”Need to Know" is a series spotlighting the brands that are gaining steam and breaking through the noise. Whether its an emerging brand or an established brand having a major moment in pop culture, we’re focusing on introducing, discussing and dissecting the brands shifting the men’s style space today.
If you were to pick a single brand that embodies the zeitgeist of menswear in 2020, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than Antonio Ciongoli’s 18 East—both aesthetically and ethically.
But, when it comes to typifying the zeitgeist, you might as well start with Ciongoli’s background: He didn’t study design—at least not in school. If that doesn’t square with the current state of menswear, when architects are helming luxury houses, then I don’t know what would. Unlike many of the other non-traditionally-trained designers, though, Ciongoli’s name might not be the most familiar, and he isn’t the kind of star designer whose presence (and proximity to celebrity friends) alone sells clothes.
In another era of menswear, perhaps he would be—perhaps his resume would turn heads, because it’s an impressive read: starting at 21st century New England prep staple Vineyard Vines, then cutting his teeth further at Ralph Lauren, then serving as Michael Bastian’s number-two before launching the critically-acclaimed neo-Neopolitan tailoring brand Eidos in the mid-2010s. In industry circles, Ciongoli is well-respected and his work at Eidos, in particular, was much-beloved by the menswear cognoscenti.