The 19 Most Slept On NYC Brands

Homegrown menswear in the Big Apple has been on the map for a minute, but some brands are getting more love than others. These are the most slept-on NYC brands—time to wake up.

This is a photo of models posing during the DDUGOFF Presentation in NYC.


This is a photo of models posing during the DDUGOFF Presentation in NYC.

New York City is home to some of the best men’s style brands in the world. Big guns like Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein have long dominated the city’s fashion landscape and continue to exert their influence on young upstarts. Supreme has been holding it down since ‘94. Kith and Ronnie Fieg routinely kick things up a notch year after year with new collaborations and celebrity attention. Brands like Alexander Wang and Public School inject some youth into the fashion establishment. The city is also home to up-and-coming labels like New Things Creative, XXB NYC, and Proper Gang, who are all definitely ones to watch. And that’s without mentioning other if-you-know-you-know faves like Engineered Garments, the hometown heroes of the Garment District. Nearly every "best brands" list Complex has ever put together has included at least one brand birthed right here in the Empire State, and deservedly so.

What can we say? Homegrown menswear in New York City is here to stay and, no matter the fate of the menswear-only version of New York Fashion Week, it might even be the best time ever for men's designers to establish their HQ in the Big Apple. Even with all of the emerging talent making their mark on this town, we have ID’s a few stand-out brands hailing from NYC that haven’t received quite as much shine as they deserve. Maybe you’ve heard the name Greg Lauren before, or have had someone (like us) tell you about Death to Tennis. Maybe you’re one of Abasi Rosborough fanatics who have helped the label slowly grow into an insider favorite. Or maybe you’ve seen grail-worthy pieces in stores without realizing that’s that good Siki Im. So, allow us to lay it down for you right here, with the most slept on NYC brands. Time to wake up, kids.


The team behind Cobra S.C.—Safa Taghizadeh and Christopher Reynolds—haven’t spent much time creating a website or social media presence that tells potential customers a lot about the brand’s ethos or point of view. And that seems to be by design; Taghizadeh told the New York Times in 2017 that he and Reynolds are more interested in pushing product than selling an idea. Thankfully, the product they’re pushing is pretty good and pretty straightforward.

Put simply: Cobra S.C. makes shirts. Simple, loose-fitting button-ups, some solid, some striped, with some prints and silk pajama tops thrown in, too. They’ve all been crafted using high-end fabrics (naturally), so you can rest assured that the only shortcut the founders take is a business model that allows them to avoid devoting endless hours to populating a robust Instagram feed. —Steve Dool

Instagram: @deveauxnewyork

Deveaux launched in 2016, but the brand made a big move a year later when they brought in Tommy Ton as artistic director. Ton, the street style photographer who turned legions of fashion editors and bloggers into mini-celebrities by documenting their fits outside Fashion Week, is tasked with making Deveaux unisex and, presumably, taking it to the next level alongside the in-house team that was already in place, Matt Breen and Andrea Tsao.

Deveaux will likely continue to evolve as seasons come and go, but their commitment to quality fabrics has been there from the start. These are luxurious clothes that look luxurious. That, along with Ton’s eye, seems like a winning combination for success. —Steve Dool


Calling Sundae School a slept-on New York brand is only half true; the label’s Korean-born founders (and siblings) Cindy and Dae Lim consider their brand a product of both Seoul and NYC. Sundae School’s dual citizenship underscores the universal appeal of their clothes, which the Lims define as “smokewear.” Yes, your assumption is correct: That means their clothes are inspired by weed and the stoner lifestyle that comes with it.

Practically speaking, that means the requisite tees and hoodies that your average jet-setting pothead might like to pull on to smoke up. But, the brand has higher aspirations—pun intended—with an assortment of relaxed, loungey velvet pants, jumpsuits they’ve dubbed “smokesuits,” and outerwear inspired by traditional Korean men’s coats called a Doorumagi. These, and other pieces, have been given a stoner twist, though, updated, naturally, with spliff pockets. —Steve Dool

Instagram: @siesmarjan

If you’re not up on Sies Marjan, you’d be forgiven. The brand from Dutch designer (turned New Yorker) Sander Lak once catered exclusively to high-end ladies who want high-end clothes. But, fittingly for a brand that Lak named after the first names of his mother and his father, his expansion into menswear is the perfect reason to get familiar.

