The torch has been passed at Woolrich Woolen Mills, not with a flame but with a parka. The old designer (Daiki Suzuki of Engineered Garments) and the new (Mark McNairy, formerly of J.Press and founder of the blogger-worshipped line Mark McNairy New Amsterdam) joined forces for an overcoat they called the Four Hands parka, based on a vintage Woolrich model from the thirties originally designed for an Arctic expedition.
That's as good a guide as any to the hardiness that's characterized the Woolrich brand since its founding in 1830—whether or not the soft-handed fashion types who buy it at stores like Barneys and Ron Herman will ever get near an ice cap. McNairy's been building a reputation for himself as a premier reinterpreter of classic Americana, and his ace in the hole is the poppy irreverence he brings to the often worshipful, slightly humorless world of workwear wonkdom. So a found fabric with a geometric square motif—originally intended for blankets, most likely—became a hooded duffel coat; McNairy likened it to a digital camo pattern. Another duffel came striped. Tops were, on the whole, more interesting than bottoms: These tended to be twill chinos and a slim-legged sweatpant (though the McNairy shoes, the label's first footwear, are fun—a lace-up brogued boot and a woolen chukka sneak). Bow ties in tartan, camp pockets on a herringbone blazer, blocks of contrasting print on a button-down: McNairy mentioned mashing traditions, and it showed. He drew on Woolrich's historic military wear, and also on its lesser-known Ivy League tradition. They found their joint avatar in John F. Kennedy, collegian turned navy man.