Fashion

Portuguese Brand Ernest W. Baker Offers Gentle, Surreal Menswear

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While one segment of the fashion industry seems certain that soft baby clothing—onesies, sweats, pajamas, and duvet coats—will be the future of dressing, another faction is gently and humanely modernizing the suit. The big names here are Grace Wales Bonner and Emily Adams Bode, but those with subtle, interesting taste will also want to familiarize themselves with Inês Amorim and Reid Baker of the brand Ernest W. Baker. The Portugal-based duo offer compelling suiting with soul, all locally made in factories near their studio. 

Amorim and Baker met while studying at the Domus Academy in Milan, and after other jobs in the industry and a finalist spot on the 2018 LVMH Prize shortlist, they decided to set up their company in Amorim’s native Portugal. If her homeland offered them a place to get settled creatively, Baker provided the muse: His nonagenarian grandfather for whom the brand is named. In total, their aesthetic is part Milanese gentleman, part Portuguese craft, and part American classics, resulting in a gentle, offbeat look. It’s not without a little comedy: The pair famously offer gift-box bags complete with giant bows. 

For fall 2021, the designers spoke of offering something surreal, name checking Mulholland Drive, Wings of Desire and Falling Angels in their press release. While there is a certain cinema of the strange in their moodily lit white suits, sunglasses at night, holding umbrellas, the consummate look is one you hope takes flight in the real world. The designers work closely with local factories to ensure the care of each garment, and have grown their knit offering to include hand-crochet rose print scarves. \

Over a Zoom call they stressed that they are comfortable with the idea that it takes time to create a heritage brand—even excited by it. That slow-going approach only strengthens their output. No seasonal pendulum swings, no lookbooks stuffed with marketing and commercial T-shirts to sustain wholesale accounts. What they have presented in 14 looks is a concise, softly quilted suggestion of how men can start dressing. How lovely. 

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