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Five Independent Menswear Brands That Are Worth the Extra Effort

If you’re looking to build a smart-casual wardrobe, try Knickerbocker for thick cable knit sweaters and heavy-duty denim chore jackets. Copenhagen-based Arket offers clean Nordic designs with a quality feel.

Story mfg’s product manifesto reads like a sustainable fashion fanatic’s north star doctrine. They manufacture made-to-order, ethically produced and stylish shirts.


It may sound like a mouthful, but Brooklyn-based Knickerbocker is more than just a clothing brand. Founded in 2013 and housed in an old hat factory, the label is proof that Made in America fashion is sustainable.

From their cotton shirts (which forgo buttons in favor of Talon zippers) to their tees, the label is unapologetically fashionable while also prioritizing sustainability and ethical manufacturing. The company lists all the parties involved in their supply chain on its website.

Other menswear start ups that deserve a place in your closet include Todd Snyder, which makes classic menswear from Ralph Lauren, Brooks Brothers, and Japanese brands, as well as Drake’s, which shows that tailoring and ties can coexist with casualwear.


Sweden’s Arket – named after its literal meaning of “a piece of paper” – is the sustainable little sister to fast-fashion originator H&M. Their minimalist collection of top-quality wardrobe staples aren’t seasonally driven, they don’t chase trends – they offer an everyday uniform that will last for years.

Expect everything from classic knits and wool trousers to merino and mohair jumpers with alternative designs. They’re also big on transparency and sustainability, with a commitment to 100% traceability in their supply chain.

Their best-seller is their midweight white tee that balances everyday breathability with a softness you’ll never want to take off. It’s worth stocking up on these, trust us.


While menswear can get bland and uninspired in the hands of a few billionaire fashion moguls, these independent brands keep things fresh and interesting. Their clothes may not have the flash of a big name label but their unique perspectives and high levels of craftsmanship make them worth the extra effort.

From NMWA’s thick cable knit sweaters to Knickerbocker’s heavy-duty denim chore jacket, these brand’s take inspiration from various subcultures and vintage style moments to create timeless pieces that feel right for now. And with brick-and-mortar retail on hold, splurging on these guys is a great way to do some good.

Officine Generale

At the heart of Officine Generale’s brand is the notion that fashion isn’t about frivolity but rather about creating timeless, wearable pieces that will work for you season after season. From the way Maheo stitches his shirts to the materials he uses, every detail has been carefully considered to ensure a lifetime of wear.

Lemaire’s robe-like coats are a reminder that the art of tailoring isn’t dead. The brand’s founders take inspiration from classic French workwear to create contemporary styles that will work for you no matter what social occasion you find yourself in.

Save Khaki United

Save Khaki United makes streamlined, contemporary everyday essentials with comfort and fit at the core. Their pared-back aesthetic eschews gimmicks and trends, with fabrics washed and dyed for broken-in comfort and a timeless minimal look.

Whether you need a solid button-down or relaxed sweatshirt, this ethical menswear brand has you covered. Their shirts, chinos and accessories are made from sustainable, organic cotton, and brushed with Fair Trade cotton for super-softness.

Sustainability is at the heart of this ocean-centric brand, which supports pro-ocean charities with its regular collaborations and limited-run products. Their simple, versatile organic men’s clothing – from sustainable tees to oxford shirts and hoodies – is PETA-approved vegan.

Les Basics

In a menswear landscape that can feel like a flurry of merch and branded accessories, the most worthwhile finds often come in the form of well-constructed, streamlined staples. From a heavy-duty denim chore coat to boxy striped tees, these brands have nailed the kind of essentials you can wear forever.

Danton is a brand that believes in quality over hype, with a line of workwear-inspired basics that’s made to last for years. Their flannel shirts, fatigue pants and drawstring trousers are all worth a look.

Olderbrother takes sustainability seriously, from mushroom- and saffron-dyed shirts to natural-fiber outerwear (think a waxed cotton fishing jacket) that feels distinctly of the moment.

Museum of Peace & Quiet

The brand founded by Ashley and Christion Lennon is all about promoting a tranquil life, a notion inspired by the desert road trip that inspired their name. The merch reflects this idea with earthy tones and simple aesthetics that capture the serenity found in natural landscapes.

The collegiate crewnecks and T-shirts are printed with mantra-like slogans that encourage stillness and mindfulness. The brand also produces a selection of relaxed sweatpants, including the popular ‘Natural’ joggers. Pair a pair with sneakers or dockers for a casual outfit, or dress it up with a leather jacket and khakis. The hat is also a great way to hide a bad hair day or add a pop of color to your wardrobe.

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