You can expect from Sies Marjan’s menswear a lot of what he’s done for women. His collection is colorful, pricey, and full of items you didn’t know you needed until you saw them. Like, for instance, the tie-dye mohair coat for Fall 2018. Just throw on the coordinating bucket hat, and never look back. —Steve Dool

Instagram: @onsclothing

Like so many brands before it, O.N.S. wants to make clothing for the “creative class.” But pay no mind to marketing copy: The fact is, O.N.S. makes good, minimalist shit that doesn’t go out of style and isn’t going to leave you well-dressed, but broke. So what does that mean? Think simple basics like tees and sweats, but also denim for under $150 and layering pieces that you can pile on with some of your more adventurous pieces. And if you need any further proof, O.N.S. has some co-signs via collaborations with other brands under their belts—including one with another brand on this list, Abasi Rosborough, that ventures into slightly more experimental territory. —Steve Dool

Instagram: @collinastrada

Collina Strada may have started out in the biz serving female shoppers, but let’s be real: shopping along gender lines is not the wave these days. Designer Hillary Taymour knows this, too. Her most recent collections have been shown during New York Fashion Week on models who represent the spectrum of gender identities—and we’re all the better for opening up the possibility to get some Collina Strada in our closets.

The FIDM-educated Taymour, who launched Collina Strada in 2008, has branched far beyond her early days making leather handbags and apparel. It’s the outerwear that usually steals the show, like padded velvet jackets or, for Fall 2018, the robe coat to end all robe coats. Don’t worry that many of the stores that stock Collina Strada still list her under womenswear. These are clothes for everybody. —Steve Dool

Instagram: @youasnyc

Don’t let the difficult-to-Google name of this Brooklyn-based menswear label deter you; You As is worth searching for. The brainchild of designer Tony Liu, a New York native, You As is made to walk the line between everyday basics and something with a little extra flair for when the plain Uniqlo button down just won’t do. So, yes, there are floral prints—some, like the shirt Kendrick Lamar wore in his video for “All the Stars” off of the Black Panther soundtrack, also include a few carefully affixed Swarovski crystals for added oomph—but also some retro-inflected pieces like tracksuits and Western shirts. The overall effect: versatile, easy-to-wear options that won’t make you look like you’re trying too hard. —Steve Dool

Instagram: @bode

There are several surefire ways to pack your wardrobe full of clothing that no one else you know owns. You can save your pennies to buy only the most expensive gear, you can scour vintage shops and eBay for clothes from years past or you can scroll through social media to support your local, fledgling Insta-brand—good luck with that one. Or, you can turn to Bode, the New York brand from designer Emily Adams Bode.

Bode uses mostly vintage and deadstock fabric she finds herself, meaning that if her pieces aren’t one-of-a-kind, they’re definitely limited in supply. She’s turned quilts from a hundred years ago into jackets, fabric from India and Italy into shirts and even used unconventional pieces like grain sacks and mattress covers for her creations. And it’s paying off: In addition to a can’t-miss show during Fashion Week, Bode is stocked at tastemaking retailers like Tres Bien, Opening Ceremony, Totokaelo. In other words, if you really want to set yourself apart from the pack in Bode, you better get moving now. —Steve Dool


As the name implies, New York’s One DNA creates clothes that are made for every human. It’s an admittedly broad statement of purpose, but at its heart, the goal is pretty simple: These are unisex clothes that are designed to be able to be sized up or down depending on individual body types. These pieces often look best oversized, adhering to current trends. Roomy pants with a wide leg like the kind so often shown on Fashion Week runways are made in New York, available for a fraction of the price of their upscale designer counterparts. You can also switch out One DNA’s giant hoodies and crew neck sweatshirts for a cashmere V-neck that’s just as cozy, if not more so. And thanks to careful finishing and fine fabrics, One DNA is a one-stop shop if you’re looking to be comfy without looking sloppy. —Steve Dool

