The changing face of what a man can and wants to wear is paramount to the design vision of brotherly duo From Britten. Informed by new ways of dressing, Alex and Tim Britten’s forward-thinking menswear label takes its cues from a new willingness among their male counterparts to explore fashion in more creative and lateral ways.
At the core of the brothers’ missive is the dialogue between casual and formal attire, work and play. Traditionally viewed as strong separates, this fusion of dress codes allows From Britten to design contemporary garments that effortlessly sidle both worlds. Classic button-down shirts are reinvented with cuffed collars; chinos are crumpled and rolled to add extra texture; signature blazers conceal a pocket cut to the size of an iPhone; tailored shirts using chambray perfectly compliment the combination of soft and sharp.
Marrying traditional styles with trends is another key approach for From Britten. “You only have to look around you to notice a trend. It’s quite natural. You’re exposed to them in magazines, blogs, fashion shows and mostly on streets,” the boys both agree. “So it becomes a kind of feeling rather than a conscience thought.”
Sourcing fabrics mostly from Italy and manufacturing locally, the construction of each design reinforces the From Britten methodology. Established techniques of French seaming matched with modern technical fabric combinations create the balance between old and new.
Contemporary relevance is a defining sensibility in the Britten boys’ designs. “We continually reference the function and history in design, and use it as a starting point in most cases. But we wanted to keep exploring how garments interact with persons today,” Alex muses. “We subtract, add and playfully adapt the original ideas, whilst respecting the tradition of where things came from.”
The Spring Summer 11/12 collection ‘The Gardener’ references legendary impressionist artist Claude Monet. Exploring ideas of men in the garden, texture woven with colour is a distinctive feature of the range. Earthy hues of amber and dusty brown are mixed with a desaturated pastel palette of off-white, putty grey, sand, shell pink and slate. Linen and cotton fabric blends are complimented by technical shots of green, cognac and ink.
With a strong focus on quality and attention to detail, From Britten bring together a wealth of knowledge and resourcefulness. Both learnt garment construction from their mother (a couturist), Alex studied photography, Tim specialises in graphic design and together, they create a cohesive and contemporary fashion label that is all about the process.
“Why is there a collar? Why do men button left side over right? Why are there shoulder flaps on the trench? Why do we call it a blazer?” Tim asks. “We take this ‘question everything’ approach with all our designs.” Offering a fresh take on the modern man, From Britten dresses men who understand that fashion is often in the eye of the beholder.
From Britten is stocked at Comeback Kid in Melbourne.