Academy Brand's style tips for men & a Remix discount code

The Academy Brand doesn't tell guys how to dress. Instead, they prefer making fashion easy, so guys can create their own style. Anthony Pitt, founder and designer of The Academy Brand, tells Remix writer Daisy Conroy-Botica about why he thinks guys have embraced his Australian-based brand since they started it in 2007.

academy brand

Can you tell me a bit about the brand? how did the idea come about to create a lifestyle brand rather than just 'another label'?

I founded the brand back in 2007. I was in advertising at the time and part of that was analysing the market and seeing where there might be opportunities. I had a keen interest in fashion the whole time and I found there was a gap in the men’s fashion market. There was a lot of low-end players coming into the market, like Cotton On and brands like that. Ten years ago it was a big thing to spend $500 on a pair of jeans or $250 on a tee but I thought that was unsustainable. That was the first thing I identified that I wanted to try and target. Where I worked, I wore everyday clothes to work; I didn’t have to wear suits. 

It became really apparent that my colleagues and I were all kind of looking the same. It was obvious there wasn’t enough stuff you could fill your wardrobe with without breaking the bank, while still being able to mix and match and have a sense of your own style. So the first thing was just this big gap in the market and then we coined the term ‘forgotten man’ and from there The Academy Brand was born. I wanted something really accessible, something that wasn’t scary, wasn’t alienating, and had a bit of a story behind it.

So the ideal Academy Brand guy is your everyday kind of guy? There's something to suit everyone and anyone?

Yeah, people often say you can’t sell something to everyone but we actually disagree. I wanted to deliver a brand that’s really accessible, so it doesn’t matter if a 15-year-old kid walks in or a 50-year-old man, they will find something they can use. We don’t tell people how to dress, we give them options and we guide. It’s a really big difference. We just want to take the fuss out of it. My biggest inspiration when I’m designing is actually our customer. It’s not a particular trend, a particular country, a particular celebrity or anything like that. Honestly, it’s just the customer. We have a really nice formula; we don’t try to reinvent the wheel, we just keep it spinning. We’re not over the top - in fact, we like to be under the radar - and I guess that’s the Academy guy. He’s understated, he’s modest - if he looks good he knows he looks good but he doesn’t need his outfit to scream ‘I look good’. That’s the difference.

What are your favourite pieces from the brand at the moment?

At the moment we’re obviously dropping the Winter season. We’ve got a couple of core styles that have been in our business for a little while, which are sort of our trademark pieces, that I absolutely love. One is our military style trooper jacket, it’s a parka-style jacket with military styling, so nice utility pockets, studs and rivets and really nice washed garment dye. It’s a timeless classic - military is a trend that can come and go but a utility military style jacket I think every guy can have in his wardrobe. It’s great for the weekend in winter. This season I’m really excited about our knitwear, there are a couple of classic chunky crew knits I’m excited about. Again, a bit of a staple for a guy’s wardrobe, it can be layered really nicely so it’s very easy to wear. We’ve had our chunky crew knit for a number of seasons and we alternate colours each year because guys just love it.

And guys know the brand as consistent and reliable...

That’s the great thing, if something works we’ll tweak it slightly so our customer can come back and get another one next season. We’ve also added a couple of new pants. We’ve got a huge chino business and we’ve all seen how the jogger pant has cleaned the market over the past few years, so we’ve got a new pant which is kind of a hybrid, but we’ve kind of added our Academy touch to it to make it accessible. So it offers all of the relaxation and casual feel of the jogger but then you’ve got the smarter and dressier look of the tapered leg.

What do you think is the biggest mistake a guy can make when dressing?

Definitely trying to do too much. I think it’s a very common thing for a guy to try too hard, just go that little bit too far, and I think when you do that you lose a sense of who you are, and that’s what we try not to do. We don’t try and tell guys what to wear, we let them do it themselves and we make it so easy and accessible that it’s almost foolproof. I’m not going to go as far as saying it’s completely foolproof, because some guys just cannot be helped! But trying to do too much is a common mistake, so we always say less is more. I think if every guy just stuck to that they’d go a long way to looking the goods.

What are some fashion essentials? Any pieces guys just can't go through life without owning?

I actually think every guy needs a classic heavy knit because it can be worn with a t-shirt underneath showing out the bottom for a casual look or with a nice button-up underneath for
a smarter look. In summer I would say come back to our range, we do a Santiago short, which is a classic vintage wash chino short. It can be dressed up or dressed down, it can be smart, it can be edgy, and that’s the great thing. We see how the really edgy kids in Bondi Beach wear the Santiago short, and then you look at our Paddington store where the guys are slightly older, af uent lawyers and bankers and they’ll wear it completely differently.

Who do you think are the most fashionable men?

It’s interesting, because as a brand we try not to latch onto any celebrity per say, because it’s all about our customer and not trying to direct a guy to be like someone else. But if you’re asking me personally, I look at someone like Ryan Gosling. Everyone has a comment on him and thinks he’s dapper, he’s classic and he can make a white shirt look amazing - but it’s not just about the guy, it’s about how he’s wearing it. He’s a great example of less being more, and always taking something off before you leave the house.

What are some cool autumn/winter pieces guys should be wearing this season?

One thing that’s really hot at the moment is linen. Linen is absolutely huge right now across shirting, shorts, chinos, joggers. We have a huge amount of linen shirts and they’re great for that trans-seasonal time. Because linen can be really summery and light and flowy, but it can actually also offer a bit more warmth. So I would say linen, specifically shirting, is a great piece. We always drop that into stores during trans-seasonal times. I guess the other thing that’s really trending at the moment are long-sleeve tees. They’ve finally made a comeback! It’s so 90s but obviously a bit different now and a bit more re ned. I’d probably highlight those two.

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