It’s been great seeing Drake’s develop into a fuller menswear line. Fifteen years ago, most people would have never even heard of the company, even though they started in the late 1970s. For much of their history, Drake’s served as a private label manufacturer located in London’s East End, where they produced classic neckwear for a variety of top-end brands. As the wholesale market has gotten squeezed, however, Drake’s has had to reposition itself – going from a private label manufacturer to a consumer-orientated brand. First came the ties, pocket squares, and scarves bearing the company’s name. Then, in more recent times, they’ve added shirts, sport coats, outerwear, knitwear, jeans, and small leather goods.
All of this has allowed them to put together seasonal lookbooks – models fitted head-to-toe in things you can find at the Drake’s store. The outfits are somewhat stylized, to be sure, but they’re great for inspiration.
The new one for spring just dropped on Drake’s site. I particularly like the cream-colored sport coat they put together with navy trousers – a refreshingly modern take on the dark jacket with grey trousers most of us wear. They also have a navy wool seersucker suit, which I think will age better than its cousins in cotton. Cotton suiting can be great in the summertime, but given how it fades, it doesn’t always age well in darker colors.
Some other great combinations: a sunflower yellow Macclesfield print tie worn with a tobacco brown suit, as well as the shell cordovan loafers with raw blue jeans and a suede Valstarino. The star, for me, might be the spring/ summer version of their military field jacket (pictured at the top of this post). Instead of the waxed cotton they used last year, this season’s version looks to be made from some kind of cotton-linen blend. This is the sort of jacket that would look great on its own with jeans, or thrown over a casual, unstructured sport coat on a cooler day.
As usual, Drake’s core is in accessories. Even with a hefty stack of pocket squares sitting on my dresser, there’s still a piece or two I want from them every season. This spring’s pocket squares are made from cotton-silk and cotton-model blends, which give them a light and airy feel (I like the archival tiger and “oriental” prints). Also worth a look are the new boucle ties. Boucle is a heavily textured fabric, made from slightly curled yarns, which give it a spongier and softer hand than raw silk. And while I’m not usually one for spring scarves, these hand-dyed indigo pieces from Buaisou have me reconsidering.
You can browse all of the new spring/ summer items on Drake’s site. They’ll also soon be available at CHCM, Drake’s new outpost in New York City until they set up their permanent US shop.