Walking into Topman’s Oxford Circus flagship, a couple of weeks ago, there was a collection of bought-in brands such as Nicce, Le Coq Sportif and Champion, in an area on the first floor. All familiar, all offering the current taste for branded clothing.
Left - Vision Streetwear - Scarf £30
There was a large section for a brand I hadn’t heard of called “Vision”. All Balenciaga-type logo tops and branded football scarves, the product was good and definitely where we are right now and what guys want to buy.
I always like retailers to surprise me and give me things I hadn’t heard of before. I just thought it was a street/sportswear brand that was yet to jump onto my radar.
I went to the Topman SS18 press day, the following week, and there was a special area for “Vision” and, then, the penny dropped: this must be an in-house brand.
It’s clever. It allows brands to do something different, have a clean creative sheet and for it to be detached from the parent brand. It can also, unlike the main brand, be disposed of the minute it starts to wobble. Easy come, easy go.
People are much more open to fresh brands and this is the future for high-street retail. Secretive in-house brands, that look like they’ve been created by a young, dynamic group of creatives rather than be tainted by the connotations of the parent brand. TK Maxx have been doing it for years.
And this takes me to HIIT. A new sportswear focussed brand under Burton’s umbrella. I’m much more likely to get excited about HIIT - it looks really good BTW - than “Burton Sportswear” for example. It also allows the people who work there to push it and be very current without a buyer in the background wailing “It’s not very Burton, is it?”.
Right - HIIT Available at Burton in January 2018
It also allows it to be stocked by third parties such as Zalando and ASOS. It stands on its own right and when its life cycle is over it can be shelved and a replacement or alternative waiting in the wings.
I’m calling these “Russian Doll Brands”: brands within brands offering a new niche and more fashion forward or specialised clothing.
What these do is represent the shortening lives of brand and how they can easily come and go and also, it’s a step away from “collaborations” which many consumers and brands have grown tired of.
Correction - Vision is owned by Authentic Brands Group, a brand development, marketing and entertainment company, which owns a global portfolio of lifestyle, sports, and celebrity and entertainment brands. It is exclusive to Topman in the UK and US, but not in Japan.
So, today is Football Shirt Friday, raising money for bowel cancer research, but if you’re a follower of fashion, then everyday, this summer, can be football shirt friday. The football shirt is the new holiday hawaiian shirt. So, bin the hibiscus and hula-hula dancers and take to the terrace.
You can pick these up from vintage stores, charity shops and on the high-street and it doesn’t really matter which team you support as long as it’s ‘Team Style’. They need to feel as synthetic, shiny and as ‘drip dry’ as possible. These are a loose fit, so not fitted, clingy or ‘muscle fit’.
Team with a tracksuit and sandals or dad jeans and the best thing about these tops are they are usually fairly cheap and low maintenance. You can even wear these tops with a suit, (I recently rocked one with my Tom Ford suit and it worked on Instagram - see picture below), or on a lads holiday.
If anybody starts to talk to you about about football, just nod and back away!
Here’s 10 of the best:
Left - Gosha Rubchinskiy X Kappa - £50
Left - House of Holland X Umbro - Striped Jersey - £61
Left - Umbro - Witton SS Jersey - £14
Below - Devote - Navy Curved Hem Faded T-Shirt - £25 from Topman
Left - Diadora - Maseru Jersey Men’s - £24.99
Left - Puma - Speed S/S Short - £13.50
Below - Le Coq Sportif - Manufrance Jersey - £60
Left - Hummel - Core LS Poly Jersey - £14
Left - New Balance - Tech Training Elite SS Jersey - £28
Below - BoohooMan - Raglan Side Print T-Shirt - £10
Behind every great athlete there is a great trainer; passing on his experience and knowledge to the next generation of Olympians. To celebrate the Rio Olympics, TheChicGeek took to the playing field to train for that gold medal.
Always striving to be his best, TheChicGeek is, here, channeling 'retro sports teacher' in a fresh white tracksuit and 'Chariots of Fire' type vest top. An Olympic gold, like true style, takes commitment, dedication and training!
Credits - Trainers - Puma, White Tracksuit Top - Bjorn Borg, White Tracksuit Bottoms - Bjorn Borg, Socks - adidas, Watch - Maurice Lacroix, Vest Top - Iffley Road, Whistle - Le Coq Sportif, 'Omoressence' - Omorovicza, 'Urban Blue Detox Clay Mask' - Lab Series, 'City Block Purifying Cleansing Gel' - Clinique.
Shot by Robin Forster
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See OLYMPIC GEEK 2
Nothing is as classically masculine and maritime as the colour combination of navy and white. Not one to flinch at a challenge, TheChicGeek decided to take the difficult route of getting to the top. Wearing sporty stripes, chalky whites and the new Sebago Docksides Ariaprenes, this style chameleon looks more like a rock lizard!
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Shoes - Navy Sebago Docksides® Ariaprene from Sebago & Size?, Bag - Eastpak, Shorts - Hamilton & Hare, T-Shirt - GAP, Zip Top - Le Coq Sportif, Sweater - G-Star RAW Marc Newson, Blue Jacket - Pepe Jeans, Card Holder - Uri Minkoff, Watch - D1, Neckerchief - Scott Fraser Collection, Sunglasses - Police, Spectacles - Guess, Grooming Tool - Philips 'One Blade', Thickening Conditioner & Hair Fibres - Mr by Jamie Stevens, Fragrance - Davidoff 'Horizon'.
Shot by Robin Forster on Olympus PEN
More images below