The past year has been an exhausting one for all walks of life, and the financial crisis really calls for attention to the modern culture’s penchant for material excess. To that effect, many came out with a new found sentiment and appreciation for things that last both in terms of style and quality. Designer Kai D. (also veteran of Nautica and Liz Clairborne) brings the same sentiment to his eponymous label that is not only born and created in New York, but also produced in New York.
With an unyielding perseverance for meticulous quality and details, Kai D. produces extremely well crafted clothes of great utilitarian value that can only be described as produced by artisans, for artisans. For the label’s second collection due to release for Spring/Summer 2010, the designer thinks globally and act locally by bringing production back to New York City. With most pieces created directly out from the Garment District, the new collection is inspired by the other side of town– the Lower East Side.
Looking back on the history of the neighborhood and lives of the working class, the collection takes design cues from the immigrant workers of the mid 20th century while putting a chic, modern spin on those traditional workwear pieces.
Check light fitted linen jackets with a nonchalant crinkle and contrasting stitch details; classic slim-fit white button downs and plaid shirts with interesting pockets; easy to wear blues in forms of vests; comfortably fitted trousers with suspenders and selvedge denim with fabric sourced from Japan. While all pieces within the collection feature a light color and earthy color palette that is always relevant and easy to work with existing wardrobe items, the beauty of this collection lies in Kai D.’s eye for details. Piping and trimming on some items are vintage and limited in quanitity, thus some pieces have an extremely low run in numbers. Take note of thoughtful inside pockets, longer shirt backs for those who bike around town and additional panel on the sides at the hem.
While the Spring/Summer 2010 collection is only up for visual enjoyment for the moment, the label does have a permanent store (previously a pop-up space) in the Lower East Side at 75 Orchard Street. The store carries items from the label’s Fall/Winter 2009 collection and also the “Build The Future” Collection that gives 20% of proceeds back to the community (donated to New York Cares and Give Something Back International). Do take some time, drop by, shop for something lasting and support the community we live in!