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Sage Nation Is Designing Avant-Garde Clothing for Real People

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Brand: Sage Nation

Season: Spring/Summer 2022

Key Pieces: The designer cites the poncho and box pleat pants, items that have been around since his first collection, as staples. It’s hard to argue with their appealing effortlessness — the breathable ventile and hand-dyed Japanese seersucker only sweeten the deal.

Buy: Sage Nation

Editor’s Notes: There’s so much stuff to pore over on Instagram — it takes something really inventive to stop the scroll. Sage Toda-Nation’s eponymous brand hit that sweet spot. His oversized silhouettes first grabbed my attention when the debut Sage Nation collection launched last summer. Japanese design cues first got me excited about clothing, and I picked up on several of them in his apparel. With good reason, too: Toda-Nation readily acknowledges ample Japanese influences upon his work.

SS22, the second full Sage Nation lineup, is an extension of the modular wardrobe that Toda-Nation proposed in his first offering, widening his label’s purview without sacrificing his core cuts. There are not-so-formal blazers, collarless pajama-like shirts, and a straight-legged trouser imbued with some deep cargo pockets cleverly integrated into the volume of the leg, worthy partners for his signature poncho and box-pleated pants. All freshly modern, yet eminently wearable.

This duality plays into Toda-Nation’s observance of the Japanese “power of five” conceit, which is usually used to delineate exquisite meals. Derived from Buddhist teachings, it asserts that all five human senses must be satisfied to create a truly fulfilling experience.

Now, this doesn’t mean that Toda-Nation’s work is edible (yet?), but this philosophy underlines his thoughtful creative doctrine. His output is defined by simple, effective, and frequently militaristic shapes infused with neutral colors, though SS22 adds in some flashy warm hues. I’ve always found red to be more versatile than it gets credit for, anyways.

Bill Blass once said, “When in doubt, wear red.” Let’s update that: when in doubt, wear Sage Nation.

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