Menswear is important right now. It’s a market set to have a tantalizing compounded annual growth of five percent over the next two years.
Salivating over those figures is Nordstrom, which will open its first menswear-only store this April. And our data shows that pure play e-comm menswear retailers have grown their assortment by 45% in the last two years.
But as an industry we are not unanimous in our approach to menswear. Our software also detected an 11% decrease in menswear at department stores in the last two years (compared to 6% cut back in women’s). And then there’s the matter of runway shows.
New York today closes out the month of men’s shows, a somewhat more scattered affair than its women’s counterpart. With many collections now fusing the two genders into one show, it’s still up in the air whether New York will host a separate menswear event next season. But this isn’t an issue inherent to menswear – the industry is reconsidering its approach to runways full stop.
Whatever happens with the shows, the need for a unified market has never been greater – after all, it’s that which will inspire the consumer and lure him away from experiential, travel and technology spend. To do that, we need trends. And here they are.
Brands and retailers, make sure these pieces and themes feature in your Fall 2018 menswear assortment.
1. Focus on movement
Travel was a major theme on the Fall 2018 runways – directly mirroring the luxury menswear customers’ current lifestyle, where global travel is a given.
One interpretation of this theme was to clash global references for the modern day nomad. At Marni homely knits were paired with Chinese brocade and utility jackets. Haider Ackermann paired brocade kimono with velvet, a Breton stripe and military boots.
Elsewhere travel took on an explorer theme. But there’s one aspect that should be adhered to for any brand – the functionality and demanded versatility of the clothes we wear when travelling. The male consumers lives are more mobile than ever before. How can their wardrobes accommodate this shifting landscape? Time to get serious about technical fabrics and versatile silhouettes.
Key items: technical outerwear, multi-pocketed cargo pants, hiker boots and worldly fabrics and prints.
2. Collab on collab on collab
Menswear brands excel with collaborations and Fall 2018 is strong. N.Hoolywood put reworked Timberland, Lee and Carhartt classics on its runway and Liam Hodges once again collaborated with Fila.
The most retail-ready was Junya Watanabe’s ongoing myriad partnerships, with Canada Goose, North Face, Karrimor, Carhartt, New Balance and Levi’s. Workwear was the theme of the day, as the collection was strewn with reflective panels and utility pockets.
Hopefully this is a precursor for the women’s shows – unique product in scarce quantities give the industry its buzz.
3. Vertical slogans
You’ve received the memo that logomania has returned, but how to update it for Fall 2018? Well, think vertically. Following the Fall 2017 retail success of the Gucci side-striped tracksuits, the runways were packed with slogans running down the side of pants, along arms or positioned vertically on jackets.
It’s a perfectly simple way of referencing the season without having to develop entirely new lines. Go get it!
4. Tartan checks
Loud, punky tartans on streetwear shapes feel super fresh, but really they’re just reworks on two hits within your artillery. At Astrid Andersen, tartan was mixed with digital prints, at Bobby Abley they were worked into wide basketball shorts and bowling shirts and at Versace a vibrant overcoat. Dries Van Noten played with the traditional kilt, layering a half-kilt over pants.
Just 14% of Fall 2017’s print arrivals were checks, but they sold better than geometrics, graphics and stripes.
Just 14% of Fall 2017’s print arrivals were checks, but they sold better than geometrics, graphics and stripes
5. Dropped shoulder tees
It’s a basic you need in your collection. Drop the shoulder seams on t-shirts for a slouchier, more streetwise look in regular cotton jersey. Or use heavier weight and create a boxy look that’s very now.
Just 0.09% of menswear tees that are currently in stock have dropped shoulders, and mostly dominated by sportswear brands, so this one is open for owning in retail.
Look to Dior, Vetements, White Mountaineering and Sunnei for the best takes on the new staple.
6. Baseball caps
It’s not like baseball caps were ever out as such, but for Fall 2018 they’re a high fashion styling item. And we’re not talking the flat brimmed or five-panel kind that have trended for a couple of years. We mean the 90s, curved front sort. These will be vital merchandizing pieces for fall, especially in combination with a football scarf.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks when we’ll be reviewing the women’s show across each city. Sign up to our Insider Briefing here and you’ll be the first to know when new analysis is published.