Created by Swedish-born Emili Martensson, a graphic designer who worked for Miss Sixty in Italy for years, 5 Preview balances bold and comfortable in clothing, creating several dynamic looks and designs. Nowadays, it isn't all about T-shirts, but T-shirts is how she launched the original label.
The launch of the always compelling 5 Preview label was a near accidental event.
Although some people place the start date of 5 Preview sometime in 2010, it started two years earlier. Martensson was sitting in her apartment in Rome and decided to design a Chanel memory print on nothing more than a tank top.
The work was done by hand and she hardly did anything to promote it. She simply posted an image of her design on MySpace and musicians and stylists did the rest. Martensson, who has since returned to Stockholm, quickly became one of the most sought-after underground designers in the world.
What made 5 Preview stand out was that every shirt was handprinted, dirty and unique. Because everything was made by hand, no two shirts would ever be the same. Sure, since then Martensson and her design partner have stepped up production but they still occasionally create super limited originals.
For everyone else, looking for 5 Preview shirts can still be a bit of an adventure. Most of them are limited runs and only last a single season. Two of them that we found were in the least likely company of top-name designers, making them feel like misfits among more mainstream names.
One of the shirts we loved even bore the name "Mis Fit." Printed on extra soft 100 percent cotton, the dramatic design demonstrates why even bigger runs retain their one-of-a-kind feel. Other than the layout, the ink blots feel random. Likewise, the second design, Femme Fatale No. 221, provides a cleaner and more straightforward look but still retains everything great about underground design.
The magic that happens beyond the T-shirts.
As mentioned, T-shirts are no longer the only designs to find at 5 Preview, which Martensson named after an abbreviated take on "5-Piece Wardrobe." The label name itself was initially chosen as a foreshadow of things to come — a full line of clothing that often brings together big and bold Swedish designs with Italian sophistication and softness.
Some of her newest creations capture this uniqueness. Earlier this fall, 5 Preview set out to warm up its winter line. What they came up with was a series of sweaters: tops, cardigans, and dresses. Like many 5 Preview designs, Martensson showed off her flair for being fashionable and anti-fashionable at the same time.
Because Martensson favors loose and casual cuts that aren't meant to flatter any figure, the look carries an air of being too sensible to be concerned with what other people think. It dares women not to care, but rewards them with something soft and plush to get wrapped in.
Among some of our favorites are the seamless fluffy striped dress made of mohair, polyamide, and wool. The amazingly deep, dark colors create a nice contrast. The same overstated stripes were also incorporated into a sweater top with muted indigo and petrol.
Both illustrate why 5 Preview designs always leave an impact. The stripes are masculine, but the colors are feminine; the cut is masculine, but the material is feminine. It's an unexpected marriage of form and function, one that offers women a little bit of toughness without ever forgetting they are women.
Other striped creations play out much the same as part of the winter line. The rough knit sweater (above)— made from alpaca, wool, and acrylic — carries deeply muted colors like oxblood, petrol, peach, and black. The cuffs can be tucked or worn over the wrists.
The real flair for fashion here is that the sweater carries a post-industrial look. Others might even see a fisherman's sweater influence that has been softened by a few smart cuts, colors, and material.
5 Preview Shirts And Sweaters Knit 8.6 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
Although 5 Preview shirts are often listed as unisex, most designs skew toward women who appreciate some roughness as opposed to men who are looking for some softness. Sure, some shirts like "Mis Fit" might be sported by both sexes, but it seems to lose the second meaning in the process. Others might work better.
The "Mis Fit" and "Femme Fatale" shirts can both found at Tessabit, a very cool European fashion retailer. 5 Preview also showcases all of its designs, including the new winter line, on its own Big Cartel shop. New releases and special offerings are also featured on the 5 Preview blog. It's always worth a look.