Allen Edmonds' Fashion Expert Ini Iyamba Discusses New Fall Apparel for 2016
The 2016 fall apparel collection has arrived and it's full of exciting new clothing like buttery soft goat skin jackets, fine merino wool sweaters and handcrafted shearling coats. The man behind our apparel line, fashion guru Ini Iyamba gives us a first look at what’s new and shares his expert advice on how to wear some of the collection’s most iconic pieces.
Allen Edmonds: Looking over the new fall apparel line there is a lot of play with different textures, colors and patterns. In broad terms how would you define the new apparel this fall?
Ini Iyamba: This season's collection is inspired by the British Countryside look. That's where it begins but we want to take that iconic look, modernize it a bit and give it an Americana feel. The collection includes many different tactile surfaces like herringbone, tweed, goat suede, quilting, brushed cotton all combined with rich earth tones.
Allen Edmonds: In the collection you have the Carlyle and James sport coats. What's the difference between the two and who wears each?
Ini Iyamba: The difference in the two sport coats is simply the fit. The James has a classically modern fit while The Carlyle is a bit more contemporary, slimmer fit. When it comes to the wearer, the line becomes a bit blurry. These days, men are taking better care of themselves, and in fashion that means there's no such thing as clothes for a guy 30 year old as opposed to a 60 year old. Slim can work for any age and hey, if you've got it, I say wear it.
Allen Edmonds: This year you have developed some fantastic goat suede blazers but what shirt and pants can I wear with them?
Ini Iyamba: Style is really about how you choose to express yourself by using your clothes as a canvas. This is why I don't like to put any limitations on how someone should wear any piece of clothing. I want everyone to express themselves naturally. With that said, I developed our goat suede blazer as a throw-on, beat-it-up piece. It features an incredibly soft construction, French faced (no lining), and top stitch details that allows it to be worn however you choose.
Allen Edmonds: Since its introduction, the 34 Heritage jean has been a very popular item. What makes the 34 Heritage so special and how does it differ from other jeans?
Ini Iyamba: 34 Heritage is very different from your favorite old jeans because it's comfortable and ready to be worn on day one. Your old jeans may be comfortable and fit great today, but how long did it take to get it there. Turkey has some of the best innovation when it comes to denim, so it's no secret that some of that technology has been implemented into this brand. The right mix of cotton and elastane, coupled with the right cut is what makes this brand truly special.
Allen Edmonds: I love the new cardigan but looking at it I am not sure if I should wear it like a sweater or a jacket.
Ini Iyamba: We like to call this a "swacket", because of its versatility. It should be lived in. Wear it with jeans and a t-shirt, or with a sport shirt and tie. The best yarn (100% merino wool) from Italy's Biela region went into this cardigan. Really it's like a fine wine, it will only get better over time.
Allen Edmonds: What would you highlight about the new Shearling outerwear and how would you wear it?
Ini Iyamba: What makes our shearling special is the materials and the made in USA hand craftsmanship that goes into every piece. The functionality of shearling is what puts it over the top. Sheepskin is renowned for its breathability and moisture-wicking properties, which keep the body temperature regulated regardless of temperature fluctuations in the environment. I wouldn't wear it with a suit, that's what our great selection of top coats are for, but it looks great with a sport coat or any more casual attire.
Allen Edmonds: I can easily see wearing the pieces of the countryside Collection on the weekend but what about the office. Can I wear them over a sport coat?
Ini Iyamba: This is by far my favorite collection, because of the amount of work that went into perfecting it for our customers. I love the exclusive plaid lining that we carried through all four pieces. But what I love most, is the versatility; from the waxed coat that can be worn nine months a year, to the layering vests, and finally the quilted blazer that's both an outerwear and sportswear piece. You can wear the waxed coat and vests both casually or over a sport coat, and the quilted blazer with or without a tie. Remember, you're in charge and the choice is yours.