“It’s exciting to see men are becoming more adventurous. the biggest factor in the growth of menswear is the rise of online shopping”
their own shopping decisions and enjoying the shopping experience is the catalyst for growth,” says Joo Woo, divisional merchandise manager of menswear for the Lane Crawford group. “There was very little interest in men looking after themselves— from grooming to dressing and fitness—10 to 15 years ago. Now the men’s fashion industry is catching up with women in understanding the importance of having a point of view in representing oneself.
“In China, more men are becoming sensitive to fashion trends, and eager for more styles and self-expression. Men are discovering their own sense of style. If your father was transitioning out of Mao suits and you’ve made your money or are in the process of doing that, and you’re entrepreneurial, you don’t want to wear tailoring. Or if you do, it’s going to be made-to-measure and you’re going to have fun with it.”
More and more stores are placing emphasis on suggested total looks, realising that men also like the idea of experimenting with different ways of mixing and matching. Mr Porter, the menswear division of online retailer Net-a-porter, now counts Hong Kong as one of its top three markets—a measure of how seriously the city’s male residents treat clothes, with the current best-selling brands listed as J Crew, Nike, Givenchy, Thom Browne and Lanvin. Male shoppers also want to look good when they hit the hay: to date, the online retailer has sold more than 1,000 sets of designer jim-jams.
Another online retailer, Matches Fashion, is capitalising on the internet-leaning shopping habits of men in Asia. Fashionistas from Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta and Hong Kong are likely to be the first in line for sought-after items from young, cutting-edge designers such as Craig Green, a biker jacket from Saint Laurent or a cult sneaker from Y-3. Other favourites among discerning shoppers are niche brands such as Lemaire, Undercover and Haider Ackermann.
“It’s exciting to see that men are becoming more adventurous,” says Damien Paul, head of menswear at Matches Fashion. “I’d say the biggest factor in the growth of menswear is the rise of online shopping. It’s given men much more access to luxury fashion and allows them to be braver. They can order pieces that they perhaps wouldn’t try on instore and see how they look from the comfort of their own home. Men are also increasingly turning to our private shopping service— either online through our Mystylist team or by visiting our private townhouse when they come to London. They respond to that more personal level of customer service—having someone there to give style or fit advice and to make suggestions. They’re also looking for convenience; they want to be able to find the products that suit their lifestyle as easily as possible. We recently introduced ‘studios’ on our site to help with this. Our collections can be filtered to show categories like wardrobe classics, sports-luxe pieces or essentials, and we’ve seen a really strong response.”
That newly bespoken aesthetic obsession in menswear has been raised a notch with the recent release of Secret Service film Kingsman. Online etailer Mr Porter has collaborated with the director, Matthew Vaughn, costume designer, Arianne Phillips, and a dream team of British heritage brands to create a menswear label that refreshes the modern gentlemen’s wardrobe. The result is a 60-piece collection that includes suits, watches, ties, umbrellas, briefcases and more. The suit is a modern gentlemen’s armour, and Kingsman agents are its new knights.
From metrosexual to style cavaliers, the menswear battleground is one almighty tussle for supremacy. May the best-dressed win.