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Poplin & Co. brings upscale sophistication to the growing floral shirt trend

Sailun Tires

There鈥檚 a subspecies of man — let鈥檚 call him Hawaiian Shirt Guy — who loves to draw attention to himself at the beach, a house party or other gathering wearing a top so loud it鈥檚 less of a fashion statement than a desperate attempt at humorous conversation-starter. Then there are the kind of print shirts being produced by a new brand called Poplin & Co., which are aimed at another kind of man entirely.

Based in Vancouver, Poplin & Co. launched its first Spring/Summer line of printed button-up shirts earlier this year and has recently introduced them at local retailers such as El Kartel and Zebraclub in addition to selling them online. The designs are bold — particularly the short-sleeve 鈥楪arden Botantical鈥 and the long-sleeved 鈥淎loha鈥 — but resist being garish.

In fact, other shirts in the collection, including the short-sleeved 鈥淐ool Cats鈥 and the long-sleeved 鈥淢idnight Monstra鈥 have a darker, more subtle refinement despite looking nothing like the plain stripes or checks seen underneath most suit jackets. The prices aren鈥檛 outlandish, either — less than $100 for virtually any item in the collection.

Poplin & Co. Men's Summer Style Hawaiian Printed Collared Shirts | SWAGGER Magazine
A variety of printed collared short sleeve shirts by Poplin & Co. (Photo: Courtesy of Poplin & Co.)

According to Shadi Ahmadi, the brand鈥檚 design director, Poplin & Co came out of the idea that printed shirts — while definitely one of Summer 2018鈥檚 hottest trends — tends to be category-specific in terms of focusing on casual wear alone.

鈥淭he polished look was not really there,鈥 she told Swagger, referring to the general loose bagginess of traditional Hawaiian shirts. 鈥淢en want to look creative but polished. And they want to be able to wear them to work but know the fit is still amazing.鈥

Poplin & Co. spent a year researching fabrics in multiple countries before finalizing on 鈥減eached poplin,鈥 in which the cotton is gone over with a comb to take out the surface yarn to produce a fuzzy, soft feeling in the hand. The shirts are also pre-washed at the factory stage, which ensures they don鈥檛 shrink and that the heat-set colours don鈥檛 immediately start to fade after the first wash.

Of course, some men might be intimated to wear shirts with prints that might normally be associated with the guy who wears a lampshade on his head at a kegger. However Antonio Krezic, Poplin鈥檚 head of marketing, suggests recent trends in other areas of men鈥檚 wardrobe may be shifting attitudes towards a bolder look.

鈥淪tarting from these accessories like Saxx Underwear or Stance socks, it鈥檚 almost been like a gateway drug for guys to be more and more comfortable (with louder prints),鈥 he said.

At the other end of the spectrum is the expansion of Casual Friday to a more relaxed dress code all week long, Ahmadi added.

鈥淲ith guys dressing a little bit more casually, they鈥檙e not always wearing ties or pocket squares any more,鈥 she said. 鈥淏ut they do want to have that pop of colour.鈥

Poplin & Co. are deliberately marketed towards 鈥渃reatives,鈥 which could include everyone from an interior designer to a musician, Krezic said. And while florals work particularly well during these hotter, sunnier months, the brand has already started work on its Fall/Winter line that will remain bold but with geometric, 鈥榰rban-inspired鈥 patterns.

鈥淭hese shirts are not for everybody,鈥 Ahmadi said. 鈥淲e鈥檙e designing for that more creative and young person that has an inspiration to achieve something.鈥


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