It’s encouraging that menswear is experiencing what is being called a ‘global menaissance’. Men are spending more money on clothes since 1998, and in 2013 sales growth in men’s clothing outperformed women’s in a number of key markets, including the US, UK and Germany, according to a report by Euromonitor.
Earlier this year, The Wall Street Journal also determined a new fashion male archetype which I found amusing. “He just got back from temple-hopping in Laos or weekending in Gstaad,” WSJ wrote of fashion’s new ideal man. “He is passionate about wine, vintage cars and photography. He admires the style of 1960s-era Keith Richards and Michael Caine. He is an eclectic entrepreneur with money to blow on luxury clothing.”
In June, I was amazed when Burberry Prorsum presented a show consisting of lace shirts and ties styled under suits at the Spring/Summer 2016 London Collections Men. They were lovely but not ladylike, pieces that probably would interest WSJ’s new fashion male. Continuing a timeline of exciting things in menswear, the first stand-alone men’s New York Fashion Week (NYFWM) finally happened last month. Men’s collections in New York are normally shown with the women’s in September, but showing two months earlier allows American menswear labels to sell to buyers on a more favourable market calendar.
It also gives up-and-coming menswear designers in the US a more experimental, less frenetic environment for showcasing their work from out and under the shadow of womenswear.
Public School, for example, is a young and buzzworthy NY-based label that will continue contributing to men’s fashion based on its cool factor alone at NYFWM. Co-founders Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne staged a presentation-cum-social commentary in a faux prison lineup rather than on a conventional catwalk. Models were ‘inmates’ announced one-by-one in street-inspired, gray-scale anoraks and grid-lined shirts with shorts or baggy trousers. They were Asian, black, white. A Sikh wore a turban. There was swagger and diversity.
If that doesn’t help shake up men’s fashion, menswear does have a newly-anointed It Boy who might. He’s a 189cm-tall, 16-year-old Mormon model from Utah named Lucky Blue Smith, and his siblings are also models. Google him and it’s easy to understand why he has 1.2 million followers on Instagram. That kind of fashion social media influence and potential hashtag power is ridiculous. And yet it’s so awesome that soon everyone may become familiar with ‘#theglobalmenaissance’ in no time.
Ruben Luong is AsiaLIFE’s style editor. Contact him at email@example.com