What does an architect, a graphic designer and business entrepreneur have in common? They all struggle to find office attire that blurs the lines between business and pleasure.
With the rise of the freelancer and modern entrepreneurs comes a new menswear look that's keenly sought after. Enter Melbourne menswear designer Christian Kimber who is tapping into the new world order in his slow fashion crusade having expanded his popular shoe brand to include clothing during VAMFF this year.
The new corporate
Aimed at creatives who work on the run, Christian Kimber is pitching to those who aren't locked into the traditional 9-to-5 grind.
"It's easy to buy suits and shirts, but when it comes to casual wear that fits in the workspace, I needed to find a look that was suitable for architects and graphic designers as well as those in creative fields who want something less structured," says Kimber.
"Men are really struggling with what to wear when it comes to looking formal but still casual," he adds.
Kimber wants to bridge the gap between high end luxury fashion and high street replica and compares his aesthetic to that of brands like Acne and A.P.C.. For now, he's speed reading his way through tailored classism and blurring street style with what's actually functional.
A seasonal change
This winter, Kimber introduced shirt blazers – they're the antidote to the traditional blazer, but still loosely borrowing from its silhouette.
"The shirt blazers feel more like knitwear and our we opt for different collars for a Friday look," he says of the silhouettes shaking up traditional menswear.
Other pieces include a field jacket cut from Japanese cotton twill, inspired by a vintage M65 jacket Kimber purchased a few years ago, while unlined overcoats capture the heart of Italian tailoring with an Aussie laissez faire spirit.
"I want to represent Australia as a menswear brand and say this is how we dress," says Kimber.
"You can always identify an American look and Italian look, but people perceive Australian men as those who are sand and sea types. I think in Melbourne we're much more contemporary. We're not leisure suits and formal, we're casual with a sophisticated message. We like quality and to look like individuals, what I'm doing with the brand is saying we are casual but have our own stamp on it."
Kimber, who plans to show in Paris this year and return his business to wholesale as well as keep his retail store, says local menswear is suffering an identity crisis.
"Everyone's trying to be an amazing tailor or follow global luxury brands in streetwear," he says.
"If you're Off White with celebrity endorsement then it makes sense, but the market will become saturated soon. I'm hoping we'll see a return to functional pieces and brands like myself will experience a resurgence. For now we'll have to wait until menswear returns to being more authentic than it is right now."