For this instalment of The Principles, we speak to the founding designers of an Australian label built on simplicity. Assembly Label favours classicism, longevity and brings minimalist philosophy into the every day.
Broadsheet: What is minimalist dressing?
Damien Horan: It’s an intrinsic nod to quality, functionality and purpose, while doing away with complexity and unnecessary embellishments. It’s also comfortable and versatile. Minimalist dressing is essentially any simplified look to suit varying (or all) occasions.
Daniel Oliver: For me it’s about building a small wardrobe with quality classics that you’ll feel comfortable in and will last. It’s also built around solid, neutral colours (where each item can match), which is ideal for men as it means you can create a wardrobe that only needs to be washed once a week.
BS: Why should men consider minimalist dressing?
DH: Minimalist dressing suits those who value practicality and convenience – knowing everything in your wardrobe works together, day in and day out, while minimising time and effort. It’s also about being timeless. And it means you don’t have to buy into ever-changing fashion trends.
BS: What are the essentials to creating a minimalist wardrobe?
DO: One pair of jeans
Go for a colour you really like. Indigo is always really versatile and a stonewash colour in a relaxed fit generally suits any occasion.
DO: One or two pairs of fixed-waist pants
A standard slim fit (but not tight) is best for the every day. Also try and go with a darker colour, such as black or navy, for dressier occasions. If you’re an office kind of guy, you may need a few pairs of pants to make the seven-day wash cycle.
DO: A pair of elastic-waist pants
You will live in these at home, though probably start to wear them everywhere.
DO: A pair of boardies
I personally go for the kind with an elastic waist and pockets so I can surf or swim in them, but also just cruise around. A dark colour is the most versatile choice.
DO: A crew-neck sweater
If you’re only going to buy one sweater, go grey. It goes with everything. With this particular style you can choose plain (without branding) or printed, depending on what you prefer. I have two of the same sweaters in a grey marle colour so if one’s in the wash, I wear the other.
DO: A crew wool knit
[Assembly has an] oversized olive knit [that] is great for when it’s a little cooler. Woven from a soft wool and acrylic blend, it can be easily layered underneath jackets.
DO: A mid-weight jacket
Our Form Jacket is like a modern version of your classic parka. It looks great over a tee, or you can layer knits or fleece underneath during the cooler seasons.
DO: Three to four shirts
You need one linen (white is a must-have), one denim or chambray, one poplin shirt (which can double as a work shirt or a wedding shirt) and maybe a stripe. If you’re a plain shirt kind of guy, simply opt for another linen shirt in a different colour. If you work in an office, just buy two of each to get you through the week. Linen is always good as you can wear it to work and on the weekends as well.
DO: A handful of tees
Our Standard Tee is made from a mid-weight jersey material that’s pigment dyed so it does not shrink. They’re great, hard-wearing tees that will last years of everyday wear. Plus, they come in a wide range of colours – black, white and grey.
BS: How does minimalism extend beyond the wardrobe?
DH: The minimalist philosophy can be applied to the way we live as well as the many ways we express ourselves. Within the home or office, a “less is more” approach maximises space and productivity and creates a relaxing environment. A well-made chopping board, some simple ceramics or a nice set of monochromatic linen can smarten up any space.
DO: It’s about buying good-quality items that will last. And I believe it’s not simply about collecting “things”. Consider every purchase as an investment, make sure it’s high quality, but equally important, make sure you really like it! If you actually like your items, you’re more likely to care for them and they will last much longer.
BS: What are your favourite minimalist labels and how can we incorporate them into our lives?
Both: Outside of Assembly Label clothing, we look to Springcourt, and Moscot Eyewear (a good pair of sunnies go a long way to transform a look). Beautifully designed ceramics are a great investment for the home. We look to Hasami and Kim Wallace for that.
This article was updated on February 20, 2019.