The Emerging Menswear Category
Since I’ve decided to take the leap and officially begin writing about men’s fashion, I figured I should start with a post discussing the current state of menswear from my perspective, as a marketing professional and rabid fashion consumer. With the menswear fashion market reaching $440 billion in sales in 2014 according to Euromonitor International, now is as good a time as any to officially launch this platform dedicated to the category with a specific focus on Men’s Designer Sportswear. This obviously means I am going to spend a great deal of time speaking about and highlighting the intersection of high fashion and streetwear. Before I get into the styles upon styles upon styles we see across the globe, predominantly on our screens today, I want to talk about what has been happening from a sociological and economic perspective over the past decade. What sort of macro social and economic trends have fueled the growth of menswear? This has been written about plenty, so I am simply gong to provide you with some quick bullets. The growth in menswear can be attributed to the following trends . . .
Shifting Perceptions of Masculinity
Attitudes regarding what is and is not appropriate for men have certainly changed. We are living in a more progressive society and men are focusing much more on their appearance. What was once laughable became “metrosexual”. What was once “metrosexual” has now become standard.
Growth of the Internet
What was once limited to the pages of a glossy magazine can now be seen online. You can literally see what people are wearing all over the globe 24/7. #OOTD
Growth of E-commerce
The rise of online shopping has eliminated the often time-consuming hassle and stigma of shopping for men. It’s certainly way more convenient and relatively anonymous.
Is it a small world after all? False. We see you China!!!
The Democratization of Fashion
Not only are the designs and styles more accessible than ever, the entire fashion industry, from inspiration to presentation, are exposed to anyone with an acute curiosity. The fashion world can be seen in 24/7 reality TV and social media. In addition, fast fashion retailers have given a larger demographic of both men and women access to trendy apparel. Fashionistas on a budget now have affordable access to styles that closely mimic those of their favorite designers. The fast fashion retailers who use speed to market as a strategic imperative ensure that the styles continue to come fast and furious.
The trends mentioned above have fueled the growth of the menswear category and the effects can be seen at the store level. Brands traditionally focused on womenswear have now started opening separate menswear stores, while department stores such as Barneys New York are starting to revamp their menswear sections. This has been particularly true in the luxury market, which remains underexploited for men’s fashion.
I find the intersection of high fashion and streetwear particularly interesting. This niche within the luxury market has grown along with the Gen X and Millennial audience whose youth was shaped by streetwear, sneakers, skating, punk, grunge, metal, hip-hop, (name your favorite sub-culture). Therefore, it only makes sense that in adulthood these gentlemen with established careers and greater disposable income would be drawn to an innovative, presumably higher-quality brand that exhibits a street sensibility. Growing older doesn’t mean you have to abandon your “streetness”, does it? The younger generations (Millennials & Gen Z) who look up to the older cats, and probably consume more media, also aspire to get in on the action with these luxury brands. Let’s be real . . . these types of brands are aspirational to most. Consumers of varying socio-economic degrees can all find something lust-worthy.
As men’s fashion progresses, hommeschool will be here to keep you up to date on the grails . . . the must-cops . . . the lust-worthy. Stay tuned.