Adam Kimmel Looks to the Backwoods for His ‘High-Style Survivalist’ Style

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Menswear designer Adam Kimmel toes the line between scruffy Brooklyn-cool and the dapper Upper East Side: a woodsy T-shirt paired with a cashmere sweater; eye-catching splashes of color; a beautifully tailored suit with a hint of hipster plaid. Since launching his label in 2002, the designer has earned a following for his separates and luxurious fabrics — he was nominated for the Swiss Textile Award last year. This May, he’s collaborating with classic workwear brand Carhartt to launch a co-branded line of outerwear, shirts, pants, denim, and accessories.

The designer presented his fall 2011 collection last week, garnering glowing reviews. “Kimmel has a knack for artfully elevating iconic styles,” wrote Women’s Wear Daily; “…his clothes have responded by becoming more sophisticated than ever before,” concluded Style.com. (Only Cathy Horyn exhibited her famous snark — “hipsters in Grandpa sweaters and other country clothes should stay in Brooklyn and not venture into the wild.”) Though he shows in Paris, Kimmel’s sensibility is unabashedly American. Inspired by artist Dan Attoe and the Pacific Northwest, the fall collection offers multifunctional pieces like reversible motorcycle jackets, hunting coats that unzip into trench coats, and reversible linen blazers that are waterproof on one side. “It’s not your typical backpacker, granola-hippie look,” he says. “It’s a much more idiosyncratic backwoods motorcycle punk that could be similar to something out of Twin Peaks.” The collection also delivers luxe cashmere sweaters, brush-cotton suits, and dress boots, for a look Kimmel calls “high-style survivalist.” We caught up with the designer to discuss his fall collection, Carhartt collaboration, and unusual wardrobe indulgence.

What’s one item every man should have in his closet?
A perfectly fitting suit.