Instagram: @abasirosborough

Menswear fanboys may recognize Abdul Abasi, one half of the creative duo behind Abasi Rosborough, from his tenure at cult label Engineered Garments. But, the clothing he creates with his partner and co-founder Greg Rosborough deserves to have a following that reaches beyond niche status. Since 2013, the Fashion Institute of Technology alums have been churning out progressive menswear that’s all made in New York and inspired in equal parts by sports and the military. The latter is a reference point that Abasi knows well; he detailed for Complex in a 2013 interview how his stint in the military informed his design point of view. 

“A lot of Americans never leave their home area, so to be thrust into international waters and doing things there, I was working with German soldiers, Polish, Italian; it just gave me a new perspective,” he said. “I kind of had the turning point when I was in Europe and I realized that my level of art and design could be fused with everyday wear.”

The Abasi Rosborough version of an everyday wardrobe skews futuristic, but doesn’t sacrifice accessibility. In other words, wearing one of the brand’s camel top coats with an asymmetrical zip closure, or sweats that feature drawstrings around the ankles, would be enough to make you stand out from the rest of the well-dressed guys on your morning commute, but won’t leave you feeling like you’re making a loud fashion statement on the A train. —Steve Dool

Instagram: @chcm_shop

C’H’C’M’ exudes a quiet confidence. If you’ve ever stepped foot into the NoHo storefront or visited the online shop you know that there isn’t an extra part in the bunch. While some prefer their fashion to come with endless details and occasionally useless doo dads, owner Sweetu Patel and C’H’C’M’ prefer to stay firmly rooted in simplicity.

After six years running the shop, Patel saw an opportunity to offer something exclusive, yet totally familiar, for his loyal customer base and started his own in-house clothing collection. Named after the shop it calls home, C’H’C’M’ (which stands for Clinton Hill Classic Menswear, after the neighborhood where the shop originated), the brand’s wares fit in seamlessly with the rest of the designer threads that populate the shelves, while still offering original takes on, yup, classic menswear. But, we’re not talking about the dictionary definition of “classic.” Think of it more as understated basics—crew neck sweatshirts, subdued oxfords, thick cardigans, and cotton trousers with a single pleat represent wardrobe staples you forgot you needed. Patel describes it best, of course: “We try to offer as little as possible—around 10-12 garments that can be worn together and interchanged with each other daily. The clothes are for everyone to wear however they feel like wearing them, not necessarily to stand out, but rather enhance what you’ve already got going on as a person.” In a current climate where clothes feel like a veil for a lack of personality, these are meant for those who don’t want their outfits getting in the way. —Skylar Bergl

Instagram: @ddugoff

While studying architecture, Daniel DuGoff learned that the trade, as he told Metropolis“wasn’t just how to design a building,” but also a full-on “design philosophy.” So, while DuGoff began designing objects and furniture before shifting gears to become a technical designer at Marc by Marc Jacobs, his experience with architecture has directly influenced his work, especially when he kicked off his own label for the Fall/Winter 2014 season.

DuGoff creates what he calls “unbasic basics," or clothing that guys wouldn’t be afraid to wear day-after-day. Of course, if you’re going to be designing clothes that spend more time out of the closet than in, they better come correct with the quality. DDUGOFF is chock full of impeccable fabrics—cotton from Japan, wool from Italy, oxford fabric from Portugal—put together in NYC (along with New Jersey and L.A.). DuGoff’s label may be flying a little under the radar at the moment—tucked quietly in shops like Opening Ceremony, Neighbour, and East Dane—his spot in the “Art & Style” section of Forbes' annual "30 under 30" in 2016 is just one indication that DDUGOFF is destined for big moves. —​Gregory Babcock

Instagram: @deathtotennis

There’s a great history of Brits coming to New York to make it big—Marcus Wainwright and David Neville of rag & bone, Vogue’s Anna Wintour, and, you know, the people who named it New York in the first place. If there’s any justice, we’ll soon be able to add William Watson and Vincent Oshin to that list. The designers, who together are at the helm of the menswear label Death To Tennis, both hail from England, but met Stateside while working on other fashion projects. But, the vision for their collection is strong enough to travel beyond that well-worn Heathrow to JFK flight plan.

