2021 : Creators, Brands, and Collectives to keep an eye on

Well, first, Happy New Year. I’m gonna try and be better putting ink to paper over here in the new year, but no promises. I hope this one finds you looking up to better days ahead.

I’ve been doing the clothes on the internet thing for a hot minute – made lots of friends, seen lots of people fade in and out of the scene. I fluctuate between gunning to build a digital empire and thinking I have the stupidest hobby in the world (sometimes both in the same sentence). One of the small silver linings in 2020 was an influx of new faces in the denim and boots scene – a welcome perspective of optimism, inclusivity, engagement, and progress. Again, been here a minute, and I hope to think that in consuming years of content made by other creators, I’m piecing thoughts together on what might work and what probably doesn’t.

For what it’s worth, I want to share a few names of people that have come into the workwear scene – some new, some familiar – that I’ve got my eye on in 2021, predicting big things to come on these fronts in the new year. These are accounts worth seeing in your feed.

James – @iron.weft

So, here’s the thing about this dude, and I’ll just cut to it – I can’t think of someone who has an aesthetic of this quality figured out right out of the gate. James also makes it happen with a waaay smaller rotation – and that’s kinda his point, I think. It’s a tough line to ride between consistency and variety, and to put it simply, I think @iron.weft is gonna blow up. Follow.

Here’s where it checks out, though – he also has a design background in his back pocket. A DM conversation a few weeks ago (I was cooking while we were chatting, I remember that) revealed that James is also pushing on Correspondence Co., his page for branding and design work. Think your favorite heritage-ish candle label meets Tarantino meets old school Clint Eastwood. Double whammy – follow that page, too.

Tyler – HFA Goods

Tyler is a true homie. I’m not going to blow any secrets here – I’ve had some good talks with him over the last few weeks, and big things are coming for HFA. Humility is one of the core identifiers of his one-man leather goods operation, and there’s been a pretty incredible transparency behind his move to halt the brand for a minute and consciously step his game up on both the product and branding side. I think we’re going to see a big growth year for HFA, and I’m going to be watching along to see where the intentions he’s setting for the brand now carry him through the year. Follow.

I’m not the only one stoked on that shit, right? You don’t get the opportunity to see how Target is evolving to be a smarter business. They’re trying to pull that over your eyes. Ultimately, I think we forget that if you’re supporting small business, you celebrate their small victories, too. Let’s hope the switch to vulnerability in 2020 keeps on.

Rikki – @fitslikerik

I’ve been following Division and Co. for as far back as I can remember. I can pull the trigger on a shitty tattoo in a second, but still can’t decide what custom pennant or banner I’m gonna get from them. 2020 brought Thirdmark – a full-scale heritage shop in tandem with the custom work. I got talking to Rikki recently over a Taylor Stitch jacket, I think, after putting together that she’s half the team behind Thirdmark and Div&Co.

I think the draw to Rikki’s new-ish fit-stagram page is a triple-force of high-quality content out of the gate (similar to iron.weft), a fresh voice and perspective in “classic Americana and heritage menswear… but for women” (her words), and, of course, the retail tie to the denim world. Interested to see where she takes it, and where 2021 takes the shop. Follow.

Opie Way – @opieway

I don’t get the sneaker craze. Never have. (Not saying I understand the denim and boots craze, either, full-disclosure.) I get Opie though. Justin and Amanda are reinvesting H A R D into the shoemaking trade, hand-making leather and canvas sneakers in their factory in Asheville, NC. These shoes are sick. My buddy John has a couple pairs, and they’re on my list for the warmer months. Good people keeping a good thing alive.

Keep your ears to the ground for a deeper dive into Opie Way I took in 2020, hitting the airwaves in the next few weeks. What? Huh? I didn’t say anything. No hints. Just follow them.

New England Denim Hangs

Okay, maybe this is more of a plug than anything else – but – you can expect some good shit out of the newest Denim Hang group to hit the scene. I founded NEDH in 2020 (hah) alongside @zacharybenard, @itsalittlebit, and @mawudey, with sights set on a digital community in the immediate and in-person hangs down the road. Not from the North end of the Best Coast? No worries. Everyone is welcome. (Follow.)

This list is nowhere near all-inclusive. I’m making a better effort to keep new faces and styles and mindsets in my feeds these days, despite whatever is generated for me by The Man. Thanks for taking the time to hear my recs, and hopefully finding something of interest.

This is the stuff I’m always stoked to have a conversation about, so hit me in my DMs if there’s something here that stuck out to you. (No foot pictures, manufacturing ads, general or genital solicitation.)

Thanks and Happy New Year. Talk soon.

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