New Collection: Et Al Menswear

Melbourne does one thing well: black.

It kind of goes hand-in-hand with the culture of Melbourne and the fact that it’s more like the Motherland than any other place in the country (debatably).

Regardless, one Melbourne-based fashion label that for a long time now has played to the strengths of Melbourne and its monochromatic ways is now men’s and women’s design label and retailer, Et Al.

Run by a dedicated Melbourne team of black, draped clothing lovers, Et Al’s aesthetic is a formidable one and for the trained eye, easily pickable thanks in large parts to the fabric, the fall and the fit.

Recently they launched their first ever men’s collection; such an exciting venture.

I was fortunate enough to have a Q&A with Anthony Capon, one of the design geniuses behind the label, who also heads-up his own label a.Concept, stocked in Et Al stores around Melbourne, who told me all about it, where it’s going and how…

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Typically the Et Al aesthetic is black, feminine and draped. How did you translate this into menswear while not being overly feminine?

The menswear collection has really been inspired by the pre-existing male clientele that we have, but just like our women’s wear it is all about proportion to suit the clients body. Our menswear is never going to be overly masculine, but we feel the men who do wear our clothes have a sense of confidence in who they are and with their style to carry it.

We’ve also looked at the market place and have noticed not many people are doing what we do, but quite a few men want it and have come into our stores saying ‘I just wish this fit me!’ That’s a very good starting point to know who your customer is, but we are very curious to see where the market takes us as this is our first season. It is all about layering, textures and we’ve tried to make it as transeasonal as possible.

How exciting is it finally being able to create clothes that are not just ‘what men can wear’, but ‘for men’?

It’s really exciting!

It’s so nice to be able to give our male clients who have wanted it for sometime what they want. For years we have seen our women walk out of the door feeling and looking great, but to see men leaving the store with just a few pieces yet have a new level of confidence is what it is about! A lot of the men who have purchased are used to this aesthetic, but to see men leave with a new ‘look’ and have a style transition is very rewarding.

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It’s all black, black, black, so to launch right in the middle of winter made such sense. How has the menswear range been received so far?

It’s been extremely positive! We know it will take time for men to get to understand the ‘layered’ aesthetic but the brand is not for the conservative male.

In these early stages it is really about encouraging the men and building up their confidence to try it on. However the response from men who appreciate good fabrics and interesting design has been great.

The other advantage of our label is that there are not many labels out there that are producing eight of one style. A lot of men want to fit in and wear what their friends are, but our customers want something different, and that’s what they are paying for: unique design which is affordable yet also offers exclusivity.

How interchangeable between men and women is the collection?

The range is very unisex. In fact we have actually sold a lot of pieces to our female clientele. What we have already catered for the women is perfect for some clients, but there are clients of ours who don’t want as much fullness or volume in pieces.

We’ve wanted to do a men’s range for about five years, but we only felt that it was the right time now, especially with the success of our women’s wear but it’s great just to expand the offering to our clients whether male or female.

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Where did the design team find the inspiration and influence of the new menswear collection?

Our main inspiration has been what we would want to see men wearing. Beautiful Cashmere and Wool coats, smart waistcoats with buttoning detail and trousers with a point of difference; That’s what we want to see men wearing. Whether they wear the Et Al look head to toe or mix it with their own printed tee or jeans, the range is very versatile and timeless. And like our women we expect our men to start off with one piece, and before they know it, their whole wardrobe is full of Et Al.

One thing you can’t help but notice is the introduction of the skirt. Tell me about it.

Anthony Capon is one of the designers and he loves wearing skirts but we purely design what we would like to see men wearing. We don’t expect every man to wear it, but we do think it would look fantastic seeing more men in Melbourne wearing one! They are also extremely comfortable worn with 100% Merino Wool leggings.

 It’s likely too early days to speculate, but where do we want to take Et Al’s menswear? Where can you see it going?

We are extremely lucky that we have dedicated and loyal clients in Melbourne. Each season they know the jacket they bought doesn’t go on sale, that very select people will be seen wearing the same waistcoat and that they will continually wear these garments for years to come.

This kind of loyalty is something we want to build with our menswear collection. We are a niche market and we never want to be a huge mass-produced brand, we simply want loyal clients who love what we do.

At this stage it is in two of our women’s stores, but it has been working great! The women are coming in and buying some of it too, but some are coming in with their husbands but to share the guilt of purchasing, the women are encouraging the men to buy something for themselves too.

But yes we are already looking for our first stand alone store… Watch this space.

Will the menswear range be a big part of the international expansion plans of Et Al?

Yes of course! The overseas market is something we are working on, especially with the success of  the online store.

Last year we were very keen to take our women’s wear overseas but waiting so we can take both ranges is probably the best thing we could have done so we can show the depth and consistency of the brand. We always want to do so much, but we are gradually learning the art of ‘patience’.

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5 Responses to “New Collection: Et Al Menswear”
  1. cecylia says:

    Ah are these the masterpieces of Anthony Capon? :) I love that long back waistcoat!