10 Apr ENGINEERED GARMENTS | Not Designed, but Engineered – Introducing Engineered Garments SS 23
Marking a first for SOTA Store, the independent retailer welcomes Engineered Garments and its Americana-inspired wonders into its arsenal for Spring/Summer ‘23. From workwear-inspired outerwear and shirting to bottoms and shorts, the offering includes styles such as the Fatigue Pant, Jungle Fatigue Jacket and Atlantic Parka which are all indicative of Engineered Garments’ distinctive image.
Since its inception in 1999, Engineered Garments has been leading the way for vintage-inspired garments that don’t look out of place in everyday instances, informed by the designer’s – Daiki Suzuki and his cohort – exposure to American culture throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s. As far as style and popular culture is concerned, the Japanese have long been enamoured and inspired by many aspects of Americana, from film, clothing and design, to name a few of many, which can be seen throughout a generation of some of Japan’s leading designers whether it be Nigo, Jun Takahashi or Daiki Suzuki.
Born in 1962, in Hirosaki, Japan, Daiki Suzuki is a veteran where the fashion industry is concerned. Growing up, Suzuki was exposed to a whole host of outdoor activities, something he would later lean on as a designer, but, his first steps in the fashion industry canbe traced back to the early 1980s when he began studying fashion at the Vantan Design Institute in Tokyo. Upon graduating, Suzuki began working in retail stores like Redwood and Union Square where he met a young Keizo Shimizu who would go on to found Nepenthes, later joined by Daiki who would head up buying for the store-turned-fashion-network. It was during these years that he would learn almost everything there is to know about operating a brand and so much more.
After working at Nepenthes for ten years and rightfully earning his stripes, Suzuki launched Engineered Garments in 1999 under the Nepenthes umbrella where it remains today, alongside the likes of Needles and South2 West8. Born out of a burning desire and a lack of access to Made in the US products, the brand was initially conceived as American-made clothing based on his inspirations and personal taste which had been tainted by decades of exposure to American culture, from TV and film to magazines like Heavy Duty. This is why the brand has comfortably stood on its own two feet for the last 2 and a half decades – it is true to itself.
“I try to choose good dynamic designs with patterns that can be modified for today’s use. Usually, I re-work the fits as lightly as possible, being careful not to reproduce vintage designs—adding some things and taking some off, balancing it out to make it look new.”
During the past 25 years, Engineered Garments hasn’t strayed from its roots, instead, it has used the time to fine-tune its creations which tend to seek inspiration from vintage workwear, military and outdoor uniforms that have been carefully sourced and studied by Suzuki and his team. With so many facets of inspiration to its name, the multi-faceted label draws on the outdoors, vintage Americana and more, offering a slew of pocket-heavy cargo pants, Woolrich plaid ensembles and nylon-constructed outerwear that mirror Suzuki’s knack for design.
Despite being widely recognised for his Engineered Garments association, serving as the Creative Director and Founder of his eponymous label, Suzuki endured a design position at Woolrich Woolen Mills between 2006 and 2010. When Suzuki picked up at Woolrich, the brand had been operating for close to 200 years and this served as ample opportunity for the brand to enter a new phase – one that was appreciated on a grander scale. During that period, he was rightfully crowned the ‘Best New Menswear Designer in America’ by GQ in 2008 – an accolade that speaks for itself. In the years since he departed Woolrich, Engineered Garments and Woolrich later collaborated with one another in 2018.
Engineered Garments SS 23 is now available online and in-store at SOTA Store – Via della Frezza 52, Rome.