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Oscar Calvo

Oscar Calvo’s designs allow the fashion-savvy man to distinguish himself from the pack as a trendsetter and imprint his style in any type of setting.

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Apparel magazine – Man style, June 2008, Pg. 24

OC OSCARCALVO | SPRING SUMMER 2007/08

Apparel magazine, June 2008, Pg. 24

MAN STYLE

By Cherryl Harty

What’s news in menswear?
We let Australian designers
set the scene.

Men in Australia have a unique fashion style that is built around a more casual approach, according to Collingwood based menswear designer, Oscar Calvo, who favours a European influence in many of his pieces.

Calvo has incorporated striped tees, tailored jackets with print lining, hooded jackets and sweaters in past ranges.

“We are starting to see the fashion-conscious Aussie male begin to wear sharp suits and skinny linen trousers now. Denim is also very popular as a men’s fashion item,” he says.

The number one thing to look for this season is denim in a deep, dark wash.

“Nothing is more papular than deep indigo slim jeans. Dark washes are just more popular. They are very popular and slimming. The deep saturated indigo jeans will give the appearance of longer legs, making the person wearing them
look taller,” explains Calvo.

lnternational Fashion Group’s Jothy Hughes agrees. IFG is the Sydney-based Australian distributor for denim labels including True Religion, 7 for all Mankind, Siwy, Paige Premium Denim, Rich & Skinny and 575.

“The darker-toned skinny-leg jeans in indigo have been exceptionally well received here and are selling steadily. But in the US, high waist flares and even super flares, are massive, and the trend is likely to play out here too,” Hughes predicted.

A lot of male fashion trends back to soccer star David Beckham who was “almost a brand in himself”.

Eren Mordogon of Melbourne menswear company, Monza by Eren, says Aussie males love being casual but are making more of an effort at the end of the week. “On the weekdays when a man is in a nightclub he wears his T-shirt and jeans. A little effort is put in on weekends now when he tends to wear a dressier Shirt.”

Some men prefer a more quirky, novelty approach to stand out from the crowd.  Jimmy Stuart Menswear offers a variety of shirts with embroidered motifs such as tomatoes, redback spiders and ants. Ranging in sizes up to 9XL, they appeal to males between 16 and 65.

Managing director, Jim Greneger recalls a time when he was being approached regularly by all sorts of fabric wholesalers and his competitors would frequently buy the same products. “That doesn’t happen anymore because they have all gone to China for manufacture,” he says. Observing that the China production juggernaut was like a “runaway train” he looked to offer something a bit different to his customers.

He began scourging fabrics from China and Vietnam, and started to produce quirky shirts locally, claiming they are made “somewhere on the Australian coast”.

Grenenger admits Jimmy Stuart shirts are often purchased as a ‘shock’ statement.

“The redback spider design, for instance, was requested by a DJ who had to host a concert of 35,000 people with a co-host, a woman who happened to be arachnophobic. Another customer was a 65-year-old man who said the shirt brought back memories of the time he was bitten on the backside by a redback spider in Tamworth when he was much younger,” he says.

Designers and retailers have traditionally always relied on the changing of the seasons to introduce specific clothing for warmer and cooler months.  Now it would seem that the seasons have become as fickle as fashion and this is impacting on the menswear offer in stores.

“While the scientific debate over global warming may not be entirely settled, the reality, of course, is a bit more complicated. Two consecutive years of volatile Northern Hemisphere weather have proved disastrous for companies that rely on predictable temperatures to sell cold weather clothing like sweaters and coats,” Calvo says.

“Because of unexpected swings in temperatures, lighter weight, ‘seasonless’ fabrics are preferred fabrics now to sell all year round for men and women.”

Looking ahead, Calvo says his new season’s shirts will sport golden glows while “tones of surf-inspired prints in bright floral patterns” will be available in Spring Summer 08/09.

He noted the traditional suit shape of the ‘70s had been brought to life in some S/S looks, with tight, high-waisted trousers matched with equally slim-fitting waistcoats. And there were many slim fitting separates “all over the runway” for S/S 09, in “seriously short silhouettes”, he told Apparel.

