DESIGNER Q&A WITH ROBERT BARAKETT

‘Casual Chic’ making its mark this fall in men’s fashion

According to Montreal-based designer and successful men’s sportswear brand founder Robert Barakett, the focus for men’s fashion this fall will be on more casual contemporary styles that feature a fresh new take on classic vintage looks.

Barakett has proven to have a keen eye when it comes to identifying and adapting to the latest trends in men’s fashion. He created his brand 22 years ago to fill a void in the men’s fashion market launching the first Robert Barakett high-end sportswear collection in 1996 at the Designers' Collective in New York. “There was a void in the market with the notion of casual Fridays where all the big brands that were known for suits didn’t have much of a high-end sportswear component,” he explained. “Basically a guy was wearing high-end suits from Monday to Thursday and Friday he had nothing but a very basic polo and chinos. So there was an opening in the market for a brand that wanted to offer premium quality sportswear.”

 

 

From its inception, the collection has offered premium quality styles noted for their luxurious fabrics, subtle detailing and sophisticated color hues.

Over the years, Barakett has developed relationships with some of the world's best weavers and knitters, and works with them to create exclusive constructions and finishes that have become hallmarks of the collection. His passion for luxury fabrics has earned the collection a reputation for refined quality.

We caught up with the designer during a recent photo shoot in Montreal for his upcoming fall collection to go over his thoughts on his latest line and the men’s fashion trends for 2018-19.

 

 

 

 

What are you seeing as the trend for men’s fashion this coming year?

“Consumers are acquiring more and more a contemporary taste and style that is more youthful, much more casual and vintage-looking. This is a trend that’s being embraced by more and more people every season. To meet these trends we’re always pushing to produce a collection that embodies the desire of dressing casual, but with an elevated look and uncompromised quality with finishing touches that give it a modern contemporary feel.”

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What are your goals for your fall 2018 collection?

“Always trying to find new fabric. Always want everything you put in the line to have the potential to become your customers’ favorite piece. Choosing the right colors with fabric that feels fantastic, design details that are not too crazy and that respect the brand DNA.”

What type of man are you designing for?

“He’s reasonably affluent to pay for a premium product, confident and discerning he’s able to recognize the value of the product for himself, it’s not the ad that will sway him or the billboard or whatever, he can see it for himself. He knows he’ll look good and feel good and that’s more important to him than being noticed two blocks away.”

 

Who are your influences?

“Armani for his simple styles and second to none fabrics and subtle coloration and designs.”

What’s your favorite part of the business?

“I love the whole design process. I realize I’m not looking for a cure for cancer but I like looking at fabric swatches, choosing colors, designing the fabric and the garment. I get a kick out of seeing something I’ve put into work come together. Then a few months later you get a sample back and sometimes it’s not what you expect, sometimes it is and sometimes it exceeds your expectations.”

Are you living a dream?

“Yes absolutely. I realize now how very lucky I am that I stumbled on it. It was a total fluke. I visited a Concordia University’s classmate’s family clothing manufacturing business while I was studying at the time in finance and it opened my eyes to a whole new world. That one glimpse changed everything. I wouldn’t have known or gone in this direction at all. Seeing the whole garment fabrication process from the raw materials to the finished product really interested me. I was drawn by the esthetics, the hand feel, everything about the industry just resonated with me.”

What did your family think at the time going from finance to fashion?

“They thought I was crazy. Anybody who was in the garment industry said the last thing you want to do is get into the garment industry. It’s a tough business but fortunately it’s worked out for me.”

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