In only its second season at NYFW: Men’s, Los Angeles-based brand Second/Layer has already snagged a prominent slot on the calendar, as one of the final shows of the week. Walking around Thursday night’s presentation of the brand’s spring/summer 2017 collection, it’s not hard to see why. The brand’s founders include creative director Joshua Willis, his brother Jacob, who acts as CEO, and art director Anthony Franco. But, it also seems likely that there’s a psychic somewhere on staff.
The brand is hitting on every buzzy word/phrase/trend in menswear: genderless clothing, concert merch-inspired graphics, elevated basics, skate wear, and items blessed by the friendly Los Angeles sun. And these are all things, by the way, Second/Layer has been doing naturally since its inception. “It's great to have a nod from the people doing it here in New York,” Josh Willis told Complex about the primetime slot on the calendar. “Just being from L.A., that means something to me. And just being put on that stage here in the U.S., we're thankful. We're grateful for that.”
And that stage is set with a collection that looks extremely wearable. After the monsoon and the oppressive humidity that followed it in New York Thursday, it was easy to see the appeal of Second/Layer’s silk shirts, slouchy polos, and relaxed-fitting tailored jackets. And, despite the heat, it was still easy to appreciate the nicely fitted “obsidian” moto jacket, bombers, and a gold kit made up of a matching jacket and shorts that, upon closer inspection, had an intricate floral pattern running across them.
“The whole concept of Second/Layer is the idea of elevated essentials and tailor-made clothing,” Franco explained. "Stuff you don't really have to think about too much in the morning and is easily interchangeable. Something you can make a uniform out of. I've been probably wearing this outfit for the past week and a half.”
The collection also follows through with Second/Layer’s use of song lyrics. Franco explains the inspiration as the “exploration of an emotional connection and the process of the beginning of a relationship through to the end of a relationship.” It starts with loving phrases like “Dream, Baby, Dream” or “Time Goes By So Slow When I’m With You,” which are either printed small or hidden in the design. "'Dream Baby Dream' is the song title from the band Suicide, the adornment is a subtle print—almost hidden, and small in scale," the designers said. "The denim features a jagged hem, indicating being caught up, while the clean-cut raw hem line trousers is the ‘cut off' or the end." Graphics then take on a more gloomy tone in the form of concert merch-style graphics that read “Disconnect Tour.” The sweater wouldn’t be out of a place at a stand in popular Los Angeles’ concert venue The Echoplex.
The uniquely Los Angeles vibe bubbles up from the collection to the founders’ attitude. When asked what he learned from his first show, Willis said, “Just roll with it. Don't get all stressed out, because it's all about the clothes and the vibe that you're bringing anyway. The other shit is what it is, at the end of the day.” The clothes also speak to the common thread of easy-to-wear clothing coming out of the sunshine state. “I think it's just with Los Angeles weather always being 85 to 90°, there's lots of easy throw-on layers,” Franco said.
You can see the rest of the collection below.