You may have already seen that we named Death to Tennis one of our brands to watch in 2016, and there are plenty of reasons we stand behind that claim. What might be most impressive is how well they take a minimalist, easy-to-wear approach and turn up the volume just enough to make room for some extra points of interest. Take the wool trench from their Fall 2015 collection; it’s all business in the front, like a fairly standard, straightforward coat you may already have in your closet. But, the party in the back—custom embroidery by artist Jakob Haglof—gives you something entirely new, and distinctively DTT. Not bad for a couple of expats in the big city. —Steve Dool

Instagram: @greglauren

Greg Lauren may be the nephew of the god Ralph Lauren, but his eponymous men’s and women’s line, launched in 2011, isn’t the slightest bit similar to Ralph’s classic, all-American style. But that’s not a bad thing. Greg, an artist-cum-designer who learned how to sew in order to create his 2009 “Alteration” exhibit—which consisted of 40 sculptures of the most iconic menswear garments made out of Japanese paper—designs collection that, as he told Vogue in 2014, “have always been about a destroyed elegance.”

Over the years, he’s become known for his signature deconstructed techniques. His collections—all the way from Spring 2011 to Spring 2016 (his first-ever menswear show) and beyond—are inspired by military clothing and use repurposed materials such as vintage army tents, tattered linen from old duffel bags, and sailor uniforms pieced together. Even more impressive: Everything is hand-sewn by Greg himself with help from a group of artisan sewers in Los Angeles.

High-end retailers like Barneys, Dover Street Market (New York, London, and Ginza), and Maxfield in L.A. have taken notice of the label, and so have celebrities like Kanye West, who wore a custom Greg Lauren velvet jacket and pants to the 2015 Grammy Awards. Now, it’s time for you to pay attention to this Lauren, too. —Karizza Sanchez


Many young brands struggle to get their gear into the right stores to get their careers moving, but Linder is a different case. The brand’s studio space at 128 Thompson in New York also functions as its own store, stocking both Linder and a handful of third party brands. It’s a bit of a challenge, as Linder co-founders Kirk Millar and Sam Linder explain, but it has helped shaped how its own clothes come together, placing them on both sides of buying and designing.

Linder’s recent collections have occasionally departed from its previously darker palettes, with spring-like color schemes and inspiration drawn from things like a photo of old-school boxer Jack Dempsey sitting ringside in a pair of shorts and a surprisingly elaborate sweater. That juxtaposition between sport and sportswear is the line Linder rides. There are those boxing-inspired shorts and the thick sweaters with the off-kilter button stance, but also washed-out denim, their own sneakers, and polo shirts with a distinct sheen, as if they were hit with gold flakes after all was said and done. It’s muted and approachable, but a little bit wacky all the same—a mix few brands are able to balance this well. —​Skylar Bergl

Instagram: @palmiersdumal

Athleisure may still be gripping the nation, with everyone around you wearing their favorite yoga pants, claiming they need “comfort” above everything else. But, is there anything actually as comfortable as clothes made for the resort? Fledgling label Palmiers du Mal pulls much of its inspiration from creative director Shane Fonner’s extensive travels, which have brought him to Rio de Janeiro, Marrakech, Paris, and many more.

The resulting look definitely hits on a resort-like feel. Knits (cashmere most of the time) are luxuriously soft, shirts are airy and lightweight, and pants often come with dropped crotches and the sort of pattern that gives off vibes of the furthest away, most exotic location you can imagine. The pieces aren’t radical, but take more than a bit of gumption to pull off. With a looser silhouette, Palmiers du Mal lends itself not just to men, but anyone looking to stay cozy while also draping themselves in luxurious, expertly crafted fabrics. Fonner says, “I like to think of my clothing as something that attempts to transcend time and place, and as such, gender. I don't like being defined as a 'unisex' brand though. I try to create cool pieces, and if women dig it—and they do—then that's excellent.”

