The interest in menswear seems to have grown over the last couple of years. Traditionally, menswear shows were crammed into the schedule on the last day of the women’s shows at London Fashion Week as a sort of polite afterthought. Then in 2012 the British Fashion Council announced plans for a new menswear showcase: London Collections. Since then the popularity of and interest in menswear appears to have risen. Is this true and if so, what is the reason for this increasing popularity.
An obvious transformation that has happened in men’s clothing is that menswear has become much more interesting. Looking back at the history of menswear, men’s clothing used to be all about tailoring. There was not as much diversity in pieces as there was in woman’s clothing. Now, in 2016, this has changed dramatically with the divide between men and women fading away. Designers explore what this new female element means for menswear. As a result brands such as ‘Agi & Sam’ search for the meaning of masculinity in their latest collection. Furthermore innovative menswear trends were spotted at LC:M, such as cut outs and the recurrence of short shorts.
This social ‘agender’ trend seems to have more influence on menswear than on womenswear. This is because menswear translates easier into genderlessness. Casely-Hayford even designed menswear for women in their SS17 collection. Phoebe English explains in an interview with AnOthermagzine (Ahmed, Osman 14-06-2016) why she cast such diverse models in her SS17 presentation, “I think that is what feels really right at the moment, especially in London. It’s not just about ethnic diversity, but diversity in gender and sexuality too.”
Another reason for the rising interest in menswear is that these days London menswear brands like to make their brands as strong as possible. The designers take time to experiment with each collection to find out what their true brand identity is. Therefore their garments become much more distinct. London has always been a good place for designers to experiment in. The city is famous for its open-mindedness and creative freedom. The designer Aitor Throup makes good use of this and rediscovers his brand, but also himself in his latest show at LC:M. In a personal letter given to the visitors of his fashion show, he even describes his collection as a self-portrait. Also Sibling wants its brand to be as strong as possible and makes the decision to combine its men’s and women’s shows at LC:M. Sibling thinks that this will benefit their brand financially, but also creatively.
Anastasiia Fedorova, this seasons SHOWstudio LC:M panel discussion leader, believes that one of the main reasons the interest in menswear has grown is because menswear is not as oversaturated as womenswear. “There are less shows and less designers at LC:M, so it is easier to hear more interesting voices”, she explains. Fashion journalist ‘The Charlie Reporter’ wonders if anyone are bothered that heritage brands such as Burberry have decided to leave London Collections. He believes that young designers such as J.W.Anderson, Christopher Shannon and Grace Wales Bonner have stepped up and are becoming the most important brands at our menswear shows. Smaller brands besides have the advantage of being able to stick to their visions. They are not being restricted by the downsides of being a big business, like always having to keep your sales in mind.
In short it is true that the popularity of menswear has grown in London. Menswear has become more interesting to look at because there is more diversity in the garments. Also brands take more time to experiment with these pieces, they are eager to make their brand identity as strong as possible and they will always have this as their primary goal. London is a good place to experiment in because it is well known for its open-mindedness and creative freedom. Menswear is not as oversaturated yet as womenswear, which makes it easier to hear the designers’ voices. And it looks as if this interest in menswear will keep on growing. The highly crafted experimental pieces will become investments that customers will cherish forever. So we will see a structural shift in attention from women’s to men’s fashion.
Words by: Emilie van Kinschot
Photography: Philip Trengove, SHOWstudio, i-D-vice, Darren Black, bichromaticlife, Firstview, Chloé Le Drezen, Vogue
TagsAgi & Sam, Aitor Throup, Anastasiia Fedorova, Casely Hayford, Christopher Shannon, Emilie van Kinschot, Fashion Week, Grace Wales Bonner, LC:M, London Collections Men, Mens Fashion, Menswear, Phoebe English, Sibling,