The most important thing about clothing is – undeniably, clearly, not surprisingly – comfort. That’s it. If something is uncomfortable, take it off and never put it on again. Comfort is king. Even the most avant-garde, provocative, innovative and damn clothes in the rarest stores in the world – they’re nothing but decoration when they’re not comfortable, and here in the prestigious halls of GQ. We don’t care about decoration.
Comfort is of course very subjective. Feeling good means feeling good, free from pain or compulsion. Whatever gets you there is your trip. But increasingly, I find that comfort is associated with softness, which is a mistake because: soft clothing is not good. Brands that sell sweatwear might want you to think differently, but they’re not the future of fashion. Those cotton-poly blend rags, brushed and bathed in portable dryer fluff – it’s bad for you and bad for the planet. Perhaps worst of all, even if you are supposed to believe it is, it’s not comfortable. Chemically amplified sweats and petroleum-based nonwovens are cheap thrills to your skin, but like a sugary desert that makes you sick for a few bites, they’re ultimately not satisfactory to the body or soul.
Let me suggest something controversial: hard clothes are better. Clothing with texture, structure and weight is better. Clothes that alert you that you are wearing them, that’s what I like – natural fibers, the slightly dense, dense fabrics with a comforting weight, a dry, crisp hand. This is the stuff you can find at the hardware store, for sure, but it’s also made by some of the best, most thoughtful designers in the world – designers who share my affinity for clothes that more than pamper you in sensitive times.
At the top of the hard clothing fee is Perth-based Man-tle, founded in 2016 by the couple Larz Harry and Aida Kim. The two met in Tokyo while working for Comme Des Garçons – Harry took on various marketing roles for Dover Street Market and Kim worked one on one with Rei Kawakubo on the development of the CdG Black collection. That experience of working with “very precious clothes,” most of which cannot be put in a washing machine, Harry said, led them to create a range of shirts and pants that could withstand anything – including the notoriously brutal climes Western Australia.
A perfectly crispy sweater from Man-tle.
“We wanted to make something that would last and go beyond style and fashion. It was classic but felt surprising,” says Harry. If possible, please contact your local dealer – CHCM in New York City, Meridian in Hudson, Los Angeles department, neighbor in Vancouver – to touch these garments. If nothing else, you will be surprised. Man-tle’s simple shirts and pants made from high-density waxed chambray and heat-treated compressed nylon feel like they can stop a bullet.