Apparel magazine – Dressing the sleek & chic, December 2007, Pg. 34 & 35

OC OSCARCALVO | SPRING/SUMMER 2007/08
Apparel magazine, December 2007,
Pg. 34 & 35

Dressing the sleek
& chic man

OSCAR CALVO WAS BORN WITH AN EYE FOR STYLE AND RECOGNISED FROM A YOUNG AGE THE CACHE THAT CERTAIN ASPIRATIONAL FASHION LABELS CONVEYED.

BY CHERYL HARTY

“I always wanted to be the best dressed, even as a kid. My mother used to buy me generic sports shoes for basketball but l acted like a spoilt child – I only ever wanted to wear brands like Nike.”

Born of Spanish parents, Calvo graduated from Kangan Batman TAFE before joining designer Barbara Wilson, where he worked in roles such as retail operations and area manager. Just over a year later, he left and assisted another colleague who had worked with him, designer Jason Grech, in sales and marketing for six months.

“l then decided, if I could do this for someone else. then l could do it for myself,” he told Apparel. That was the end of 2004 and Calvo soon came up with a locally made high-end tailored men’s streetwear range. He commenced wholesaling the range, which featured knits, hoodies, digital and graphic-printed tops, that included Calvo’s own artwork.

In March 2005 he showcased his self-tilted label at Preview S/S 05/06 in Sydney. With other emerging Melbourne designers, he took part in a Spring Fashion exhibition at Federation Square as part of MSFW 05 and in November that year, was one of 10 designers to return as a representative of the 2005 ‘End of Year Designer Showcase’ at Federation Square. There, Calvo won the ‘Designer of the Year’ audience poll.

“Oscar Calvo is targeted to the 20-40 year old male who is not afraid of stepping out, looking sleek and stylishly,” he asserted.

The label was in 25 stockists nationally, including Husk, one of 15 Melbourne outlets to pick up the brand, when Calvo opened his 25sqm flagship boutique in Johnston Street, Collingwood at the end of April.

The Oscar Calvo offer includes customised suiting, casual fun pieces, as well as footwear and accessories. In addition to the designer’s signature brand, the store also stocks menswear by Josua Andreas, Nikoroo and Boski, and womenswear labels such as Sideshow, Miss Lyndel Yeo, and Golddigger (UK). It also has Santha King shoes and Pilgrim jewellery.

“I wanted the boutique to be conceived as a specialty fashion district – a space dedicated to eye-catching and avant garde, young Australian men’s and women’s fashion. It has an eclectic mix of the past, present and future local designers,” he said.

“OSCAR CALVO IS TARGETED TO THE 20-40 YEAR OLD MALE WHO IS NOT AFRAID OF STEPPING OUT, LOOKING SLEEK AND STYLISH.”

Arguably, the store could have been located in another area that may have attracted more passers-by, but the designer feels the arty and creative ambience of Collingwood is more in keeping with his style.

“I knew l had to work on marketing and promoting the store because where it is located is more of a destination. It is what I call the ghetto of Melbourne, with Johnston Street, the Bronx. But the area is quite creative and young and that was appealing to me. 1 wanted to make a creative space with emerging labels. And knowing it was a destination spot was my major selling tool,” he explained.

At the beginning the store was going very well, and continued doing so, although it went down a bit recently, he conceded. “I am praying and hoping that all the marketing and promoting along with all the exposure of my S/S 08 collection will have an impact on pre-Christmas sales,” he said.

OC OSCARCALVO | SPRING/SUMMER 2007/08That collection, launched at the Bendigo Hotel last month, could just be the injection to spur those impulse gift sales. Revealing that the range was inspired by Madonna’s Confessions Tour, Calvo said he designed a range that would take a man from the beach to the dance floor with a never-ending party wardrobe.

Pieces included cool double-button high-end floral shirts, a slim linen blazer, skinny pants, and fine merino wool button-up V-neck tops. Subdued black, white and beige tones were heightened by splashes of vibrant colour and paisley print. Gold silk tiger shorts added further pizazz.

As one of the shrinking number of designers who manufacture in Australia, Calvo has noticed that there is more of a swing now to garments made in Australia, and regards it as one of the label’s assets. But while locally made is preferred, managing and fine-tuning costs is always an artform in itself.

When it came to the production of his S/S 08 range, Calvo said he put his head down and actually bartered with a lot of makers.

