Klaxon Howl gets it: You’re building your wardrobe one piece at a time

Klaxon Howl designer Matt Robinson backstage

Klaxon Howl designer Matt Robinson backstage during World MasterCard Fashion – Photographed by Paul Ross for OPIQUE / Top of the Runway

Written by: Michael Jodha

It’s all about classic men’s pieces for designer Matt Robinson. The genius behind the menswear label “Klaxon Howl” doesn’t care much for gimmicks or ‘trend-of-the-season’ frills.

Robinson understands the man he’s dressing isn’t looking for clothes to wear once; his customers are building their own collections.

“I find the other stuff (frills and trends) kind of boring, in my opinion,” says the designer in an interview during Toronto Fashion Week. “I want to make clothes that you can layer, have a function, you can beat them up and they still look good.”

And that’s exactly what the Klaxon Howl label delivers: a wardrobe to be built the way you want it to be.

“It’s nice when someone comes in and buys a complete outfit,” says Robinson. “But most of our customers buy a shirt here, buy a jacket there…they’re building a wardrobe.”

“I want them to have pieces that last, remain relevant, that they can continue to wear and pull out of their closet ten years down the road and still love them,” he continues, “and have (those pieces) be their favourite.

“Leave it to the individual to pick pieces from our collection for the days of his life.”

For every collection Klaxon Howl creates, the designer says he maintains the label’s existing styles and patterns, but always adds something new he’s never tried before. For fall 2013, his new twist is leather and down-filled garments.

“We’ve done leather details on garments before, but this was the first time we’ve done full on leather jackets and leather pieces,” says Robinson. “We (also) did a full down jacket, we did a down vest – it’s proper goose down – and it’s all weather-proof material.”

Klaxon Howl prides itself by pulling inspiration from historical menswear like military uniforms. In this case, Robinson describes his down-filled pieces as inspired from early expeditionary events, like mountain climbing in the 1940s.

Historical menswear hits even closer to home for Robinson, as his grandfather served under the Canadian Army during the Second World War.

“Everybody of his generation had some connection to the Second World War,” says Robinson. “So growing up with that mood was a big part of…myself anyways. I’ve been in the military. It’s been ingrained, it’s in my bones.”

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