We Stand on Guard for Thee: An Ode to Canadian Menswear
Happy Birthday, Canada! 2017 will mark our country’s 150th anniversary, and it’s looking better than ever. We thought we’d get the party started early and gathered some of our favourite homegrown brands that embody the essence of thoughtful design and artistry. From handcrafted spirits, to beautiful home furnishings, to wearable works of art, never have there been so many excuses to celebrate exceptional Canadian talent.
Spotlighting Canadian-made products that feature handwork done entirely in-house, the collections of Ken Chow’s KRANE may veer to modern industrial design, but they find their roots in recalling vintage uniforms. Chow’s interest in militarist aesthetic can actually be traced to his youthful days in Canada as a Chinese immigrant, where he would enter Remembrance Day poster design contests. As such, it remains a recurring theme in his work. In KRANE’s double breasted Ayling peacoat (stitched from olive 100% wool upcycled blanket), the look is at its most refined. $880
Now in their third generation of handcrafting sturdy footwear, the Viberg family may continue to call Canada home, but for over 80 years, their company’s work boots have earned them a reputation for high quality the world over. And with founder Ed Viberg’s son Glen still personally tending to every pair sent out from the factory floor through the shipping door, how could you expect anything less? Viberg’s suede Chelsea model is no different. The pair underlines a unisex style that dates back to the mid-1800s but became a staple symbol of Britain’s mod scene in the 1950s and 60s. Distinguished by their elastic side panel, Viberg’s version highlights a wholecut upper and a custom 2050 last, also drawing inspiration from traditional Argentinian riding boots. $955
Respect the details. Master simplicity. These are the guiding principles of one of our favourite brands, Vancouver’s Reigning Champ, which specializes in premium athletic lifestyle wear. Crafting year-round staples since 2007, Reigning Champ’s method of developing signature fabrics and then emphasizing rugged construction with unparalleled comfort is a particular 1-2 punch. A big knockout this season is their Gym Logo Crewneck, which was handcrafted in Canada in midweight terry. A vintage-esque logo with signature stitching lend an added authenticity, while flatlocked seams mean extra comfort. $140
KOTN creates clothes for what they deem to be ‘ordinary moments’. And by reimagining your everyday essentials in Egyptian cotton — grown only in the Nile Delta, where the river splits and meets the Mediterranean — the Toronto-based collective forges basics which they’re confident you will wear for a lifetime. Or at least when you’re lounging out, which is the case with their galabeya-inspired pyjama set. Sewn from crisp cotton poplin, the set’s cotton fibres are twice the fineness and length of normal cotton, which is about 20 percent the diameter of a strand of human hair. As an added note, KOTN’s commitment to their product goes way above and beyond the finished product. The brand personally supplies twenty Nile Delta cotton farms with the seeds, fertilizer, agriculture consultants, and further essentials they require to thrive. All the more reason to feel good wearing this homegrown brand. $98 for a set
Coup de Tête
Zeroing in on exceptional handmade pieces designed entirely in-house and made to last ages, bespoke house Coup de Tête merges the talents of west coast hatter Jay Mitchell and Toronto leatherworker Ryan Tavares. What the duo combine to create is a series of small annual collections that utilize only full-grain vegetable-tanned leather, distinct by their custom dye colours, rawhide edge cuts and hand-stitched patterns. The brand likes to joke that their pieces will age better than their owners… and they may not be wrong!