Mark McNairy's New Amsterdam label is really known for its shoes, all of them lovingly made in Northampton, but it's the clothing division of his preppy-gone-crazy label that he's really attracting attention with. As this exclusive Dazed Digital preview of his S/S13 collection shows, the reason for all the commotion is McNairy's use of traditional garments in an unconventional context. The polka dot button-down shirts and quilted Bermuda shorts are both examples of this. The New Yorker, who also designs Woolrich Woolen Mills, is using rapper Danny Brown to showcase his colourful and characteristic wardrobe solution for S/S13. McNairy favourites such as camouflage and T-shirt slogans all feature throughout, mixed in with elements of formal tailoring. Just how you want your McNastys to look...
Formal tailoring has stuck around for a reason. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but if you don’t have fun then you shouldn’t be fuckin’ doing it
Dazed Digital: How did you hook up with rapper Danny Brown?
Mark McNairy: I expressed my fandom over twitter. He did the same. I wondered out loud if he might want to model for the lookbook. We reached out, and lo and behold I got to hang out with one of my favorite rappers. Isn’t technology amazing? We learned a lot from each other and feel like we’re in similar positions with doing what we feel is right and not following what’s already been done or already proven to sell. In other words, fuck a radio song.
DD: Tell me about the S/S13 slogans ('Jungle Boogie' and 'Hollywod Swinging') - where did they come from?
Mark McNairy: I like old funk and soul, so I put that into my clothing. There’s also some Bruce Springsteen-inspired stuff in the collection.
DD: You keep coming back to camouflage - is it the most superior type of graphic design?
Mark McNairy: Not superior, but up there. I consider it a classic feature of American menswear. Camo, leopard print, and zebra stripes have been around forever. Just because they’re trendy now doesn’t mean they’re new or will go away anytime soon.
DD: What kind of camo is your favourite?
Mark McNairy: Me not know, but James [Harris, from BPMW] showed me some underwater spear fishing camo I need to look into.
DD: There's still a strong element of tailoring to this collection - do you like the contrast between the Playful and the formal?
Mark McNairy: Of course. With my other collections I have to stay within a specific framework. This is the line that allows me to have fun and design what I would want to have in my closet. Formal tailoring has stuck around for a reason. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but if you don’t have fun then you shouldn’t be fuckin’ doing it.
DD: Do you have a favourite piece in the collection?
Mark McNairy: No. But pretty sure the lavender seersucker suit and shorts is what you’re talking about with combining playful and formal. Or the underwear. The underwear is my favorite.
DD: Tell me about the S/S13 collection for Woolrich Woolen Mills...
Mark McNairy: It's about using wool pattern from the Woolrich archive and turnimg them into cotton garments. The collection is themed around arctic meltdown, I was inspired by arctic explorers in all white outfits - so I did snowflake prints instead of polka dots!
DD: How do you distinguish between Woolrich and New Amsterdam when you design?
Mark McNairy: Woolrich is all about being true to the heritage, but I can do whatever I want with my label, doesn't have to make sense or have a story. It's more about humour and playing around. It's fun but never funny, if you know what I mean...
New Amsterdam's S/S13 collection premieres at Capsule in Paris from June 29th, 2012. Woolrich Woolen Mills can be bought at the new Woolrich store in London: 81 Brewer St, London W1B, United Kingdom