When it comes to staying in your own lane and not looking at the competition, Adret has its own private road encased in the thick Indonesian jungle. Founded by Adam Rogers and Seto Adiputra little over a year ago, it is a menswear label that shuns the customary practices of most brands. It does this in the pursuit of crafting products—from handspun cotton, three-pocket Riviera shirts to reclaimed mahogany shoe trees—that are made one-by-one, with beautiful nuances and the slightest irregularities. If your idea of luxury is having something that no one else has, say hello to Adret.
Over the phone while on lockdown, Rogers explains that Adret is a “perennial classic wares” menswear brand that marries his Western eye for style with Adiputra’s understanding of Eastern artisanal skills. Rogers studied menswear at Central Saint Martins before joining Ralph Lauren’s knitwear and Purple Label design teams, while Adiputra was the editorial director for a leading menswear publication in Southeast Asia, photographing most of the shoots in his distinctive cinematic style. Rogers and Adiputra combine their honed skills to make up the ingredients of Adret: Rogers draws, styles and designs; Adiputra works with the artisans on production and shoots the brand imagery using men who share their philosophy. One such example is Vlad, a nomad of sorts, who they met randomly on the beach in Bali and photographed on his wooden sailing boat.
The duo both spend half the year in Indonesian mountains working side-by-side with seven artisans of varying disciplines who all live locally to one another. They include a master cordwainer, the only one of the team who can make their sandals; a small group of knitwear makers; tailors and shirtmakers, who produce all their wovens and outerwear; several batik artists, who draw the classic polka dots and stripes on their pocket squares, neckerchiefs and scarves; and one man who makes all their horn glasses by hand.
They also work with an 82-year-old professor of textiles who develops all of their natural materials, such as cotton, bamboo, hemp, hand-spun linen, denim and supple leather and suede. “For me, texture is the most important thing with Adret,” Adam explains. Due to their insistence on turning away from the major fabric tradeshows in Europe, which are attended by every Tom, Dick and Harry brand, they only work with their textile guru.
It’s at this stage where some of the irregularities or imperfections occur. Due to the climate in which they’re woven or tanned, textiles and leathers dried in bright sunlight versus overcast skies can respectively create an intensely rich or saturated hue. It’s a difference of about 10 percent, so not a great deal, but this inconsistency reflects their wabi-sabi ideology. They embrace imperfection, even welcome it. As Adam says, “It’s part of the beauty of Adret.”
The collection includes a number of pieces that available year-round. They started with a canvas and leather tote bag before expanding the range to complete an entire wardrobe including roomy linen trousers, fine gauge cotton knits, horn-rimmed eyewear and suede caps. The show-stopping, one-piece collar, half-sleeve Riviera shirt made from an extraordinary handspun cotton (£435) and the sleek, minimal Cary slipper (£395) are both particularly handsome. Everything is muted, in earthy shades from terra cotta to ocean blue, with a lived-in aesthetic, and it’s that alchemy of style and living that exists at the core of Adret’s aesthetic.
Amazingly, there’s no online store—“product photography can be sterile”—but you can buy Adret’s wares through emailing Adam and Seto. What the two really want, though, is for you to visit them in person at one of their pop-ups—immersive experiences, to say the least, that aim to bring Adret’s philosophy to life. They do this by painting the walls and re-staining the wooden floors of their venues when necessary, sourcing art and complementary furniture and even scents. They’ve hosted a handful in London so far, including on Savile Row, and once world order resumes they hope to exhibit in Jamaica, the South of France and Greece.
It’s an incredibly difficult time to be unique in menswear, but if there’s anyone who’s cracked it, it’s Adam and Seto. With over 30 years of design knowledge at their disposal and a non-conformist strategy, they’re bringing a new vision to a much-saturated market. Adret is a very welcome fresh breeze.