New York-based menswear label In Aisce has a beautifully timeless aesthetic that reflects designer Jona’s passion for history and travel. The autumn/winter ’11 collection in particular conjured images of the American frontier, combining classic artisanal traits and roots-based craftsmanship with utilitarian and modernism in a way that ultimately transcends time and place. Born on a farm in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and now based in New York, Jona infuses his designs with aspects of his personal background as well as inspiration from his extensive travels in Europe and Asia. The result is a distinct voice for a fashion newcomer that’s once masterfully crafted and deliberately unfinished.
In Aisce demonstrates Jona’s traditional tailoring skills juxtaposed against other rudimentary and unconventional methods. Designed in an old factory in industrial Brooklyn, the look and feel of the label has been true to its roots since launching with spring/summer ’10. Jona’s distinctly anti-trend and non-conformist attitude means that he refuses to bend to the external business pressures that can often weigh heavily on a new brand. The spring/summer ’11 collection, for instance, plays on the textures of frayed fabrics and worn leathers, which lend themselves perfectly to the distinctive pieces characteristic of the line. Black and brown lace-up boots and a grayscale palette, meanwhile, offered a somber, yet striking contrast to other spring menswear collections.
The success of In Aisce illustrates that Jona’s meticulous construction and attention to detail has not been, as its Gaelic name translates to, “in vain.” In a period of excessive outsourcing often devoid of individuality, In Aisce is an anomaly. All sample making is done in-house and as a result, the distinctive look is never tainted by mass production. The artisanal feel of the line is maintained, and each piece stays true to Jona’s vision. There are unique dualities in each piece of his collection: crude yet expertly crafted, antique though modern, improvised yet deliberate. In the end, it is the dialogue Jona creates with each garment—accomplished through his expert tailoring—that separates In Aisce from other fledgling fashion lines.