perry knit are key pieces this Fall. Perry is a short sleeve thermal basic and Ford is a long sleeve peached Henley with a poplin placket and chest pocket.

Last Fall, heritage and work wear were big trends. Are you addressing either of these trends and how do you see these evolving into the next step?

I think that this season heritage and work wear are going to be even larger then last year. I’m super stoked to see that “American Heritage and Work Wear'” is a global trend! It’s great for us as a country to hold that high and be proud of our past. However, we as a brand aren’t heritage or work wear, nor were we going to scramble and readapt who we are to meet a trend. We didn’t run and add three chambray wovens, suddenly offer 16 ounce raw denim and have multiple work wear silhouettes. Instead we expanded on fabrics and direction that we have spent two years defining, staying true to the identity that we have created. I think that the collection shows a strong progression from the literal take on any of this, offering a much darker and refined look.

What are the fit and finishing updates for denim and pants?

In five pocket denim, we offer tapered, fitted, classic and regular fits. The smallest leg opening is 13.5 inches and the largest is 16.50 inches.  We have introduced new washes and fabrications such as a hand rolled ink wash in the Gareth pant and carried over staples like the Braydon Black Wax. Rather then use niche “forward” silhouettes in bottoms we like to experiment with unorthodox uses of certain fabrics, like the stone colored canvas five pocket Kelly. Non-denim has steadily increased and opened up growth for styles like our Raul Crosshatched Denim Trouser and brushed down Tweed Kristoff. Non-denim is going to continue to trend and really open up a lot of new opportunities for brands to experiment with silhouettes.

What is the inspiration behind your jackets and some of the treatments and details that you put on them to make them unique?

I think that the functionality of our jackets is as important as the design or inspiration of them. We have a two-tone coffee tweed trench coat with a covered placket, matte black clasp closures and a black canvas collar. The covered placket makes the jacket a bit warmer by keeping more heat in and the cooler elements out, but it also gives the jacket a tailored look. Using details like the metal clasp breaks up the sometimes flat appearance of a jacket with a covered placket, while keeping an industrial feel as well. The Gabe has a wool-like body with quilted oil-coated canvas sleeves. The inspiration for the sleeves came from the quilting on motorcycle jackets, as did the cropped silhouette and we married that with a warmer military inspired wool body. I think the blending of details and fabrications from separate ideas is what keeps up fresh and ahead of other product on the floor, yet still relevant and familiar enough for the consumer.