Brooksfield makes manstyle affordable

Brooksfield makes manstyle affordable

Brooksfield are one of those quiet but stylish players on the Australian menswear high street. The brand has been slowly expanding its bricks and mortar and e-tail operations with new stores, and an e-commerce launch all taking place over the past couple of months.

Local high street options for men in Australia are as limited, if not more, than the offerings of designer brands. Within this very small market, Brooksfield stand apart thanks to a focus on clothes that are created more with the everyday life of a guy that wants to look good in an intellectual way, not grind up against barely clothed girls on a pulsating dance floor, in mind.

The brand has a philosophy of accessibility and quality as well as strong design, and in keeping with this, they cast only 'real men', not models, in their campaigns. We spoke with the brand's creative director Sarah Shand to find out more.

Can you tell us a bit about your upcoming collection?

Winter `11 for Brooksfield is an eclectic mix of traditional menswear pieces with a new twist. For example take a military coat and make it into a modern urban military inspired jacket that is slick and flattering. Old men's cardigans are made contemporary again by using progressive yarns and are cut on slim blocks with interesting trims - now worn with shirts and ties to give a new twist. Traditional men's duffle coats are back. Tweed, fleck and Fair Isle knitwear is now fashionable and not just worn in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Blazers are deconstructed, becoming shorter and slimmer. Plaid shirts are now not just in flannel but slim, modern and urban.

Is it difficult designing for men, as a woman?

No not at all.  I believe designing for men I can be much more objective. It stops it becoming personal and all about what I would like to wear or like.  I can look at it from an arms length so to speak and stay focused on the customer and his needs.
What informed the decision to cast 'real people' rather than models in your latest look book?
Brooksfield is about clothes for real people so what better way to show it than on real people?  I am inspired by guys on the street and their individuality and personalities that show through in the way they dress and put things together so I wanted that individuality and personal style to be somehow reflected in the catalogue. A touch of what's really real. Plus at the end of the day we dress guys with all types of body shapes so again if I could show that on real people it would reinforce the fact that our clothes are not pretentious and are just real clothes that anyone could wear.

Colour is having a big renaissance in menswear lately, how can guys incorporate more bright shades into their winter wardrobes?
The obvious answer for the unadventurous is through accessories such as scarves, socks or coloured belts but if you want to be bolder go for colour in plain knitwear crews or v necks. A more subtle approach can be taken through yarn dye shirting. 

What are some other important trends for men to be aware of at the moment?
Coloured chinos are the new jean! Slim silhouettes are still strong with this reflected in the all important unstructured blazer.  Slim, neat and short. Military is everywhere in shirting and outwear predominantly. Knitwear is a key trend too with the cardigan still being an essential fashion piece whether it's fine gauge or a chunky shawl neck collared style with wooden toggles or leather buttons - this last style reflects the importance of the heritage influence which also includes the duffle coat and waxed and oiled traditional Barbour style jackets.
We are seeing a bit of nautical around which will be a strong trend for next summer but still applicable for this winter as well.
Do Australian men have a distinct approach to fashion?
 As a generalisation men in this country are less interested as a whole in fashion than in a lot of other countries. It is more of a necessity than a desire to shop, search out interesting new clothes and ultimately look good - it seems to be somewhere lower down the list of essentials in life! But saying, since I`ve been designing menswear here (a few years now!) there has been a shift in mindset and a greater interest in what men want to wear.
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