This week is dedicated to three brands that I believe are heading in the right direction. You might know about them already, you might not, but these companies are worth paying attention to in the year ahead. First up is the Los Angeles based, but globally produced, Industry of All Nations.
For years now the menswear scene has been suffering from a case of regional bias. While we have been focusing all of our attention on England, Italy, the U.S., Japan, and occasionally Spain and France, we also seemed to ignore some of the largest and culturally richest countries in the world. Which is why it’s was about time that a company like Industry of All Nations was created, a brand that turns our attention onto oft-overlooked regions and their respective styles. Belts and espadrilles from Argentina, sweaters from Bolivia, jeans and shirts from southeast India, loafers from Buenos Aires, sneakers from Kenya, slippers from Mexico. IOAN has adopted an approach rarely seen in modern menswear, ignoring the typical “style capitals,” focusing instead on lesser talked about countries and the products that make them unique. By going straight to the source, IOAN is able to offer products as they’ve always been, maintaining century’s old designs and localized production to keep everything as authentic as possible.
From my experience, this attitude is clearly paying off when it comes to their products. I had seen the faja belt and Portenos saddle loafers in person before, and while I was drawn to the look of them, it wasn’t until IOAN sent me a pair of their sport espadrilles that I had a chance to try their stuff out for myself. First things first, these are not some goodyear soled, thousand dollar cordovan leather dress shoes, and they certainly will not last as long. But this is part of the appeal of espadrilles, the sole is made of braided rope and will wear away and fray overtime, (the box itself even says “meant to fray”). The rope sole does have some advantages though, as it flexes, rolling off on each impact for a very comfortable feel. The shoe itself dates back to 1907, when a factory in Alpargatas, Argentina began producing them, and since that day the design and technique have all remained the same. The laces give the shoe a different look than most espadrilles, which is nice as they don’t tread into the dangerous Toms territory. Overall, the sport espadrilles have that perfect summer kick around feel, they’re breathable and simple and at only thirty-five dollars, you can afford to toss them on and let ‘em fray.