Founder and creator, Mikael Hanan, on the start of his journey.
What is the main source of inspiration for F I E L D S’ launch collection?
Firstly, I believe there is a growing tribe of men who are proud to be multifaceted. They can't be boxed as type x or y. I felt inspired to create a brand for these men. This is reflected in the Outdoor, Art and Soul elements of the line. Secondly, after spending time consulting and traveling abroad, I was inspired to create a line that showcased quality from southern Africa. The world has come to know South Africa as a beautiful country rich in ability and that we had to show this in the retail sector - not only at the mass/value market, but also at the higher quality, contemporary level. Thirdly, I really wanted to showcase the label as a form of art, to be collected over the years. We have done this through by producing not only quality, long lasting garments, but also through seasonal artist collaborations creating unique, limited edition pieces.
What values does F I E L D S stand for?
How did these ideas come about in your studio and what key links can we see in the pieces?
It was a journey. From the get go, there were pieces that stood out for me and that I felt would be great to create for a man’s wardrobe. Then, there was this idea to showcase a unique sense of quality from southern Africa, which then lead to wanting to highlight existing talent, play with duality and work closely with a selection of artists. Colour also plays a key role linking the pieces in each collection.
What do you hope people see and feel when going through the collection?
Comfort, quality, pride, confidence. When wearing any of the garments I hope that the wearer feels inspired to be better, reach out and build a connection with others.
Take us through the dominant fabric choices of the collection?
Natural fibres dominate, specifically cotton, wool and mohair. With these fibres we've worked on various weave and knitting options to play with texture and how light reflects off the fabric. The source of our yarn is important to us, and we are proud that over 85% of the cotton used is BCI compliant and that all wool and Mohair is Responsible Wool Standard Certified.
Is the collection made locally? How important is it for the brand to retain a sense of locality?
It is a priority for the brand to continuously source yarn, weave, knit within southern Africa, to not only showcase and support the local industry, but also to be close to the sources. We stand by our belief in paying close attention to detail, from fabric development to final garment construction. As such, we uphold our relationships with our factory partners, who we view as an extension of the brand.
How important is it for menswear, to create on-trend, modern pieces whilst maintaining a sense of timeless style?
I think less of trend and more of an expression of the time. It's interesting to think how much changes with time and thus, style. I think a lot about what a man needs in his wardrobe today. To be part of his tribes, where he is creating his Art, leading, making a meaningful impact. Where he is also thinking about his needs, what he loves and who he loves to be with in his Soul space and finally physical, tactile, outdoor nature-focused side. I doubt FIELDS will create a something because it's 'on-trend'. Hopefully FIELDS becomes 'on-trend' :)
Can you take us through the major themes that the collection is centred around?
FW19 is entitled 'reaching out'. It's a greeting from Cape Town to the world as we build a foundation as brand that is relevant, sustainably designed and sourced and manufactured in South Africa.
What is your favourite part of the design process?
That every season is a fresh start. A chance to comment, inspire, be inspired and create.
Do you have a favourite piece/s from the collection?
The 1kg sweater and jacquard knits. They were our first wins, first sales, first love in the line.
Any insider tips for shopping this collection?
The Weekend Trouser and knitwear...you won't take them off.
What can wearers look forward to seeing from F I E L D S in future collections? Is it important for you to innovate or retain a sense of consistency?
I think wearers will pick up the FIELDS handwriting over the seasons to come. FIELDS is built from the ground up, working with weavers as we develop fabrics from scratch, collaborating with artists as they create uniques pieces of work for FIELDS that we translate into apparel. Innovation is part of who we are, but this will be done at a rate that's sustainable. When writing this I've just returned from one of our manufacturers where we discussed weaving with wool to create tailoring possibilities for garments. FIELDS will really dive into these new ideas, developments and possibilities. The result, of course, will always be beautiful.