Whistles Icon: Brian Wilson


The epitome of vintage West Coast cool, young Brian Wilson’s style embodies this season’s focus on the youthful energy and preppy surf look of early-60s California.

The Whistles menswear team were inspired by the spirit of iconic Californian rebels for their spring 2017 collection. From the paint-splattered Americana of LA artist Ed Ruscha, and lived-in staples of civil rights photographer Charles Brittin, to the subversive, left-of-field style of San Francisco’s Beat writers. Those raw and edgy influences are balanced by musician Brian Wilson’s fresher, more collegiate wardrobe - another key muse for the season. Along with his band, The Beach Boys, Wilson had a wholesome look that combined timeless basics with familiar 60s patterns and colour. He updated the clean-cut, all-American sportswear styling of the late 50s with a more laid-back, sun-soaked sense of freedom. Just like his music updated pop. And it perfectly illustrates how California’s rebel spirit inspired a creative shift still felt in menswear today.

When The Beach Boys formed in 1961, they wore a matching preppy uniform of raw denim jeans, classic-fit white T-shirts and plaid flannel shirts. But, for all its manufactured feel, the early signs of a particularly Californian brand of subversion were already creeping in, with mid-length, sun-bleached haircuts, and flip-flops replacing sensible shoes. By introducing multi-striped tops with straight-leg chinos, they reworked popular collegiate styling with a surfwear vibe, taking preppy from the university campus to Malibu Beach. An example - like Wilson’s mock-neck knitted T-shirts, worn with white slim-leg jeans - of just how the era’s key trends were shaken up by the West Coast’s good vibrations.