The boys are back in town
This year the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics take London by storm, but summer 2012 will also mark the beginning of what could be a crucial year for British men’s fashion.
The launch of London Collections: Men in June will give menswear its own fashion week in the capital. In an age where guys have the opportunity to experiment with fashion more than ever before, the launch of this new menswear-specific event is exciting yet unsurprising.
Recent years have seen male clothing make a more emphatic mark on an industry once mainly dominated by womenswear, with an impressive 9% growth in the menswear’s sector in the last year alone according to the Evening Standard.
Although menswear collections are currently allocated one day at London Fashion Week (LFW), it has been difficult to showcase the growing industry in one day, prompting the creation of the new three-day showcase.
Accessible to all
Dylan Jones, GQ editor and CSM alumni, has been quoted in the media saying that men’s day during London Fashion Week has outgrown itself: “Men consume like women now. Even 20 years ago there were issues about men spending money on clothes. Ten years ago there were issues about men spending money on beauty products. But all that’s changed now. It’s almost like a level playing field for the first time,’ he said.
Run by a committee headed by Jones that also includes Tom Ford and Christopher Bailey, the London collections will be a new opportunity for fashion-loving gents to see and purchase items from the menswear collections’ showcase.
Although some of the collections featured in the event will be created by Savile Row’s finest – and priciest – tailors, fear not! For those on a student budget Topman will also be showcasing at the event, making it accessible to all.
Men’s day had previously fallen on the last day of LFW, meaning that it also coincided with the first day of Milan Fashion Week. As a result men’s day was often overlooked by the media, who would all be keen to catch a first glimpse of the Milan collections.
Compared to Milan and Paris, London is slightly behind in regards to its focus on menswear. Menswear designers in both European fashion capitals have their own fashion weeks twice a year, making London’s new initiative long overdue. You only need to take a look around to see that thousands of British men love their fashion.
Although it is undoubtedly an exciting time for British menswear, expert Eric Musgrove, who has worked within the industry for over 32 years, is sceptical as to whether the London Collections will achieve all that is hoped.
He says: “Although I believe that the initiative will be good for the British industry in regards to publicity, there is no mass market in the UK for luxury menswear, especially within a recession. I believe that the event is likely to capture the media’s attention, but not that of buyers – which is what’s really needed if the industry is to thrive.”
Although we have all come to dread the R-word, it could be the recession that is actually behind last year’s 9% growth within the menswear industry.
In these tough economic times, people are unwilling to part with their hard-earned cash unless they know they are getting their money’s worth.
With the introduction of London Collections and with greater emphasis placed on some of the outstanding menswear designers we have in the UK, the trends that will be showcased and created for the collections will soon filter down to the High Street, meaning that they are likely to be seen around campus very soon. With all eyes on London this summer, 2012 truly could be the year of great British men’s fashion.