While we continue the “anti-trend” trend comprised of wearable normcore basics and athletic wear, colourways of black/white/grey, textures, and technology-influenced ideas — as a farewell to the Year of the Horse, we’ve put on our Timbs and hunted and gathered far and wide for the best brands from the last 365 days for you.
Here are the top brands of 2014 and why they broke your bank.
1. CAV EMPT
Cav Empt, better known as C.E, proved to be way ahead of the game this year by incorporating a wide variety of colorways for a futuristic streetwear aesthetic. The Tokyo-based label’s 2014 collections consisted of heavy oddly placed graphics while still maintaining an urban appeal imprinting the pockets of so many millennial consumers. Cav Empt made sure to stay relevant not only in their collections but injecting themselves into collaborations with other brands, such as Beauty & Youth, Neighborhood, Bountyhunter, and more. Check out C.E.’s F/W 2014 video here.
KITH has housed many brands, but this year the NYC label’s very own Classic Collection showcased their refined minimalist style standing tall against a very competitive arena of sportswear giants. We love their wearability and selection, which is what landed them a cozy spot on our list! One collaboration that was exceptionally striking was their co-production with ASICS re-creating the Gel Saga and Gel Lyte 3 in black glove leather and calfskin white — two contrasting colors designers loved pairing this year. KITH is also launching their “New York Natives” collection feating Mobb Deep in the look book in late December. With such an impressive 2014 and a promising 2015 coming up, we definitely wanted to KITH and tell.
3. H&M x ALEXANDER WANG COLLECTION
Swedish retail giant H&M and NYC-based high fashion designer Alexander Wang joined forces to create a collection which people were deeply anticipating for roughly seven months. After what seemed like eons of campaign teasers, this exclusive collection sold out immediately and even crashed the H&M website. It consisted of mostly athletic wear but did not fail to include gym necessities such as duffle bags, boxing gloves, beanies, and a few other WANG branded apparel you probably missed out on.
If you can sell $800+ handbag-inspired sneakers with padlocks, then you are definitely on this list. You remember Jon Buscemi — he’s the business genius who is notorious for launching limited releases, prides himself on making products of the highest caliber, offering his luxury creations only to selected customers. Yes, the street wear connoisseur who birthed the Hermès Birkin sneaker with 18k gold details. Stockbroker-turned-designer Buscemi has managed to keep all production in Italy only using the highest-quality materials, collaborating with higher-ups to design some of the most thirst-trapping shoes, and is clearly not going anywhere. Bravo, compagno.
5. PUBLIC SCHOOL NEW YORK
There is no way the CFDA Menswear Designer(s) of the Year are not on this list. Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School New York have more trophies than Drake now. Read my other article and find out why.
6. BIANCA CHANDÔN
Son of 70’s punk skate legend Steve Olson, Alex Olson, debuted his new brand Bianca Chandôn and turned heads immediately. The A/W ’14 collection is pulled from 70’s culture and took the skate world for a spin with a Studio 54-inspired twist, which seemed to be both unusual and innovative for a skate demographic. Nevertheless, Bianca Chandôn instantly dispersed globally, now being carried in many Supreme stores and boutiques worldwide.
7. FILLING PIECES
Filling Pieces powered through 2014, picking up new fans along the way. The Dutch brand celebrated their fifth anniversary with limited release gold and silver patent leather low tops. Needless to say, this commemorative collection of triangular silhouetted footwear had many fanatics in the industry cashing out.
8. I LOVE UGLY
I Love Ugly took Los Angeles this year and was polite enough to bring a gift. The New Zealand-based brand certainly created a good impression on Angelenos by coming out with a special LA Collection of well-crafted classic American Sportswear. This year, I Love Ugly showed they can keep up with the upkeep on simple trends while still projecting their authenticity as a brand no matter the demographic.
Are you even surprised? The 20-year-old brand has paid its dues, but you can’t grandfather relevancy. From releasing the most sought-after footwear to magically turning the most mundane everyday items into the SUPREME brand canvas and quickly catching and creating trends in a blink of an eye, the New York giant is undeniably always in demand.
Somehow it feels like it is still the dawning of adidas. It would be difficult to comment on all of the amazing adidas collaborations from this year alone without accidentally writing a short novel. From Club 75 to Pharrell to Opening Ceremony, adidas not only proves to be a reliable global champion, but a transformational agent and pop culture phenomenon. But, without a doubt, the comeback of the Stan Smith was one for the books. Not only did adidas bless us with its almighty power with the option for customization, but also gave us the option to have our names embossed in the insole of a classic. Despite the lack of tennis playing it was designed for, the Stan Smith ended up being the biggest collaboration shoe of 2014.