For city gents who rank Paul Newman, rock and roll and bikes (motor and fixed-gear) tops on their list of favourite things, Klaxon Howl is a familiar clothing label.
Having become a staple in the wardrobe of the well-tailored man’s man, designer Matt Robinson‘s spring/summer 2014 collection dependably offers a look for every occasion, balancing casual street ensembles with tailored outfits fit for more formal settings.
In an ode to the modern greaser, model’s swaggered down the runway at World MasterCard Fashion Week, showing off looks (and attitude) that cooly channeled James Dean’s Rebel Without a Cause. With sleeves rolled up the bicep and shirts — solid and printed — tucked into high-waisted denim, Klaxon Howl‘s men ambled onto the runway, cloaked in ’50s allure.
Amongst the mix of retro-inspired vests, trousers, Hawaiian prints and a standout Rebel red jacket, were label basics including a nautical windbreaker and camo shorts.
For a line that appeals to the sort of man that isn’t as likely to frequent Fashion Week (if we’re honest), we extended invitations to exactly two such Toronto locals, Matt and Andrew McCracken, the creative duo behind the indie music industry’s preferred graphic and illustration design studio, Doublenaut. Boasting a portfolio that includes posters and T-shirts donning the names of bands such as Dinosaur Jr., City and Colour and Young Widows; original art prints, brand logos for Queen West hotspots such as Bellwoods Brewery; and a past designer collaboration with Holt Renfrew for its commemorative 175th anniversary collection, the boys of Doublenaut may not be in the fashion business, but they certainly know style. Brother Andrew’s shop, Town Moto, did after all help spark the current trend in everything motorcycle — count the number of Chippewa boots (available at the shop) on the street for proof.
Though neither sibling had ever stepped foot into the tents at David Pecaut Square until our invitation, these two tastemakers have a sense of fashion that speaks to the Klaxon Howl man. Below, Matt and Andrew McCracken share their thoughts on personal style and Robinson’s latest collection by way of FILLER’s Fashion Week questionnaire.
RATE THE IMPORTANCE OF FASHION IN YOUR LIFE. (10 BEING FOOD.)
MATT: Somewhere around 5/6. It’s not something I think about too much, but it’s nice to look good and like you know what you’re doing. From a business point of view, I create t-shirt designs for bands, brands, and other businesses. It’s important for me in that sense to know what people would like to wear, on their t-shirts and sweatshirts at least.
ANDREW: Personally fashion doesn’t have a huge importance on my life, I don’t spend any time shopping or deciding what I wear in the morning most of my clothes are standard men’s basics: jeans, t-shirts, etc. but for Town Moto, I look at a lot of different brands and lines and try and figure out what our customers might be interested in.
BASED ON WHAT YOU’VE SEEN TONIGHT, WHAT DO YOU PREDICT TO BE THE BIGGEST TREND TO HIT THE STREETS NEXT SEASON?
MATT: Maybe shirts with vintage patterns. There were a few in the show.
ANDREW: Well, from what I saw tonight I’d say it’s probably high-waisted pants on men, but it’s a hard look to pull off, so I’m not sure if it will catch on or not. Maybe for more fashionable guys.
DO YOU THINK YOU’LL INCORPORATE THIS TREND INTO YOUR OWN WAREDROBE?
MATT: I like it but I ‘m not sure I could pull it off.
ANDREW: No, definitely not. I’ve been wearing the same style of jeans for years and just wouldn’t feel comfortable in it myself.
ARE YOU MORE A TREND PERSON OR A STAPLES PERSON?
MATT: Definitely more in to staples. I try to buy clothes that will look good and last multiple seasons. Then I feel better about spending more money on higher quality items.
ANDREW: More of a staples person. The clothes I’ve worn for the last 5 years have all been more or less men’s basics: jeans, T-shirts, button ups, etc. Any new pieces I buy are usually just retakes on old classics.
WHAT IS THE MOST EXTRAVAGANT PIECE IN YOUR CLOSET AND WHAT IS THE COZIEST?
MATT: My suit would be the most extravagant, even though it wasn’t super expensive. The coziest would be any one of my many flannel shirts.
ANDREW: My Schott NYC for Barney’s Heritage Perfecto Jacket is probably my most extravagent piece, but it doesn’t really feel that way as it will probably outlive me. Coziest would be a hoody, Levi’s jean jackets and a Tough Duck vest combo I wear most days.
IF YOU COULD TAKE ONE PIECE FROM THE RUNWAY HOME WITH YOU, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
MATT: There was a jacket that I liked with 4 pockets on the front. There was a tan version and a black one, both were nice.
ANDREW: There was a waxed cotton vest that was great, as well as the white and black striped sweater.
WHAT CELEBRITY, DEAD OR ALIVE, WOULD YOU HAVE LIKED TO HAVE WATCHED THE SHOW WITH TONIGHT?
MATT: Steve McQueen perhaps. He was a cool dude with good style. I think he would have liked the clothes and the overall vibe of the show.
ANDREW: Nick Cave is someone who always looks great in whatever he’s wearing, would have liked to heard his take on the show.
WHAT SONG WOULD YOU CHOOSE AS THE RUNWAY SOUNDTRACK TO THIS COLLECTION?
MATT: Something by The Sonics or Flamin’ Groovies. Along the same lines of the actual music they played during the show. The soundtrack suited the fashion well.
ANDREW: I’ve been listening to Bad Sports a lot recently, and feel like any of their tunes would have been a good fit.
WHO IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON TO IMPRESS AT FASHION WEEK?
MATT: Probably anyone you’re hoping will buy and wear your clothing.
ANDREW: I guess anyone who can put your collection in front of your desired market. In the case of Klaxon Howl it might be certain fashion blogs, but I feel like fans of the brand will seek it out on there own.
WHAT WAS THE SINGLE ELEMENT ABOUT THIS FASHION WEEK EXPERIENCE THAT IMPRESSED YOU MOST, ON OR OFF THE RUNWAY?
MATT: I thought the Klaxon Howl show was cool and not what I expected from a fashion show. I liked the use of props on the runway, and the way the models interacted with them. The music was great as well. It was fun to watch.
ANDREW: I liked seeing the different ways the pieces looked when sitting, leaning, walking. Gave you a better idea of how they would work in the real world and not just strutting down a runway. Kudos.
Klaxon Howl Spring/Summer 2014