It’s often said that good things come in small packages. That much is certainly true where Britain is concerned, particularly when it comes to menswear.
This tiny island in the North Atlantic is responsible for some of the most iconic designs, influential designers and legendary brands of all time. It’s been setting menswear’s standards for centuries and continues to churn out its signature brand of time-honoured traditional garb to this day.
But it’s not all trench coats, top hats and tailoring.
Today, the UK is as much of a menswear powerhouse as ever. The big heritage brands are still going strong, but there’s a steady stream of new up-and-comers ready to carry the torch and keep leading Britain in the right direction.
Below you’ll find a handpicked selection of Ape’s favourite rising British brands, along with the reasons they’re worth adding to your rotation.
Best For: Smart Casual Pieces
L’estrange London is all about empowering me to do more with less where their wardrobes are concerned. It offers a tightly curated selection of high-quality garments designed to work together in a cohesive way, covering all occasions and eventualities.
The piece that started it all is The Hood: an upscale take on the humble hoodie that incorporates tailored elements to achieve an elevated look that works with anything from joggers to tailored pants.
Best For: Minimal Sneakers
Artisan Lab is another label on a mission to make luxury sneakers more accessible. The brand’s beautiful shoes are handmade in Italy, just the same as the likes of Common Projects, but are available within a much more palatable price bracket.
The best bit is that Artisan Lab makes its shoes to order and production is ramped up on the styles that sell well so that they’re available in stock most of the time. This means the brand is extremely sustainable while giving customers exactly what they want.
Best For: Athleisure
Monnerville probably isn’t a label you’ve come across before and that’s because it’s only just launched. Familiarise yourself with the name though, because this is a brand you’re likely to see a lot more of going forwards. Monnerville is dedicated to producing premium sportswear that blends performance with style. It’s a modern athleisure brand that’s committed to quality, with production taking place right here in London.
At the moment, the Urban Jersey is the only product on offer, but with a flattering fit, luxurious hand-feel and premium looks it’s more than enough to keep you going until the rest of the range drops. Watch this space.
Best For: Sophisticated Luggage
Britain has a long history of producing fine leather goods and Carl Friedrik is the latest in a long line of esteemed brands to take up the mantle. The label mixes tradition with modernity, using time-honoured techniques to achieve its sleek, contemporary designs.
From bags to wallets, everything is unapologetically modern, while at the same time being unmistakably rooted in British leather-working tradition. Check out the Palissy Weekend Bag for an idea of what the brand does best.
Form & Thread
Best For: Timeless Pieces
Modelled on the principle of slow fashion, Form & Thread creates timeless, versatile pieces that transcend trends and are built to last. In doing this, the brand hopes to encourage people to spend less on throwaway fashion and invest in garments that will go further.
Everything in the range is clean and understated, with a big focus on high-quality production and premium materials. Because of this, it’s possible to build a fully cohesive capsule wardrobe from the pieces on offer, or just mix the odd bit in with your pre-existing rotation.
Best For: Year-Round Linen
London-based brand Flax set out on a mission to challenge people’s perception about how and where linen could be worn. It led its co-founders, George and Callum, to Northern Ireland, a country renowned for its linen production, where they quickly realised the potential of this wonder material.
The result of their research is a range that marries all the benefits of linen – charm, breathability, sustainability – with timeless designs that can be worn year-round. Heavyweight linen shirts and worker jackets prove that linen is no longer for summer only, while the quality of construction will ensure each piece is still playing a role in your wardrobe in 10 years’ time.
Best For: Sustainable Clothing
Founded by menswear industry veteran Nick Reed, Neem is a brand designed as ‘an antidote to fast fashion’. It achieves this by producing high-quality garments, offering transparency to its customers, using recycled materials and ensuring all of its products are built to stand the test of time.
The range consists of simple, easy-to-wear pieces in subtle, neutral shades that work well together and we’re particularly fond of the four-pocket flannel overshirts.
Best For: Classics With A Twist
East London’s Percival has been simmering away for several years now, with a cult following in the United Kingdom. The brand reimagines classic menswear pieces using unique colours, textures and motifs, resulting in an eclectic range of eye-catching pieces that blend classic and modern to wondrous effect.
If you’re new to the brand, we’d suggest starting by browsing the label’s outerwear collection, which includes favourites like four-pocket workshirts and wool overcoats, reimagined in offbeat colours and patterns with modern cuts and details.
Best For: Rugged Overshirts
Wax London is a brand with a mission: to bring manufacturing back to the UK. Because of this, all of Wax’s garments are made right here in England, including everything from shirts and sweats to knitwear and jackets.
The Whiting overshirt is the label’s hero piece and a firm favourite here at Ape HQ. It’s available in a range of colours, patterns and fabrics, but all variations boast the same high quality, relaxed fit and versatility.
Best For: Handmade Sneakers
High-end minimalist leather sneakers have cemented their reputation as shoe-rack staples over the last two decades, but they can be wallet-drainingly expensive. That’s why we’re big fans of Uniform Standard – a British footwear label that uses a direct-to-consumer approach to ensure customers can get the same high-quality and thoughtful design that’s available elsewhere, but at prices that make the prospect financially feasible.
Expect beautiful Italian leather uppers, but also expect plenty of recycled materials too.
Stubble & Co.
Best For: Hardy Bags
Making super-functional, highly stylish and durable luggage is what Stubble & Co. does best. This British brand makes bags that look right at home in urban environments, but that won’t let you down when you need to venture off the beaten track and into the wilderness.
Best For: Modern Eyewear
Given its notoriously cloudy nature, it may surprise you to learn that Britain is now home to one of the coolest up-and-coming sunglasses brands around. Oscar Deen creates stylish eyewear that draws inspiration from classic frame designs, refining, modernising and tweaking to create something fresh.
The glasses themselves are made in Italy, while the stunning leather carry cases that accompany each pair are handcrafted in London.