Gone are the days when brands and retailers focused on womenswear, while menswear was given a huge royal snub. This is no more the case! Menswear is evolving and helping to give birth to the style-savvy male consumers on whom the fashion industry is relying as the overall luxury market growth continues to be slow. The rise of these fashion-conscious men is partly due to the stylish celebrities who are influencing men to pay attention to their wardrobes and redefining menswear.
As the global menswear market continues to grow, the fashion industry is seeing it as a positive sign against slow growth and rising uncertainty. According to Euromonitor International, the global market for men’s designer apparel is projected to reach nearly US $ 33 billion in 2020, up 14 per cent from US $ 29 billion in 2015. In comparison, the overall market for personal luxury goods will grow not more than 2 to 3 per cent over the next four years, reaching ¤ 280 billion to ¤ 295 billion – or US $ 318 billion to US $ 335 billion at current exchange rates – in sales revenue in 2020, according to Bain & Company.
In lieu of this, it comes as no surprise that brands such as Stella McCartney, Coach, etc. that are showcasing their menswear collection in London are betting high on menswear to help drive growth. These brands are helping to expand the market by educating consumers and pushing the boundaries of men’s fashion further ahead. Moreover, luxury brands such as Hermès, Lanvin, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, etc. have also expanded their menswear offerings and are dedicating standalone stores to menswear. Prada, which predominantly is a women-focused business, has announced that over the next 3-5 years it hopes to double its menswear sale to US $ 2 billion and would add 50 more dedicated men’s shop to its existing 30. Others are following suit, such as Kering and LVMH are making significant investments in their respective luxury menswear brands, Brioni and Berluti.
Nonetheless, as the high-end luxury market with brands such as Givenchy, Saint Laurent and Gucci opens up to the menswear through dramatic designs, cuts and office wear, the high street brands are not far behind. Nike still remains the top men’s fashion brand, according to a 2015 report by Euromonitor, while H&M ranks #2 (up from #3 in 2005), Uniqlo ranks #5 (up from #9) and ZARA ranks #6 (up from #13). H&M, a Swedish fast-fashion multinational clothing-retail company, is reportedly mulling over opening standalone menswear stores in the UK, thus joining the list of New Look, ZARA and Jigsaw, that have opened their standalone menswear store. New Look launched its first standalone menswear stores in the UK a year ago, and it further plans to launch menswear-specific stores in France and China by the end of this year. Inditex-owned ZARA has also expanded its UK store portfolio with dedicated menswear shops, while Jigsaw has opened several stores around London. Apart from high-end and streetwear, the market has also opened up opportunities for the advanced contemporary labels such as Ami and Acne, whose product offerings are aesthetically aligned to the consumer’s need but at reasonable pricing.
Historically, fashion has always been associated with womenswear, but over the years with rise of popular television series, internet and celebrity endorsements, men’s fashion has officially gone mainstream. In fact, the rise of internet has played a crucial role in promoting menswear as consumer research firm Mintel reports that one-third of men shop online for clothes, which supports and explains the rise of menswear category. Earlier, men’s fashion was restricted to a professional suit and buying of designer clothes outside the workplace was less accepted and restricted, but now this seems to be changing for the good. As streetwear gains traction, khaki chinos and button down shirt are no longer restricted to ‘casual Friday’ dressing. While offices still require men to wear suit to work, it is no longer the only category in which guys are willing to spend. Shoes, in fact, are the fastest growing category in menswear, with men’s shorts and trousers coming in second, according to Euromonitor.
Now various brands and retailers alike are thrusting towards menswear which was initially considered as the least profitable segment of the fashion industry. In recent years, the consumer demand for incessant newness and constant feeding of internet has led to menswear becoming a lifestyle rather than a trend.