New to Canoe Club for SS24 and new overall, the brand Bardo has just passed its one-year anniversary mark. However, it is already establishing itself with a contemporary and wearable reinterpretation of menswear classics. With mentions on Jonah Weiner's Blackbird Spyplane and the founders recently interviewed by Timothy and Chase on our very own Customer Service podcast, we give you the rundown on what the Bardo brand is all about. 

Launched in 2023 by longtime friends Kyle Edson and Kyle Nielsen, Bardo aims to enrich your life with products designed to elevate your everyday experiences. By prioritizing clean silhouettes and subtle yet distinctive details, coupled with superior craftsmanship and premium fabrics, Bardo ensures that you can wear their products with confidence, regardless of what you’re doing or where you are. This emphasis is reflected in the brand's casual slogan: 'You’re exactly where you need to be at all times, and we’re glad to be here with you.’

Nielsen and Edson cite their geographical location as one of the foremost influences on - and facilitators of - their brand’s vision. The brand's inception was influenced by the belief that secondary cities provide fertile ground for subcultures to flourish, fostering creativity and organic connections among people. ‘There’s something stifling about New York and LA,’ they admit, explaining instead how second cities (namely Chicago) offer more freedom and space for innovation and self-expression. The pace is slower here, affording individuals more time to really play around with their desired outcomes and create something truly individual. These sorts of locations also engineer more natural associations between people - much like how their friendship began.  

Both can talk at length about how they met by chance, and enjoy the difference in their upbringings that provides them the opportunity to share experiences and collaborate in new ways. Chicago introduced them to a range of different friends, many of whom have gone on to feature in the world of Bardo. This is what lies at the heart of the brand: embracing and celebrating subcultures and the beauty of people doing what they love.  

Both Kyles bring distinct backgrounds to the table: while Nielsen had little prior knowledge of fashion, Edson boasts an encyclopedic understanding of the industry, complemented by a reliance on gut instincts honed through his educational journey and professional experiences. Edson's immersion in the world of fashion was further enriched by his tenure as an apparel designer at The North Face, where he gained invaluable insights into garment construction, fabric technology, and the nuances of functional design.  

Edson also has a passion for pattern making, honed during his studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, which shapes Bardo's unique aesthetic. Inspired by his college tutor's experience working with Issey Miyake, Edson explores both traditional and digital pattern-making techniques. This is reflected in the brand's practice of patterning all of its own clothing, while construction takes place in NYC's garment district, ensuring quality and that the finished product meets expectations.  

However, Nielsen’s inexperience has never been seen as a hindrance to Bardo but rather as an asset. The duo shares a vision of creating garments that acquire character over time, eschewing the disposability of fast fashion in favor of enduring quality. They are both passionate about fabrics, considering the choice of material crucial in product development.  

Edson’s immersion in the world of fashion means that Bardo pays homage to other brands and designers who inspire it. Margaret Howell's clean, wearable style serves as a significant influence on Bardo's design philosophy, as does Jill Sander. The brand seeks to democratize fashion, inviting individuals to express themselves authentically through their clothing choices. With a focus on fabric selection and meticulous tailoring, Bardo aims to marry form and function seamlessly, ensuring that each piece resonates with its wearer on a personal level.  

Bardo's brand strategy revolves around integrating their creations into people's everyday lives, enriching experiences ranging from casual outings to significant life events. Their garments, characterized by clean silhouettes and subtle details, are designed to feel familiar yet intriguing, adapting effortlessly to diverse settings.  Above all, Bardo celebrates the richness of human experience, embracing the contradictions and complexities inherent in life. Whether it's a spontaneous adventure or a quiet moment of reflection, the brand aims to accompany individuals on their journey, offering garments that enhance rather than overshadow the diverse tapestry of existence. 

In our fast-changing world, Bardo recognizes that the garments we choose to wear are the one choice we get to make every day. Nothing could be more important in their eyes, and it’s because of this that they seek to create pieces that take on a life of their own. Both Kyles find this quality hard to describe and even harder to place, but it’s something they strive to embody in their collections. They believe that clothes get better the more they are worn and used, imbibing the everyday experiences we choose to share them with. 

Beyond clothing, Edson and Nielsen have also introduced a collection of real buffalo horn sunglasses. Originating from a combination of pandemic-induced boredom and a desire to create, the initial pairs were handcrafted by the duo in their studio. Each pair underwent meticulous hand-cutting, carving, and sculpting, resulting in unique pieces with no two pairs alike. While production has now been outsourced due to high demand, the glasses continue to be crafted in small quantities, reflecting their dedication to artisanal quality. It’s this kind of attention to detail and commitment to the brand’s ethos that sets Bardo apart - and shows that their best is yet to come.  

All of this resonates deeply with us here at Canoe Club. We share a passion for finely crafted products, whether it's the choice of materials, design intricacies, or perfect fit. It's these details that distinguish an item and elevate it from the ordinary to the extraordinary, allowing us to not only look and feel good but also do good. 

 Looking ahead, Bardo's future holds endless possibilities. The name 'Bardo Editions' suggests a broad range of potential ventures yet to come, with the brand already dropping hints at possible objects and furniture releases somewhere down the line.