Tung Vo, Creative Director for Vancouver-based wings+horns, talks to Classfare about the natural inspiration and technical execution behind their Spring/Summer 2016 collection, which is available in stores now.
If you’re anything like us, finding a new piece for your closet doesn’t hinge on anyone reinventing the wheel. Rather, whether you’re searching to fill a hole in your closet (or appeasing the burning hole in your pocket), you’re looking for something new and fresh, yet timeless and functional. Nobody wants same old (except for this guy). But very few of us want something weird that we can’t relate to (though we’re quite happy for you adventurous souls). It’s a pretty tall order, really.
Thankfully, there are a few brands that are able to do just that year after year. wings+horns is the example du jour. The Canadian-based clothier has been developing tailored basics with a unique streetwear sensibility (think luxe fabrics, flattering cuts, and neutral colours) ever since their launch back in 2004. And Spring/Summer 2016 is no different.
We chatted with wings+horns Creative Director Tung Vo to learn about the ingredients and the inspiration behind the brand’s newest collection.
“wings+horns grew out of the desire to make the best cut and sew fleece and knit products,” Mr. Vo explains. “It was known for making great sweatshirts and hoodies in materials like tiger fleece and 500 gram heavyweight terry. We’ve expanded far beyond that, but the desire is still true today. Our design mandate is that it’s all about the ingredients. Use unique, custom fabrics and build them in a way that’s robust and high quality. Let the product shine through those aspects, rather than going too crazy with the design of the piece itself.”
These products certainly speak for themselves. While beautiful on the hangers in our studio, they truly shine when worn. Four unique body types tried on a number of products from the collection, and no one wanted to take them off. The flattering silhouettes are easy to wear, democratic in fit, and elevated with a luxe hand feel, thanks to the high quality textiles used in every piece.
Season after season, wings+horns finds and manipulates unique materials into new weaves and blends in a way that’s fresh but still tasteful and wearable. For their Spring/Summer 2016 collection, Vo and his team selected and developed their products exclusively from natural fibers. “The Fall ‘15 collection was inspired by space exploration and was very techy in that sense. This season, we’re trying to veer away from being too literal. So for Spring ‘16, it’s about nature. It’s about the comfort and nuance of natural fibers.”
That means traditional materials like cotton, wool, silk, and linen are blended with more unique fabrics like silk jersey, vented terry, knit linen, and even a custom honeycomb Japanese mesh. And the color palette gives a nod to mother nature with hues of clay, sand, charcoal, and various gray melanges. And of course, black. This is wings+horns after all.
“We do contemporary menswear, but its masculinity is innate in the product. There’s always a certain level of ruggedness and grittiness. The materials are always seasonal and built for the environment. Spring is lighter weight than Fall, but everything is always robust and durable. We don’t mess with fragile or flimsy fabrics.”
The result is a collection of products made in Canada of mostly Japanese textiles with an attention to detail that more than justifies their price point. And when we say “attention to detail”, we don’t mean unnecessary flair. Rather, an attention to those considered design decisions that make each product more functional, wearable, and beautiful.
“When it comes to the details, it’s about executing them in a way that is unique, but unassuming,” says Tung. “For instance, this season we have a lightweight water-resistant cotton mac coat with a slim fit and articulated arms. But with more tailored menswear, there often isn’t a lot of movement. You reach out for your steering wheel and it’s too tight in the shoulder. So we added an underarm gusset for movement and mobility. It’s a small detail that goes a long way for providing comfort. We’re also using a convoy cotton this spring. There’s no finish on it. It’s just tightly woven in a way that makes it fully water repellant.”
Another great example of such attention to detail is the jacket’s dual entry pockets on the hip (a Classfare-favorite detail that is obviously useful yet absent on many a jacket). “It has a flap to protect items inside from the elements,” Vo explains. “But a separate entry is available on the side for your hands. It’s difficult to achieve from a patternmaking and sewing standpoint, but it’s both discreet and useful.”
Beyond the beautiful fabrics and considered design is a collection — and an entire brand — that is intentionally and beautifully unspecific. You won’t find logos anywhere other than the tags. It is sophisticated but in no way precious. It is apparel made for the man who appreciates quality, detail, and function, but is looking for something more unique and refined than the run-of-the-mill chore coat. If you’re in pursuit of classic yet wholly interesting pieces that will last for the long haul — and that play well with almost any wardrobe — wings+horns is it.
SS1 of 2016 is available in stores now. SS2 will be hitting shelves throughout the month of March. Shop our favorites in the Classfare shop and browse the full collection online at wingsandhorns.com.