The phrase “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” brings creatives and entrepreneurs pouring into the city of New York. Of these various creatives, quite a few flock to the city to fulfill dreams in the fashion industry. The tenacity and business savvy the environment breeds tends to quickly separate the wheat from the chaff, and it becomes quite clear early on which clothing designers and brands have what it takes to make it, and which do not.
With a garment district (although it’s one that is downsizing), a week on the fashion calendar dedicated solely to men’s fashion, and a bustling sense of community, New York historically sits at the epicenter of American menswear. While other cities have tried and continued to try to unseat it, few can compete with a city which allows designers to arguably be within a few miles of so many of the contacts they will need to succeed in the business.
All that said, the Empire State could do more to help its designers in need. There is some movement on restoring the garment district, but there could be more. And while the Big Apple’s men’s fashion week was supposed to get a heaping dose of relevance from Raf Simons pulling up stakes and showing his namesake collection here, more could be done to stem the mass exodus of New York-based designers who prefer to show in prestigious European cities. Some proactive steps would not only hold New York’s status as the nexus of American menswear, but could also possibly raise its prominence in relation to the other menswear capitals of the world, like Paris and Milan.
Regardless, a handful of New York-based menswear brands will continue to truck on as standard bearers for the city. From streetwear style greats like Helmut Lang to the preppy, tailored designs from Ralph Lauren, here are the best men’s brands in New York.