On a recent sunny Thursday, Simon Spurr, men’s wear designer, was at the Denise Williamson Showroom in Soho, perusing the garments that will be included in his debut New York Fashion Week presentation on Sunday Sept 7. Among these were a slim, dark gray three-piece suit with a four-pocket, eight-button vest; several pairs of jeans (one with erratic bleach splotches staining the blue denim; another made in black leather); some elegant striped dress shirts accented by handsome neckties; and a tan, vintage-style trench coat complete with a discreet pocket for cell-phone storage.
Asked his favorite piece, Mr. Spurr, 34, pointed to a black leather motorcycle jacket. “It’s a little bit more rock ’n’ roll,” he said in a refined English accent. “We started off in a more conservative manner. I had all these rules in my head, and it took me time to step outside those rules.”
Even with the onset of so-called “metrosexuality,” men’s wear is perpetually marginalized at Manhattan’s Fashion Week—unlike Milan’s, where its creators are issued their own schedule—but in recent years, a few designers, like Thom Browne and Michael Bastian, have managed to bring some sizzle to the category. Founded in 2006 as a denim collection and quickly picked up by Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys, as well as downtown boutiques like Blue & Cream and Jeffrey, Mr. Spurr’s eponymous label—clean and minimal, with a soupçon of London’s swinging ’60s—is jostling for rack space with preciously named competitors like Obedient Sons, Rag & Bone and Engineered Garments, to the last of which he lost the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s best new men’s wear award earlier this year. But Once star Glen Hasard picked up his Best Original Song Oscar in Spurr; Kevin Bacon has worn the line; and Mr. Spurr said that Hollywood stylists have assured him that their A-list clients are fans as well. “In another season or two he’ll be as big as Thom Browne,” predicted Tommy Fazio, the men’s fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman. “He’s the new face of fashion for men’s wear.”
Wearing a turquoise sweater and green straight-leg dungarees of his own design, with black Reef flip-flops, Mr. Spurr was more modest. “I think it’s the right time for us,” he said. “People are looking for something new, something different that’s got a younger, fresher vibe.” Aren’t they always?
MR. SPURR GREW UP in a tiny village in the middle of Kent, England—all “rolling fields and farms,” he said—and attended Oakwood Park Grammar School for Boys, which he described as “disciplined.” He always excelled at art, but his first exposure to fashion didn’t come until age 15 or 16, when one of his tutors suggested that clothing design was something he might be good at.