Allen Edmonds began in 1922 as a shoe company but anyone who has followed our evolution knows that we also offer a line of clothing to match the quality and style of our shoes. The man behind our apparel line is apparel expert Ini Iyamba. No one knows more about our new spring 2016 collection than Ini, so we sat down with him to talk about Allen Edmonds’ shirts, sweaters and all things fashion.
Allen Edmonds: Where did you first begin to cultivate your fashion sensibility?
Ini Iyamba: A sensibility to fashion has always been with me. Growing up, my family took the idea of wearing Sunday’s best very seriously. So I learned from an early age the important role clothing plays in projecting the proper image for an occasion. I also had an uncle that used to say to me that whenever you walk into a room, you should do so with a sense of confidence and charisma that allows you to command that room. The clothing you wear and how it makes you feel is an important part of this. It helps determine how you carry yourself. But much of my sense of fashion comes from the things around me. I take inspiration from a lot of things like the people I see, nature, art and life in general.
Allen Edmonds: From a fashion standpoint how would you categorize Allen Edmonds’ new line of apparel?
Ini Iyamba: I am not a big fan of putting labels on things but forced to choose I would say our apparel is classic taken up a notch. By that I mean we begin with timeless classics and then tweak the design and cut to make them a bit more modern. One thing that will never change, however, is the quality that we put into every product whether it be socks, sweaters, sport shirts or sport coats. Of course they look great but just touch the material of one of our sport shirts or anything else and you just have to have one for yourself.
Allen Edmonds: You mentioned shirts, what makes an Allen Edmonds sports shirt special?
Ini Iyamba: I know a lot of people think a shirt is a shirt, right? But that’s just not true. Quality is key. For example there are a lot of wrinkle free shirts on the market but they are not all the same. We use the finest technology and treatment to make them truly wrinkle free but in addition, all of our sports shirts have top fused seams throughout to prevent wrinkling and keep every seam perfectly crisp.
Allen Edmonds: Let’s talk about this year’s sport shirt collection. What is new for 2016?
Ini Iyamba: Again I would say these sport shirts are classic with an edge. They have a classic eight-button front but we have updated the silhouette by taking out some of the fabric and bulkiness leaving us with clean lines yet they retain their comfort. We have also streamlined the fit to make it consistent across the entire line so that no matter which style you choose they all fit exactly the same.
Allen Edmonds: Forced to choose, which is your favorite?
Ini Iyamba: Sorry but I really can’t pick just one. I love the blue and white awning strip, the pink and blue check and the purple tattersall, to name a few. I guess if I could only choose one I would go with the white royal oxford because of its versatility. I know it sounds boring but really nothing frames the face better or works with so many different styles like a beautiful, crisp white shirt.
Allen Edmonds: You have also chosen new sweaters for 2016. What are the highlights of the collection?
Ini Iyamba: The key to these sweaters is the fabric. They are all made of Zegna Beruffa yarn produced in Italy’s bucolic Biella region that looks great and feels fantastic against the skin. They also have some very nice ribbing details and once again they have a cut that is classic yet modern. And the spring colors are absolutely gorgeous.
Allen Edmonds: Sorry but we have to ask, can you choose one?
Ini Iyamba: Again you put me on the spot but just like with the sports shirts, if I had to choose just one I’d go with versatility. And that is the light grey sweater. It can be worn with just about anything. It’s the kind of go-to sweater that I always pack in my bag no matter where I’m going. Every man should have one.