With the final embers of 2021’s brutal and mighty flame flickering out, we thought we’d pick through the proverbial ash to find some bits that made this year semi-bearable.
So here you go – a quickly-hashed-out list of all the stuff we thought was decent this year.
10 – Beams Plus
Booting things off, we’ve got Beams Plus.
This isn’t to say they don’t smash it every year, but there was something about this lot’s 2021 output that really set our loins ablaze with the fires of passion.
A very special shout out to that jacquard zip cardigan thing – insert your own Big Lebowski joke here.
9 – Cardigans
If 2020 was the year when the humble cardigan began to cast off its homely, grandad-y shackles, 2021 was surely the year where it bought a motorbike and started blasting Marlboro Reds.
The fine folks at Stüssy, Y.M.C. and Séfr really did a lot of pioneering here, and it can’t be stressed enough how much we all owe them for their brave and forward-thinking work.
8 – That mental velvet Poten cap
Taking the number eight spot, it’s that mind-altering velvet baseball cap from Poten.
Perfect for scoffing lobster during the seventh-inning stretch, this is truly like nothing we’ve ever seen and everything we’ve ever wanted.
In fact, let’s have a round of applause for all the brands that pushed the boat out in regards to headwear this year. It can often be a thankless task making progressive hats, fraught with jeers and mockery, but the world is an altogether richer place for their creation.
7 – s.k. manor hill
A new addition to the Oi Polloi stable this year, New York-based brand s.k. manor hill have made quite the splash indeed.
Fusing cunning designs, high-class fabrics and all of our favourite points of reference, this lot made a mean bowl of wearable Minestrone that we’re already gagging to taste again.
6 – Pica~Pilsner
We’ve been threatening family and friends with the prospect of an Oi Polloi beer for donkey’s years now, and 2021 saw us actually put our money where our mouths are and release one into the wild.
Made in conjunction with Manchester brewery Blackjack and brewed in a bathtub in Ordsall by a real-deal moonshiner, it was possibly the greatest elixir any of us had ever tasted and proved without a shadow of a doubt that beer is indeed king. Long may its reign continue.
5 – The Berghaus Ice Cap jacket
Slap bang in the middle of this list we’ve got the Berghaus Ice Cap jacket.
Once again the result of Uncle Nige’s badgering, we managed to get these back in the original colours, with the added honour of being the only shop on this big blue dome to stock them.
Will the Ice Cap’s return be heralded as one of the high points of human civilisation? Hard to say, but… yes.
4 – Laid-back luxury
At four? Laid-back luxury.
It seems we’ve found ourselves in a world where casualness rules with a lackadaisical fist, and as a result of this, you no longer need to be draped head-to-toe in diamonds and pearls to look like you spend your weekends jet-setting around exotic locales to play The Most Dangerous Game – nope, all you need to look monied in this brave new world is a low-profile sweatsuit and a classy coat.
A cause for celebration no doubt.
3 – Comfortable footwear
This probably applies every year, but our taste-buds haven’t stopped craving the casual flavour of comfort shoes in 2021.
From the return of Jacoform and the Clarks Caravan to the reign of the almighty Birkenstock Kyoto, your precious, bunion-riddled feet have never had it better.
2 – Mohair
It seemed like everyone and their mothers couldn’t get enough of making stuff out of mohair this year, which is why it’s sitting pretty at numero dos.
We made (with the help of Lyle & Scott) some golf-inspired cardigans out of the stuff, EG went full pelt and made hoodies out of it, but if we’re being honest, nobody utilised mohair quite like Anonymous Ism this year.
Not only did they do the unthinkable and leapt into the world of knitwear with gusto, they made socks out of it too.
Will 2022 be the year when Anonymous Ism fully throw caution to the wind and make moahair boxers? Fingers crossed.
1 – Oi Polloi Sportswear Co.
Claiming the number one spot… it’s Oi Polloi Sportswear Co. Could it have been anything else?
Some may accuse us of nepotism for giving our home-grown brand the top spot, but you won’t understand until you’re a parent yourself.
Anyway, this is a proper big deal for the strange entity known as Oi Polloi, and it still brings tears of joy to our eyes every time we think about it.