Clothes are just clothes, right? Well, not to the world-wide fashion community, and especially not to JNBY USA manager, Xiao Li: “Each of the garments we make is a wearable art piece,” she stated while sitting comfortably in her spacious and minimalist store in San Francisco’s Westfield Mall. JNBY, which stands for “Just Naturally Be Yourself,” is a Chinese brand whose collections provide versatility, quality, and a unique outlook to the international fashion enthusiast population. It’s difficult to label the style of the brand as a whole, as each piece is versatile enough to range from formal attire to streetwear to runway fashion. In the 2018 Spring/Summer Croquis collection, JNBY designers take menswear staples (such as trousers, sweaters, and overcoats) and spice them up with unique designs and details. Some of these details, such as unconventional cuts and distinctive placement of buttons and zippers, are subtle, yet powerful. Other details, like graphics stemming from collaborations with artists or abstract patterns, are eye-catching and deliberate. Drawing inspiration from their travels and from observing the people they encounter on the streets, the designers mix-and-match fabrics in innovative ways, such as combining nylon techwear-like pockets with natural knitted fabrics. Their pieces often display trends that aren’t as popular in the U.S. (such as laboratory-inspired or explorer gear). A current trend in high-end fashion is the use of a prominent logo, but when asked about this Xiao commented, “We try to stay away from logos and other trends; those expire… we want our clothes to be timeless.”
Unlike many other brands you might find in the mall, JNBY places immense value on the shopping experience. The brand’s philosophy, Xiao explained, is to make sure the customer has such a comfortable and positive shopping experience that they decide to come back regularly: “The first time they come in, they might just look around; we encourage everyone to try on anything they like, to really get familiar with the pieces. We won’t sell the clothes—the way they fit and look on our customers will”. JNBY seems to settle into the balanced middle-ground between fast-fashion stores, which often cause the customer stress and claustrophobia with the overwhelming piles of clothes in every inch of the store, and luxury boutiques, which often have extremely small selections that limit the customer’s browsing experience. The store deliberately displays only one example of each piece in the collection amongst spacious racks, inviting each shopper not to just glance at the clothes, but rather, to inspect and admire them. To Xiao and the other employees’ joy, we did exactly that.
Come check out some of Garb’s favorite looks from the store.
Cherry Blossoms in Tokyo
This look highlights JNBY’s experimentation with colors and materials. The overcoat is composed of a thin, plastic-like material that gives the coat a nice flow and semi-translucent look. We paired it with a knit sweater of a lighter shade of pink in order to add a richer texture and a variety of material to the fit. This look is comfortable, casual, and a perfect fit for those gray Berkeley days that aren’t cold enough to call for a puffer jacket; you’ll stay dry but not uncomfortably warm.
Ever wanted to explore the fire trails for an off-campus expedition? This look definitely has a modern Indiana Jones vibe. Without the bucket hat or the side pouch, this look transitions into an everyday campus look. The texture and fit of the linen t-shirt, the technical pockets of the jacket and the flowy pants encompass JNBY’s philosophy of varied styles and unique combinations.
This formal look features an amazing coat that not only is warm and comfortable, but also showcases one of JNBY’s most beautiful embroideries. We paired it with a classic button down shirt embellished with a wool embroidery, and a leather duffle bag that adds a mature alternative to the campus-style backpack.
“Meeting in style”
This sophisticated ensemble is comprised of a black wool coat, white dress shirt, slim-fitting cropped black trousers, leather traveler’s bag, and distressed leather Saint Laurent sneakers. We opted for a minimal but high-contrast black-and-white color scheme to maintain a serious and dappered look that’s more elegant than the typical “business-casual” palette of navy blue, gray, and brown. To avoid looking “overdressed” (a common fear of college students), we kept it urban by leaving the shirt untucked and opting for casual sneakers.
This look is probably one of the most college campus-friendly looks. Worn with a solid light grey shirt and black trousers, the black jacket looks like a cross between a moto jacket and a harrington; it’s understated, yet modern and fashionable, much like the rest of the outfit. The solid light grey shirt and black trousers, which, while simple, rely on their sleek textures to complement the clean look. This outfit is great for wearing casually on a full day of classes and/or for a night out in the city.
Paris Fashion Week
There’s no better way to flex your next-level fashion mastery than by wearing literal artwork. Many JNBY pieces, including this coat, feature graphic designs created in collaboration with artists around the world. It creates a tasteful statement piece that is incomparable in style to any other coat you’ll find in the rest of the mall. Contrasting the style of the overcoat, the olive green, tactical looking middle layer adds variety in color and material.
This look is comprised of a one-piece zip-up jumpsuit and a deconstructed bucket hat. Breathable and light, the piece is made out of a cotton that looks and feels high-quality. It features a forest print that adds depth to the outfit, yet maintains the monochromatic color scheme that provides the uni-body that one seeks in a jumpsuit. Plus, you don’t need to spend too much time putting this look together—it’s comprised entirely of one piece, with the exception of the additional black Adidas Swift Run sneakers of course.
Sometimes you just need a well-executed statement piece to break up the monotony of the typical college student wardrobe. While the other looks display very muted colors, this outfit boasts a loud pop of color via a bright red oversized drawstring knitted coat. It has the silhouette of a coat, but the structure and feel of a long, soft cardigan, making it perfect for spring weather. We like to avoid wearing too many bright colors with statement pieces, so we matched it with a pair of cropped wide black trousers to keep it dressed-up, then selected a silver-colored shirt with hidden buttons and white Stan Smith sneakers (with gum soles) to balance out the contrast between the red coat and black pants.
Overall, we were very impressed with how the men’s collections at JNBY provide such a wide variety of styles while staying consistent with their meticulous attention to detail and their balance between experimentation and subtlety. We’ll definitely be coming back season after season to see how the brand brings their own flavor to the fashion scene in the U.S. amidst a sea of constantly evolving trends. If you’re looking for unique high-quality garments that will push your style to an unprecedented level, make sure to check out JNBY’s store in San Francisco!
Sponsored By JNBY
Photography By Warren Lai, Sara Ye, Lena Zhou
Words By Albert Tres and Chris Jereza