As long as you’re daring enough to wear it. —​Skylar Bergl

Instagram: @skmanorhill

If you’re catching Engineered Garments-tinged feelings when running through an s.k. manor hill lookbook, then you’re on the right track—designer Dominic Sondag worked with the production and design teams over at Daiki Suzuki’s NYC-based label. Under Suzuki at Engineered Garments, Sondag was able to develop a renewed appreciation for vintage clothing and craftsmanship. It’s a methodology that’s translated directly into his first collection, combining global travel with a formal-meets-casual versatility. But, it’s not just a shared philosophy that s.k. manor hill has in common with Engineered Garments; Sondag also produces his collection in the city’s storied Garment District, resulting in a level of quality that’s associated with top-notch New York production.

As a younger brand (the label made its debut in the Spring/Summer 2016 season), s.k. manor hill is definitely on the smaller scale and still not super easy to find. But don’t let a lack of information fool you: This is a brand that will have reformed streetwear fiends and menswear nostalgists alike chomping at the bit for more in the years to come. —​Gregory Babcock

Beautiful 'behind the scenes' look at our FW14 show, via @models and @ninjasze

— SIKI IM (@sikiimstudio) February 13, 2014

Twitter: @sikiimstudio

With a resume that includes time as senior designer under Karl Lagerfeld and modern-day menswear icon Helmut Lang, Siki Im was poised for success before even launching his own label. Founded in 2009 with a Spring/Summer 2010 debut, the eponymous collection from the German-born and -raised designer wowed with an initial assortment inspired by the classic novelThe Lord of the Flies. Since then, Siki Im’s dark aesthetic has proven to be simultaneously architectural and athletic—in a way, an embodiment of New York itself. And that isn't just a coincidence; the designer cut his teeth as an architect before stepping into the world of fashion, and he told Barneys New York that his mood board consists of "mostly buildings or objects, but never other designers.” His work ultimately earned him the Ecco Domani award for Best Men’s Wear in 2010, and the Samsung Design & Fashion Fund in 2011.

But for all of the accolades, it seems Siki Im is relatively overlooked when it comes to runway-centric menswear labels from the Big Apple. Though he might not be the first name on your lips when discussing NYC fashion designers, he’s come to be one of the more established names on the men’s side of New York Fashion Week. In 2016, Siki Im traveled to Florence, Italy, representing the U.S. in the hunt for the International Woolmark Prize, a sign that as he approached a decade in business, people finally started to catch on. It’s clear that the future for this dark label is exceedingly bright. —Gregory Babcock

Instagram: @richardsonworld

If you live in NYC or L.A., Richardson is your favorite cool guy’s favorite brand. Tied to the cult erotic art magazine founded by Andrew Richardson, it's a streetwear label—but only in its casual designs. Incorporating Richardson’s own history as a stylist and editor, the brand began as anafterthought, coming into existence only after Supreme’s James Jebbia convinced Richardson to start making clothing. Eventually, the line became a separate entity still closely tied to the publication, working in tandem with the magazine by featuring the showcased artists and photographers on T-shirts and other merch. While the brand began relatively under-the-radar, it’s emerged on the backs of celebrities like Rihanna and on the racks of stores like Dover Street Market.

Those might be reasons to prove how the brand is anything but low-key, but we have to ask, if you don’t live in the aforementioned cities on either coast, how often are you really seeing, hearing, or talking about Richardson? While the brand’s occasionally explicit imagery isn’t going to endear everyone, there’s plenty of wit and clean design that’s associated with the Richardson “R.” The classics include the label’s badger-branded wrestling gear and the references to a fake Richardson hardware store in NYC’s Chinatown. But more than just tees and hoodies, the label is host to a swell of gear, including velvet-detailed denim jackets and cozy car coats. New York and Los Angeles may have kept this gem on the down low, but it’s time you joined the team. —​Gregory Babcock

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