by Karen Alberg Grossman

Once in a while, a new menswear collection comes along that’s feel-good, carefully crafted, super comfortable and very saleable. And so we were pleased to discover Olefant, a sportswear collection that might best be described as Edgy Preppy or Classic Cool (or as one retail account put it, “Vineyard Vines meets Ted Baker”). But however you describe it, it’s a great new brand targeting better independents and select department stores that won’t be found online or in their own company stores. Their dynamic team is headed up by design director Jonathan Whaley, head stylist Iva Anthony, and Scott Ludmar in sales; Whaley and Ludmar have worked together for many years at various upscale brands and have also produced better private labels). 

Olefant is privately owned and totally vertical, with factories in China and India so the prices afford retailers nice markups (most pants – in chino, dobby or twill – are $31 cost for a suggested $125 retail; shirts average $28 for $100). But more impactful than price is the product itself: well designed using beautiful fabrics (much of it performance) and fabric combinations, great detailing (much of it hidden so it’s not too contrived) and terrific colors. 

Some of my favorite items for fall ‘19: the five-pocket notch back chino pant with four-way stretch (available in five colors); the hybrid pant (five-pocket front, besom pocket back) in red (the pant leg is partially lined in a fabric to match the pocket lining, a cool look when the pant cuffs are rolled…); the bio-washed cotton pique knit long-sleeve button-down layering shirt (each wash somewhat unique); the long-sleeve pique polo with a triple-fabric placket and (my favorite) the perfect micro-French terry hoodie with paneled hood and dip-dyed drawstring ($35 cost for a $125 suggested retail.)

And if you like the fall ‘19 collection, wait ‘til you see spring 2020 (in the works at this writing)!

Scott Ludmar (left) and Jonathan Whaley in the Olefant showroom.


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