“I had a hit list of power makers and went out to a lot of them and got them to make samples. Then I took samples to other makers and told them I could get this for this price, and so on, until I finally got down to a price that was quite economically affordable to have production done in Melbourne.

“Usually I am desperate for a maker, but this time I had time up my sleeve, so I focused on a range that would be economically viable and rewarding,” he explained.

Calvo currently uses two makers – one for stretch fabrics and one for wovens. “I also have a sampler – a costumer designer who is in charge of getting the patterns 100 percent correct. She always comes up with a great cut and fit.”

Where does Calvo see himself in 5 years? “I would like to have a store in the city and also in Sydney. I think my clothing would work well there because I feel a lot of my clientele is gay.”

The designer is now direct clientele, then intends to put his efforts into wholesaling again, including exporting.

One of the labels he is looking to wholesale here is the Golddigger UK womenswear label. A new Korean retail concept store called Q Island, which seeks premium labels that can not be made in Asia, has approached the designer. And Austrade has set up a meeting with US department store Macy’s.

Calvo has also expressed interest in designing womenswear down the track. Stay tuned for the next episode of OC.

Apparel magazine – Launching Calvo in Collingwood, August 2007, Pg. 78

OC OSCARCALVO | BOUTIQUE

Apparel magazine, August 2007, Pg. 78

LAUNCHING CALVO IN COLLINGWOOD

Melbourne menswear designer, Oscar Calvo recently launched his flagship boutique in Johnston Street, Collingwood. Armed with top shelf designs to be updated regularly, the flagship store offers customized suiting, casual fun pieces as well as accessories. The range also incorporates a selection of young women’s fashions. To celebrate the opening of his store, which he describes as ‘a specialist fashion district’, Calvo threw a launch party complete with a fashion parade.

Oscar Calvo Apparel magazine – Conservative & cool replaces big & bold, August 2005, Pg. 52 & 53

OC OSCARCALVO | SUMMER 2005/06

Oscar Calvo Apparel magazine, August 2005, Pg. 52 & 53

Concervative & cool replaces big & bold

Cleaner looks are emerging in new season offers for the young urban male as chaotic patterning in streetwear is toned down and pants become narrower as part of a broader shift to a more conservative style in menswear.

BY CHERYL HARTY

Streetwear became its own category in the early 1990s through the hip-hop and dance movement and was heavily influenced through what was happening in the US and UK. In its many forms, streetwear has evolved from being a sub-category in fashion to a dominant category that is universal. Some couture as well as mainstream brands have now moved into streetwear, much of which is designed to work in with denim.

While many of the ‘extreme’ looks that had their basis in surf and skatewear are pared back in newer designs coming through, they still reflect ‘attitude’, and a sense of cool is maintained through a retro edge. One of the key looks in fashion today driving the younger male apparel segment is fitted dark suit jackets in cord or velvet, vintage tees, floral and patterned fitted shirts and knit tops matched with skinny hipster trousers, according to Melbourne menswear designer, Oscar Calvo, a one-time area manger for racewear specialist, Barbara Wilson.

Calvo, who has produced his own eponymous label now for two seasons, also cites torn pre-washed denim jeans teamed with diamond adornment and colourful “euroshoes”, printed tees, bold striped tops, pastel polos and military looks among contemporary urban looks for younger guys today.

“All of these looks have previously been niche seasonal trends, which now have been done to death by the mainstream clothing apparel market, including major budget variety stores such as Target and K Mart,” he said.

Calvo observed that colour is important both in tailored menswear and streetwear now, especially pink.

“The palette has expanded from safe blue and earth tones to hot pink and neon. Pink is easy to co-ordinate with almost every colour in your wardrobe. It goes fabulously with greys, tans, black, navies and other blue tones.”

Calvo has incorporated European fabrics with fine merino wool and cottons in his Summer 05/06 collection. Aiming for a casual glam look, key looks are combed cotton raw edged polo tops in a range of pale hues, retro-inspired cotton polo knits in technicolur nautical stripes, and quirky comic printed tees with contrasting panels. Two pant offerings in this range are the classic soft Italian woollen pant and a straight leg cotton drill pant with intricate stitching detail.

