“For a long time men’s fashion was such a secondary part of the industry. I think the past five to ten years has truly seen a breakthrough in peoples’ perception of menswear. Diversification of men’s fashion has become much more apparent on the high street and macro trends of the past 5 years”, says young freelance fashion stylist Alice Hoar.
The ever-changing fashion industry, particularly menswear, is making it harder for designers, stylists and anyone working in fashion to keep up with the latest trends and to fulfil the needs of the consumer.
As consumers of fashion products, we want to keep up with what styles everyone is wearing and we want to know how to dress to fit into society- but it can be suggested that society is changing in terms of what men are expected to wear.
WHY IS MENS FASHION CHANGING?
Men nowadays care a lot more about how they look, they take more pride in their appearance, what they wear, how they style their hair, how they carry themselves. This has meant that fashion has had to cooperate with this change and conform to the new trends.
River Island Store Manager, Tim Jones, says that social media has played a huge part in men’s fashion becoming more mainstream and why they are now more aware of their appearance and how others are viewing them. He says that beard and grooming products are also becoming more prominent which goes hand in hand with the latest fashion trends.
He says: “Outfit building is more prominent (which was something usually only seen on women’s wear) as men are now looking to buy a whole outfit or look whereas a few years ago it would have only been a staple buy – a t-shirt or shirt to replace the worn out version they already had. Gone are the days of the graphic print t-shirts and a pair of ill-fitting denim jeans.”
With social media having such a massive impact, it’s clear that men are taking inspiration from male celebrities and how they are styling themselves, with people such as Zayn Malik, Drake, and Jared Leto having such modern styles as well as a strong presence in the industry. The combination of celebrities, social media and other men being generally more experimental with fashion- it would be hard for a man not to feel the pressure to adapt their wardrobe.
SO WHAT’S DIFFERENT?
2018 has seen some new trends that have become more popular such as bandanas, statement bomber jackets, velvet shirts, and pyjama-inspired clothes, with some of the most popular colours being white, powder blue and red.
However, there have also been many throwbacks to previous decades but with an added modern twist. These include light wash denim jackets paired with skinny black jeans, avoiding the controversial double denim look (though some people are brave enough to try it) as well as 70s inspired printed silk shirts, and patterned trousers.
While the workload for stylists and designers continues to increase and it gets harder to fit with the times and the trends that are coming in, it can also be exciting to have new and fresh ideas flowing regularly. Freelance fashion stylist Alice Hoar says that she loves the pace, “It’s so fast paced and diverse, I love that every day is different, that every week can bring something new” and it allows room for designers to be more creative. She says that back in 2007, menswear was very limited and everything was very similar but with clothing items like the ones shown above being popular, it allows creativity to thrive; meaning that fashion designers can experiment just as much as the consumer.
SO WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF FASHION LOOK LIKE?
Not only has men’s fashion changed over the past 10 years, but also the general importance of appearance has changed and where it used to be expected for mainly women to feel insecure and worry about how they look, it seems that men are now facing that issue too. Society has moved so fast in the 21st century and how we perceive life and people around us paired with the rise of social media has resulted in a general obsession with how we look.
As well as men being more concerned with appearance, society is now a lot more accepting of gender fluidity and gender neutrality, and this appears to be the next step for the fashion industry to make.
Stylist Alice Hoar says: “Gender fluidity and unisex clothing has really shone a new light on the possibility of opening up more similarities between the menswear and womenswear industries.”
On top of the progression of society, technology will also likely play a large part in the future of fashion. Topman brand manager Katie Garner says “It’s ever evolving, and at times unpredictable. We can do things now we never thought we’d be able to even just 5 years ago which makes the future very exciting.