Eco-friendly clothing is an important in fashion these days, but the team at Alternative Apparel—helmed by design director Orondava Mumford—has been churning out sustainable T-shirts, hoodies, and other garments since 1995. So when the brand opened its fourth American store (and its first on the East Coast) in New York's SoHo neighborhood earlier this year, we talked with the designer about the importance of basics that can do double duty, how often guys should refresh their underwear drawers, and his travel must haves.
1. There are a few essential basics for every man: a white button up, a blue chambray shirt, rigid denim, and a suit—preferably navy.
2. When you're looking for your basics, like a hoodie, you want something multifunctional. I want to be able to wear something to drinks or a meeting and change one layer and still feel like myself without looking too overdressed or underdressed.
3. You should buy things that have a little innovation in the fabric. There are suits now that stretch without having spandex in them. Things like that make good pieces.
4. Once I find something that I like, I try to get it in as many colors as I can, and maybe two different sizes, so I can wear it in different ways.
5. You should be buying basics two to three times a year.
6. You should invest in your basics. They're going to last you the longest and won't go out of fashion. But if you've got your basics, it's easier to pop in a less expensive, fashion-forward piece.
7. Alter your basics to fit you. Like with a crew neck, you can cut off the rib to give it a more scooped out neck.
8. Whenever I travel I always carry a few things with me: a hoodie, short-sleeved crew neck, a sweatshirt, rigid selvedge jeans, a good pair of light French terry sweatpants. You also want to bring something waterproof—something really simple but naturally water repellant.