Up until now, Calvo said that fashion has always been seen to be a women’s domain but pointed out that today men are increasingly accessorising and co-ordinating. “Today men are interested in looking good. The trend can be attributed to many things, including an increase in men’s style magazines, influential male celebrities being photographed and designers catering to male customers.”

According to Austin Group’s urbanwear manager, Craig Thomas, some of the stronger trends in the current market can be broken into two parts: One is the prep or varsity look, which borrows inspiration directly from the US and UK; the second is an amalgamation of punk, combined with prep and eighties music-styled clothing.

OC OSCARCALVO | SUMMER 2005/06OC OSCARCALVO | SUMMER 2005/06

“The trend is probably more left of centre than a straight prep look, but it is far more interesting and less prone to copying, as it really relies on imagination and real interpretation by the Australian brands and labels. It is a very fast forward look, and the wearer does need a strong sense of style to pull it off. As yet, it has not hit mainstream acceptance.”

“Now couture as well as mainstream brands are releasing streetwear under their labels as it is such a strong genre in fashion.”

Designer of the Vicious Threads label, Melbourne-based Ivan Gomez, pointed out that we have entered an era where sounds and styles are being created through ‘hybridising’.

“Two strong and prominent music styles are combined together to create one – that is, rock/dance and country/R&B. The same can be said for streetwear. Now couture as well as mainstream brands are releasing streetwear under their labels as it is such a strong genre in fashion,” he said.

Thomas pointed to growing innovation in the Japanese market: “These guys influence household name designers in Europe and the USA.”

A change of style in streetwear was definitely underway, Thomas observed,with the cleaning up of lines and artwork specifically being one difference.

In some quarters, the lines between streetwear and surfwear appear to have blurred. Thomas confirmed this is the case.

“The larger surfwear labels have definitely borrowed from the street look to retain their market’s share. However if you look at their ranges in an overall context, they still maintain their surfwear identity very strongly,” he said. “At Austin, we design our range of tops especially to work back with denim. It’s a crucial part of our business and one of our strengths.”

After introducing a range of tees last Christmas, ACTbased What Joe Says’ David De Silva dabbled in online sales before picking up a number of accounts at Fashion Exposed in March.

De Silva said one of the best selling points of the short and long sleeve What Joe Says T-shirt range was that it was not made offshore.

“My retailers like the fact that the T-shirts are slim fit, made in Australia and available at a price point that they can afford to sell, and still make a decent profit on.”

The What Joe Says Summer 2006 range comprises pale pink, lemon and sky shades with khaki and chocolate.

While De Silva conceded there were points where streetwear and surfwear blurred, he said the designs he was menswear doing “are a lot different” to what a surf label would do.

“Broadly speaking, surf designs can be messy but streetwear designs can be bold without having that spray-painted abstract look. Streetwear is a lot smaller than the surf market because I think surf market designs are more for everyday whereas a lot more thought goes into streetwear, which picks up on cues in music and culture and the attitudes of the day.”

Along with a brighter colour palette, a swing to decorative stitching in menswear has also emerged. Menswear chain, Tarocash, featured embroidered and vertical stripe shirts in pastel colours and polos, denim and long sleeve knitted tops in its urban Winter 2005 range. Marketing Manager, Malcolm Davidowitz, told Apparel that pinks and mints would feature heavily in the upcoming Tarocash Summer offer and stripes and polos would remain very strong.

“Everything now is going to a much more cleaner look and slacks and other pants are becoming lot more dressier. All of our denims are moving to 19 inches, which is a narrow leg.”

Calvo forecasted that the dress code for the tailored bloke will move to a leaner, but not tight, cut.

“I think we will see shrunken single or two button tailored suit jackets with high-hip, skinny trousers and slip-on shoes in dazzling colours. Floral and patterned fitted shirts will continue to be a blast from the past.”

The smart, casual streetwear guy will adopt a more conservative approach, but with styles that clash, he said.

“You could almost say ‘eurotrash’ hits the streets. The overkill of printed raw edge tees will hopefully vanish and become a more in-tuned graphic component,” said Calvo. “Torn hipster jeans – in a pale wash – or pants that look demolished will continue to be big. Tailored fitted floral and patterned shirts will continue to mix with denim bottoms. Low-neck knits showing the bare chest and inspired nerd knits in stripes will also be a winner matched with skater sneakers in bright colors.”

 

 
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