Just as fashion week was coming to an end in Paris, GQ Editor, Dylan Jones announced that menswear is going to have its own fashion week in London from June onwards.
He explained in his speech that men’s fashion has never been so important in the UK and “the extraordinary appetite for menswear can be seen at all levels, from the High Street to Bond Street’.
In cities such Milan and Paris the menswear designers already get their own fashion week twice a year but now more than ever menswear is becoming a prominent part of fashion in London.
Barry Tulip, the design director of London – based tailor, Gieves and Hawkes, argues that menswear in Britain up until the 1950s was dominant.
He says: “Britain has been known for its men’s wear, it has been a really important, and it is only recently that women’s wear has taken over. For London to have its own men’s fashion week it is something that we definitely needed. The country not to have its own dedicated men fashion is strange, to have e men’s fashion week is a step forward”.
British fashion generated more than £20 billion last year, making twice as much as the car industry according to a report by British fashion council.
It is no secret that within the fashion world men have had a huge influence on what the next step will be in designs, trends and even producing the clothes.
As early as the 1820s, Charles Frederick Worth became the first male dressmaker. Before him people would purchase fabrics separately and then take them to a dress maker to be made up. For four decades as a British dressmaker, Worth was a dominant force in Western fashion, developing many of the fundamental components of the modern fashion system.
The designer who revolutionised women’s wear in the fashion industry, Coco Chanel, integrated her personal – style with men’s clothing, bringing menswear materials and new silhouettes of comfort and sleekness to women’s fashion.
Fashion editors argue that she learned all her sense of elegance from men, without their inspiration Chanel would have not become the admired designer she is today. But it was not until 2001 that for the first time Chanel launched their first small high – quality collection of menswear.
Tulip says: “When you look at Chanel’s men’s wear, who would have thought that Chanel would have been able to do a men’s wear; twenty years ago it would have been completely inconsolable – it may not be the biggest part of their company but the fact that they have a men’s wear line says a lot.”
Stores buying clothes to sell to men have finally realised menswear can be as lucrative as women’s wear even though they two different worlds according to Tulip.
He says: “From a design perspective the amount of change that you can incorporate into a design is a lot greater in women’s fashion because menswear has the tendency to evolve slower and less possibilities to be as extreme then it always has to be seen in a different light”.
In an interview with the BBC the design director of Topman, Gordon Richardson claims that there are a lot more fashion cautious men that are buying clothes with more ‘colour, print and pattern’.
Tulip says: “Men have realised that there is more choice out there for them, more brands are expanding into menswear”.
Not only have men in Britain become more experimental with the clothes they purchase but they are also taking more time to style them out. Research carried out for Travelodge found that on average a man spends just over 80 minutes a day to get ready whereas a woman spent around 70 minutes.
What British designers are doing well at the moment is that they are designing wearable men’s clothes suggests fashion designer Wayne Hemingway during an interview with BBC. He says: “In some countries such as Italy, the designs look so mad sometimes that no one would really wear them outside the runway”.