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Linder's new take on prep

By Kristopher Fraser

Jun 7, 2019


When the word prep comes to mind the uniforms of the country club crowd and the Princeton boys is one of the first things that comes to mind. Those preppy kids of the young socialite scene and Upper East Side type crowd often don't want to follow in the footsteps of their posh parents, and would prefer the artsy and rebellious route. What does that type of kid wear though? Linder's Kirk Millar seems to have found an answer.

For Linder's spring/summer 2020 menswear collection the designer was inspired by sensitive young men of privileged backgrounds, those who must navigate their artistic sensibility with the refinement their upbringing encouraged. Millar was inspired by two photographers he had been looking at, Thomas Struth and Tina Barney, and he started looking at New York society kids who want to be creative and the discrepancy with expectation versus what they really want to do. "Prep is something that felt very fresh to me right now," Millar said to FashionUnited. "Going into a new decade, 2020, I felt like I wanted a collection to be styled minimally and feel minimal in a way, so it was less fantasy."

Kirk Millar of Linder was inspired by prep for spring/summer 2020

To play on that sense of realism, the show was stage in a bedroom setup with television and video games playing so it felt like you were really stepping into this kind of young man's room. Although Linder has never really been a minimalist brand, they decided to find a way to approach a minimalist theme without just making it an understated black and white story. "I think what's minimal about it is that I took a lot of cues from my personal style this season," Millar said to FashionUnited. "I really just pushed this idea of somebody in a T-shirt and shorts, or a sweater and a pair of jeans. I didn't want any tricks. I wanted it to feel very true to how I myself dress, and I feel fashion is very crazed right now with a lot of heavy styling and colors. Everything is just very loud, and I wanted to try something different."

Style cues throughout the collection alluded to the Ivy League, included a deconstructed cricket sweater the use of plaid fabrics, and vintage sports stripes found on blazers and hoodies. Despite the preppy elements of the collection, Millar isn't expecting the prep school kids to come flocking to Linder. "I don't think a prep kid would necessarily want the clothing, it's more of a play on it," Millar said to FashionUnited. "I'm taking the style cues and using them for myself and for the audience to present something to them that was unexpected. It's somewhat different from what I've done in the past."

Given how maximalist so much of the fashion market has gone, Millar felt like this season's collection filled a void that was in the market. "Everything is very print heavy, and one of my friends even told me you dress so simply for someone who designs very loud clothes," Millar said to FashionUnited. "I'm also very inspired by the late '90s aesthetic, so I wanted to feel something from that again and do it in a new way."

This collection saw the allure of culture and artistic pursuits clash with the dogma of dynastic success, weighing heavily on an ultimately fragile person.That young socialite kid is more complicated than meets the eye, and it begins to reflect in his fashion choices first. Fashion is one of the most upfront forms of expression after all, an important takeaway from Linder's latest menswear collection.

photo: courtesy of Krupp Group