There’s a new take on leisurewear this summer that brings old-fashioned crafts to the fore and a homespun frisson to holiday wardrobes. It’s a micro-trend that’s been embraced by major luxury brands, but also ushers in some smashing new smaller labels.
One such name is Marrakshi Life, which weaves its pieces on hand looms in a small factory in Marrakech. The designs, echoing local patterns and hues, have a natural yet luxurious feel. Personal favourites include the cream and blue broad-striped cotton-blend trousers (£250) with elasticated drawstring waist, striped shorts (£125) in earthy orange, faded navy and pale yellow, and blue and earth striped cotton-blend shorts (£125) worn with a loose matching singlet (£116) with a curved hem. I also like the striped kaftans (£292) with open mandarin collars for post-swim cover-ups.
Similar homespun ideas come from Uruguay-based brand Marané, which draws influence from the founders’ hometown of Punta del Este. Loose-fit workwear jackets (£185) and trousers (£170) come in textured cotton blends and slubby neutral and black linen sourced from a small, family-run mill in Ireland. There are also swimming trunks (from £130) in abstract watercolour prints, with bonded seams to prevent ballooning. “These new niche brands have amazing craftsmanship stories,” says Mr Porter buying director Fiona Firth. She cites New York-based label Bode, which has classic and workwear styles made with techniques such as crocheting, patchworking, quilting and appliqué. Needlepoint-embroidered bowling shirts (£385) and crochet overshirts (£326) are handmade in Bode’s New York workshop and bring a touch of bohemian craft to wardrobes. I particularly like the ruched kimono Havana shirts (£371).
Japanese brand Beams Plus has created a collection of hand-dyed pieces, including printed linen shirt jackets (£170), printed shorts (£150) and matching camp-collar shirts (£170), all with striped patterns in interesting hues, while a jacquard short-sleeve knit shirt (£130) shows a subtle take on the same homespun theme. Kapital’s striped navy chinos (£280) are made from reused fabrics from the brand’s archive, as is the bandana print trucker jacket (£395), a bohemian take on the workwear classic. There’s also a patchwork bandana kimono (£355) or striped washed-cotton kimono jacket (£255) for throwing on over swim shorts.
British-Iranian designer Paria Farzaneh has her fabrics printed in Iran using traditional wood-block techniques that meld Persian motifs with contemporary silhouettes. This season, the brand has elastic-waist sweatpants (£305) that feature printed patch pockets and a camp‑collar shirt (£305) with snap openings and a patchwork-effect paisley, floral and polkadot print. The designer’s knee-length cotton shorts (£250) include contrasting burgundy and blue all‑over paisley print, evoking a Haight-Ashbury surfer look.
More established brands are also playing with the idea of homespun resortwear, such as Hermès’ crochet Tanzanie Panama hat (£290), which is crocheted from natural fibres, and the Etrivière shoulder bag (£1,780), with an innovative jacquard weave enhanced by a graphic stitch pattern. Loewe has employed patchworking techniques for its summer collection, which includes the cotton multicoloured Asym shirt (£995) and matching shorts (£595), and the navy cotton-terry shorts (£375) with a natural woven drawstring waist. And at Giorgio Armani, modern printing techniques are applied to cupro. A mandarin-collar shirt (£720) and loose, single-breasted jacket (£2,300) printed with batik and tie-dye effects work well as slouchy holiday gear, and I rather like the printed shirt jacket (£2,150) with matching wide-leg pleated trousers (£1,100) as a suit.