Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Check out my latest article for SHARP Magazine in the "Brands You Should Know" series! You can read it on their site here, or below! 
In our ongoing quest to improve mankind, sometimes we come across certain brands that deserve more attention. In Brands You Should Know we provide short profiles of designers, products and people that make the world a sharper place.

There is an ongoing myth in this industry that fashion does not equate with function. For years, sartorial enthusiasts have been relegated to the restrictions and limitations of a nonexistent law ruling that one need be uncomfortable in order to look good. We, and the folks over at OAK +FORT, would like to put that rumor to rest. In fact, comfort is the very foundation that the Edmonton-born brand sits upon.  The fledgling company, with its Gastown (Vancouver) and Whyte Avenue (Edmonton) locations, uses comfort and style as mantras in its overall brand philosophy.

“When men are comfortable in their attire, it radiates confidence, and when you showcase confidence, people feed off that energy,” says Amaly Narong, OAK+FORT’s brand representative. We couldn’t agree more. As men, comfort is a factor that we place on a pedestal high above others in order to get through the day. With a design aesthetic comparable to that of Alexander Wang or perhaps a very laissez-faire, distant cousin of Calvin Klein, OAK+FORT’s offerings speak large volumes about the brand, itself. 

Chic minimalism, classic lines, and trendless pieces are the remaining pillars that help to lift the company above others. However, these values and principles are ones that also extend past the brand’s physical offerings in order to create a vision, like any proper lifestyle brand. Waltzing into their Whyte Avenue location, one cannot help but notice that the minimalistic qualities found in the company’s apparel are also present throughout the entire store – evidence of a brand that knows exactly what it’s doing and who it caters to
Min Kang is the owner and head of the OAK+FORT brand. Drawing inspiration from the far east, she has established a collaborative partnership with designers in South Korea in order to “create designs that are classic, provoke thought, and compel innovation.” The end result is an exclusive set of garments that possess a distinctive silhouette for a man who places comfort and style above all else. However, sartorialists need not worry if they think OAK+FORT’s relaxed style correlates with a sloppy aesthetic. Fit, above all else, is the key to a great look, and the people over at this brand understand this concept well. “It’s possible to play with proportion and still have a proper fit,” says Narong. “Try a relaxed fit that isn’t sloppy, but instead, flows gracefully off the body. The garment should still have a distinct silhouette and cut to it.” 
While their men’s collection is, at present, small, plans to expand and diversify the company’s offerings for us gents are in full motion and set to make an appearance come spring/summer of next year. We always preferred quality over quantity anway, and if OAK+FORT’s limited offerings mean a strong and consistent set in the future, than that’s fine by us. Overall, the company hopes to “create classic garments that insinuate, instead of thrive, on trends.” They strive to create pieces that go beyond the cyclical patterns of fashion, and remain as staples a man can rely on. It’s an affordable type of luxury that won’t make you feel guilty when you roll around on sandy beaches or fall asleep underneath the gaze of a warm, mid-afternoon sun. These clothes, after all, are clothes that are meant to be lived in.

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