There have been a number of key elements and emerging themes contributing to menswear trends, from vintage recycled fashions to gender fluidity and provocative designs.
At the top of that list is artist and designer collaboration, as they have subtly but surely been on the rise. It’s very likely that we’re going to see an increase of statement prints and ‘collectable’ graphics. H&M in particular, with its cunning communication agendas, perfectly encapsulates designer collaborations, offering the consumer one-off unique statement pieces. The high street store’s recent collaboration with heavy print designer Kenzo, was highly sought after and incidentally, caused the retailers website to crash once the stock went live. Designer and high street associations are great way to be inclusive, as they give the average consumer the opportunity to ‘get closer’ to their aspirational designer pieces, even if only its far from the entire ‘luxury experience’.
In recent years, fashion has become far more fluid in its approach towards menswear and womenswear. With the lines consistently blurring, the menswear market continues to advance. Various consumers’ are taking on a far more androgynous approach to style of dress in recent times, and because the market is evolving into such a diverse sector, the two categories - menswear and womenswear - are dissipating. A number of publications have claimed that fashion is becoming altogether more fluid and since its development in 2016, brands have inclusively introduced ‘genderless’ lines.
Gender Fluidity was considered ‘huge’ early last year, during Berlin Fashion Week. It was heavily reported at the time, that gender fluidity would be the ‘it’ thing to look out for. Designers have also taken on this same approach with their designs; premium brands including Burberry, Gucci and Tommy Hilfiger for example, have all undertaken mixed gender fashion shows in recent months. Further to this, another example of the diverse change in the market is pastels and pink, no longer being exclusive to women and female fashions. In the present day all colours are mutually exclusive.
Menswear has also heavily shifted towards provocative motives in fashion, introducing bolder designs to catwalks. A number of designers have used experimentation, going for the ‘extreme’, as opposed to the practical and presenting altogether unwearable – for the consumer – garments. It has been described as representing a new identity as opposed to regular ready-to-wear collections, and with a mishmash of contrasting fabrics and colours, the trend heavily represents the ‘nonstandard’.
With any fashion, new styles are constantly being recycled and renewed from existing cultures. This past year saw a number of vintage looks revived from fashion past, flares and velvet to name a few. Tailored clothing also remains an important factor to many consumers, who rely on expressing a level of professionalism similarly to our clients Laboratori Italiani, Hiltl and British icon SKOPES. More than ever, consumers are in search of sustainable and timeless products with a strong appeal, long-lasting quality and sustainability.
It would be correct to say that although the line between smart and casual is blending, many menswear enthusiasts are still passionate about crisp tailoring. The beauty of men’s fashion is that is has a consistent turnover and leaves room for brands to adapt to new trends and shifts in consumer attitudes for maximum sales and brand recognition. With the A/W 17/18 on the doorstep, I look forward to seeing the contrasting silhouettes, splashes of fresh colours and styling to complement some of those more commercially saturated shapes.