This just in: Men are dedicated followers of fashion. A quick glance at the latest issue of GQ or a scroll through the #menswear hashtag on Instagram reveals it’s no longer taboo for a dude to dress up on the daily.
And retailers are reaping the rewards: Euromonitor has released new data on the apparel and footwear industry that found that menswear grew by 4.5 % in 2014 to reach $440 billion in sales.
What’s fueling this sartorial awakening? According to Magdalena Kondej, Euromonitor’s head of apparel and footwear research, “growth in menswear is fueled by a greater focus on personal appearance combined with large disposable income.”
Globally, these style-smart men’s annual disposable income is 50 percent higher than women’s, she added, and while Western markets still spend the most on apparel, Asia Pacific is catching up.
In response, brands traditionally focused on womenswear have now started opening dedicated menswear outlets to take advantage of the growing trend. Athleisure giant Lululemon opened its first-ever menswear store in New York’s SoHo last November. A few blocks from there is the new Michael Kors mecca which includes a lower level devoted to men’s threads. Even luxury lingerie line La Perla plans to open a men’s shop in Milan next summer.
“Menswear presents a great opportunity for fashion brands looking to diversify their product portfolios and reach out to new consumers,” Kondej said. “The more effectively brands are able to harness wealth and unique consumption cultures of male consumers, the more successful they will be.”
All the more reason why the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) recently announced the launch of New York Fashion Week: Men’s. Following in the footsteps of London, Milan and Paris, it’s not an actual week but a biannual three-day event that kicks off July 13 and will showcase the Spring ’16 collections from the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein Collection, Rag & Bone and Billy Reid.
“American menswear has never been stronger or more creative,” CFDA CEO Steven Kolb said in a statement. “It gives the designers a business platform to show during their market dates and is an opportunity to demonstrate the collective talent of an important segment of our industry.”
Whether men’s new-found interest in style comes from the catwalk, social media or the street, Euromonitor doesn’t expect it to slow down any time soon: The market research company predicts that menswear will contribute to close to $40 billion in the global apparel market by 2019, with men’s shirts, jeans, jackets and coats forecast to be the top performers over the next four years.