“Now then, men’s fashion is a growing industry with menswear sales growing globally by 9% over the past year. Now not a lot of people know that!” as a Michael Caine impressionist might say. So does this ‘blow the doors off?’ And does it mean men around the world are becoming more stylish, are embracing distinctive designs, spending more on clothes, and taking over from what has always been thought to be the Italians’ job? (…. see what I did there?)
Well, it’s worth noting that the UK menswear fashion market is currently valued at £10 billion, and is one of the industry sectors showing early signs of emerging from the recession, with predicted rates of growth of 1.5% (Source: Men’s Fashion Lifestyles 2011, Mintel Retail). However, the global luxury menswear market which makes up 40 percent of the global market, is worth €180 billion (£150 billion) – and is averaging growth levels of up to 14% year on year (Source: Bain & Co, December 2011). The drivers of this growth coming predominantly from the BRIC economy countries, notably China. What’s exciting Britain’s menswear designers is that British design and tailoring, is held in high esteem around the world. Britain’s luxury fashion brands are associated with quality and are highly desirable, and proving to be irresistible to discerning fashion buyers with higher disposable incomes. It’s the growth and size of the markets in the developing BRIC economy countries and Asia that is creating ever-increasing demand for high quality British menswear brands and product – and it’s this trend that has galvanized the UK’s menswear industry to up their game and push hard to capitalise on their reputation in the global market.
Over the weekend I dropped into London Collections: Men. Organised by The British Fashion Council, this 4-day event in London was bringing the focus on the creative talent that exists in the capital, and showcases the emerging thinking and offerings of world leading designers working here in the UK.
This interests me for a number of reasons;
- I am working with a start-up menswear fashion label, which has high hopes and will be aimed at fashionable men and style leaders in their 20’s, 30’s and 40’s at the quality end of the market.
- The prime market opportunities for British menswear are global, especially in Asia and the BRIC economy countries.
- The fashion label and the two very talented designers behind it are proudly British and London based.
This has clearly captured the imagination of the UK’s menswear industry and its supporters, with Dylan Jones Editor of GQ magazine heading up a group of distinctive designers, names, and celebrities banging the drum in celebration of the creative talent on show.
It’s at this point I have to admit that over the years, I haven’t been overly concerned in dressing as a style leader. My approach, like many men has been ‘get what you need when you need it’, which invariably means a ‘bulk buy’ shopping excursion maybe once, or twice a year. However, I’ve always been mindful of what’s fashionable, I know the ‘dressing rules’ and have a good eye for what’s stylish, and dare I say I’m pretty good at ‘dressing for the occasion’.
I can proudly announce that in recent years with my growing appreciation of the fashion industry, and the creative talent that exists here in the UK, I have gradually been upgrading my own wardrobe. Just the past week, I decided to combat the unending rain blighting our summer by investing in a black Ventile mac by Oliver Sweeney. At this rate I am dangerously close to becoming a dedicated follower of fashion!