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Engineered Garments, After the Gold Rush

Engineered Garments is in a tough spot.

Circa 2007, they were one of the coolest brands there was—a playful riff on the workwear obsession that was only beginning to show its teeth—but as the flood of Barbours and Red Wings gave way to Isaia and double-monks, Daiki Suzuki’s brand of well-tailored woodsiness hasn’t been quite as much in demand.

So how does one of the best designers in the business respond to a sea change? Let’s just say it gets interesting...

One answer is, things get a lot busier. The latest lookbook is full of plaids, patterns and classic prints like Fair Isle. If it weren’t for the slouchy silhouette, the gray checked suit above wouldn’t look too out of place at Pitti Uomo. Same goes for the intricate plaid button-downs. Throw in a few well-pouffed pocket squares, and you’ve got a pretty good middle ground between Tokyo’s Americana and the Milanese dandyism of today.

The impressive thing is that, for the most part, all the tricks still work. We aren’t ready to cosign the bucket hats just yet (give us time), but the plaid wool ties and snap-up ponchos are both unexpected and easy to pull off—even if you’re pairing them with a Boglioli DB. If anything, they look better with a little less trend behind them.

Park Service trapwear, anyone?