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It’s something you don’t get instantly. In the fifth-floor Highline loft, organized madness ensues as models, slouch in ’70s-inspired sofas on thick-knit rugs, throw popcorn at each other and pass around a couple of cigarettes.
The space for Highland’s first presentation is littered with sports trophies, lava lamps and the right-hand wall is covered with pegs from an indoor rock climbing wall, as high-voltage music blasts and a video of rock climbers is projected onto the left corner walls.
“Our inspiration for this collection was of group of California rock climber in 1970s called the Masters of Stone, who were sort of pioneers, trail blazers — they’re bad ass personified,” said Cramer Tolboe, a collaborator of Highland, along with Lizzie Owens and Mike Franks.
And suddenly it clicks. This collection is not something that is obvious menswear fashion, but that is what makes it art: classic fall-weather clothing with a twist that induces thought.
“The three of us grew up in Utah, so we have an outdoor-inspired aesthetic mixed with a wanting to be in the city culture,” Franks said.
And it is this outdoorsy element that allows the fall collection to succeed with a bold yet restrained elegance that would make any man look sharp.
The team’s background has allowed Highland to become masters of the men’s jacket. All examples on display are well tailored in an array of different colors that look cozy yet fashion-forward.
One stand out shows mauve pants with a marbled lavender rib-knit sweater topped off with a beautiful maroon-rooibos jacket. The daring ensemble would be perfect for an adventurous man’s hiking trip on a crisp fall day in the Appalachian Trail.
A second look exhibits expert design has the model sporting a black patterned bandana, a black quilted shiny bomber jacket, a faded chalk shirt, a Highland logo tee and a gray cargo pants. With this cool outfit, Highland shows that fashionable layering can be successfully pulled off.
Headwear is also sprinkled throughout the collection with the models wearing beanies, oatmeal baseball caps, bandanas and even thin headbands. Highland is able to make the female hipster signature into a men’s accessory that was edgy and refreshing.
Highland displays clean, inspired patterned pants from refined dark blue marbled herringbone pants to the rock climber’s essential mountain pants in chalk and even a few risky ikat pants that pays off.
While some of the styling was a little off in the collection, as some looks are a little too basic and drifted into the American Apparel catalogue territory, overall Highland gives brilliant modern menswear that offers an artistic compromise for the man who wants to stay fashionable yet warm and comfortable.
Maximilíano Durón is an editor-at-large. Email him at email@example.com.