Joseph abboud debuts immigrant-influenced collection

by Stephen Garner

Menswear designer Joseph Abboud debuted his fall 2019 collection in a runway show on Monday, February 4 during New York Fashion Week. The collection celebrates themes of inclusivity, discovery, and Americana.

Set in the spirit of Ellis Island at Pier 16—part of the South Street Seaport Museum—this show honors American history. “As the grandson of Lebanese immigrants, it gives me great pride to celebrate America’s rich tapestry and diverse heritage the best way I know how: by making timeless, authentic, and quality clothes for all Americans,” said Abboud.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” During the peak of immigration through Ellis Island at the turn of the 20th century, this phrase, etched onto the Statue of Liberty, welcomed weary travelers after their difficult journeys toward a better life. Written by Emma Lazarus, these words represent the very soul of our country—the American Dream—and they serve as the foundation for Abboud’s fall 2019 collection.

An homage to those early immigrants, the fall 2019 collection recalls the clothes they wore as they pursued their destiny. Each garment has a story to tell, with washed fabrics, raw edges, and surprising combinations of texture and pattern reflecting homespun wares from around the world. The men who travelled here to forge a new nation were at once modest, proud, and filled with character. So too were their clothes, perhaps handed down from a father or grandfather. Mismatched buttons, sheared shoulders, and patches crafted from remnants of antique Kilim rugs nod to the care with which one might mend his treasured wardrobe, carried from one life to the next.

With a vintage palette and lived-in essence, the Fall collection features noble fabrics like washed tweeds, vintage velvets, and time worn flannels that inspire a workman-like tone. Trousers are full to allow for movement; capes wrap around the body like blankets; purposeful bellows pockets run throughout; and layering, a brand signature, is unstudied and eclectic. Each piece is as individual as the person who wears it.

The utilitarian theme carries over to the accessories. Leather bags and duffels are made with functionality in mind; distressed fedoras and caps, designed in collaboration with Albertus Swaenpoel, have a time-worn quality. Eveningwear, too, remains humble, imbued with an heirloom feel and hard-earned confidence. Leather footwear, the product of our ongoing collaboration with American heritage shoemaker Allen Edmonds, is inspired by sturdy work boots.