Jesen is menswear that exists between worlds – smart yet relaxed, stylish yet masculine. With more interest in the men’s fashion industry than ever before, there has been a wide gap in Australia between the casual mainstream and the androgynous avant-garde. Jesen wedges itself right in the middle. The label has made name for its fashion-forward yet unpretentious and, most importantly, wearable garments.
Jesen designer Ivan Budah says that the label tries not to take itself too seriously. “I think Jesen is definitely throwing out more of a subtle vibe than most,” he offers. “There is nothing overwhelming about the product. It has a basics core and people can relate to it. I never design something just to move units or to be a part of some clothing revolution.”
Although a street label, Jesen (pronounced “Yesen”) also neatly ties in preppy styles and shows elements of the heritage trend. “When I'm designing a range I stay true to what I have done from the start,” says Budah. “I design clothes that I would want to be wearing.”
With no formal training, Budah got his start working for a boutique in Soho, London, where he did product development for their in-house line. After returning from London “wide-eyed and motivated”, the young designer felt frustrated with the lack of opportunities in Melbourne, so he created his own.
Budah’s background in retail and product development has proved valuable, giving the designer insight into the business side of running a label and has seen Jesen – which means autumn in Croatian – adopt a price point lower than most other Australian labels.
For autumn/winter 2011 the label stays true to its basics core, concentrating on the finer detail, whether it be quality fabrics (linen and corduroy) for well-cut shirts, or subtle features, like using rope for the waist of lightweight pants. As for the inspiration behind the range, Budah says that he rarely looks to fashion trends. “If you looked at my mood board from that season, you would probably wonder how I went about translating it, or assumed that I enjoy taking acid.”