Albam Autumn/Winter 2012 collection
Last week I was invited by James from Albam down to their Islington shop to view their Autumn/Winter 2012 range. It marks a departure for them in a number of ways – to start with it’s their first actual ‘collection’, having previously released pieces steadily throughout the year, and it also sees the label taking strides forwards in terms of the range, fabrication, detailing and ethos.
The range still stands on the principals of well made, simply detailed and very wearable Men’s clothing. But where things start to change is in the approach to detailing and construction – out goes anything deemed to be superfluous, leaving a more modern, streamlined and sharp look to the garments.
All of this isn’t to say that they’ve left everything out and produced bland staples, far from it. In fact what they’ve produced for Autumn/Winter is by far their best selection of clothing yet. Instantly noticeable is a more technical edge to many pieces – for instance bonded wool on the hooded blouson, which also features mesh lining, button off hood and a smaller button-over storm placket.
This particular placket detail also finds itself on their new Nylon parka, a great piece with just the right amount of military whilst keeping things looking sharp. Nylon features in other pieces too, with a shirt constructed from the fabric being a departure for the brand. It’s another great piece, with two large front pockets, press-stud fastening and a Stone Island like iridescence to it.
The label has always been about the outdoors and James’ love of climbing has been referenced throughout previous years. This latest, more performance orientated range is now influenced by the fact that James has become more interested in mountain running and ultra marathons. So it comes as little surprise to find the label producing a range of compression wear for those who keep themselves active.
Stripped right back (a signature of everything in the range) this is proper performance wear, perfect for running up mountains, or just around city streets, or for those that spend their days on a bike. And for when you want to relax there’s a range of jersey wear – some of it mesh lined and featuring Japanese print linings, with other pieces being simple marls in a range of colours. There’s also their own, slightly tongue in cheek college style crew neck with ‘Albam’ proudly displayed across the chest.
Japanese fabrics are utilised in the shirt range with the stand out piece being the striped versions with Fair Isle detail and raw hem. Other shirting includes brushed cotton twills, which feature sharp collars, lovely buttons and great front pocket detailing. The knitwear range is pretty big this season and chock full of beautiful pieces, from Fisherman’s roll necks (with pulled stitch detailing) through to some beautiful cardigans, especially the piece with curved hem and rolled pockets/cuffs.
Even though there’s plenty here that references a more performance related approach, there’s still much of the more tailored pieces that the label do so well. There’s a beautiful double breasted suit in the range, and their casual blazer has been tweaked with the addition of a single button, flanked top and bottom by press-studs. It’s something that gives a totally different feel to this most staple of items (and it works perfectly with the nylon over shirt as you can see above).
A boiled wool patch pocket blazer is also a new addition, and thanks to the fabric used is perfect for travel – James scrunched the sleeve up into a ball, let go and hey presto – it goes back to its original shape. Another new fabric for next season is a washed black Moleskin. The washing process sees it take on a fantastic worn-in look and this fabric features on a jeans jacket, and in their chinos – it’s well worth a look when it comes out.
Along with all the newness are some classic pieces too – chinos are once again at the core of the range, this time a bit wider in the leg and their excellent denim remains unchanged. Next Autumn/Winter also sees the reintroduction of their popular Deck Jacket which comes in a navy blue heavy cotton twill with high collar and leather details.
A cracking range – it’s different, but then it’s still the same and still very much Albam, just moved on. Whilst I was there James explained that the first five years have been about them finding their feet as a label and now is the time to take everything they’ve learned over the last half decade and apply it. Looks like they’re doing exactly that.
For more information on the brand, or to buy any of the current range online, go to their website here: Albam.