Girls will be girls. Boys will be boys. And sometimes it’s just not quite as clear cut as that.
Androgyny in womenswear was a huge trend for AW11/12, brought to us by the likes of Frankie Morello and Dolce & Gabanna. Girls donning boy-garb is n0thing new: Marlene Dietrich was reaching for the suits back in the 1930s. With punk, utility, minimalism and oversized styles all within the 10 most-talked about womenswear styles at the moment it’s a clear indicator that the look is accepted.
What’s really interesting is how menswear and womenswear trends are becoming more closely enmeshed. Traditionally thought to be a slower-moving and less experimental market, menswear fashion is altering and movements are syncing up with its female counterpart’s. We’ve been exploring how this provides excellent opportunities for retailers, but first, the evidence.
We track our men’s and women’s trends separately, pooling data from thought-leaders, bloggers and influential voices in each sector. We combine this with what consumers are actually talking about online alongside retail data. That makes for some sit-up-and-listen information when you begin to explore the similarities in trends across the two sectors. Looking at sentiment towards prints, colours and patterns across the past year (three areas you would expect to have particularly gendered results) the differences are minimal. In the case of colours, the menswear and womenswear charts agree on every shade. The only difference is in the ranking of 20 colours, grey lists one place higher than yellow in menswear.
In prints, the top three most-talked about prints are shared across the two sectors (checked, graphics and striped). The genders only disagree further down the list where florals and tie-dye rank higher in the womenswear list than the men’s. Fabrics show a similar genderless behaviour with leather, jersey and cotton reigning as the most talked-about across the board this year. The variation between gender here lies in velvet and flannel being more popular for men and fur and cashmere more popular for women.
This is backed up by SS12 collections too. Prada used the same retro, automotive prints for both its men’s and women’s lines – and was excellently received, being the most talked-about brand at Milan Fashion Week. True, too, for Burberry in London, whose women’s and men’s prints and embellishments (yes, embellishments! Men!) overlapped and attracted huge attention.
A look to retail merchandising shows they are up to speed, and the positives in doing so. Topshop‘s Bavarian trend features, “A sumptuous and luxurious take on keeping warm for winter, Bavaria is a rich collection that draws inspiration from folk art.” Head over to Topman‘s Trans-Siberia trend and similarities ring out: “A road trip across Russia’s wilderness inspires a fusion of folkloric patterns and print with modern techniques, shapes and silhouettes.”
Synchronizing the trends of a retailer’s different divisions is appealing. Not only does research overlap, a brand’s identity is reinforced, marketing is in line and staff are working to the same beat, which can only strengthen product offering. Add to this the potential for fabric and print crossovers, decreasing minimums, and the margin for error is also minimised. So, girls will be boys and boys will be girls afterall.