To give a little background perspective on the name (and the gents who came up with it), The Jante Law is a value system created by the Danish-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose in his novel A fugitive crosses his tracks (published 1933) that forbids ego and the individual drive for success, and praises obedience to the pack. In short, it’s a bit like New Zealand’s tall poppy syndrome, with more of an emphasis on United We Stand, and Don’t You Dare Think You’re Better Than The Collective Group. Apparently it’s quite famous, but I must confess my ignorance before I came across Bent Van Looy and co’s clothing label.
Like I mentioned the other day, I met Bent enroute to the Kris Van Assche show in Paris last year, and was extremely impressed with how he put himself together (as were the streetstyle photographers lining the pavement). With his sandy blonde hair and rolled up pants, he bore a strong resemblance to Tin Tin, if Tin Tin was reborn in 2011. It figures, both are Belgian. He invited me to see his collection last week in New York, and it took me all of 30 seconds to be hooked.
The Jante Law is everything you’d want in a boutique menswear label – solid shapes with a twist, a bit of quirk, some amazing knitwear, a pair of double pleated brick red pants and some short sleeve shirts that are cropped awkwardly high in the best possible way. They’re not trying to appeal to the mass market (thus the white cotton blazer that buttons from underneath the lapel), but the mass market would be well-advised to adopt the look. It’s all good clean fun, with some interesting detailing and a whole lot of excellent proportions. And, in adhering to the name, for every extra-ordinary piece, there’s an identical garment cut in a no-nonsense colour like beige or navy blue.
I may have just found my new favourite brand.
Photos taken by Bryan Boy in Battery Park (and one in his building to avoid the storm clouds that threatened to kill his camera), all clothing comes from The Jante Law’s S/S 2013 collection, besides the tee shirt in the last shot, which is Uniqlo, and the shoes, which are Converse Chuck Taylors.
The Jante Laws:
1. Don’t think you’re anything special.
2. Don’t think you’re as good as us.
3. Don’t think you’re smarter than us.
4. Don’t convince yourself that you’re better than us.
5. Don’t think you know more than us.
6. Don’t think you are more important than us.
7. Don’t think you are good at anything.
8. Don’t laugh at us.
9. Don’t think anyone cares about you.
10. Don’t think you can teach us anything.
11. Don’t think that there aren’t a few things we know about you.
I LIKE YOU!