Menswear on The Rise as Gucci and Ferragamo Return

Amid a relaxed fashion week that opened with the 25th anniversary of Dsquared2 and closed with the return of Gucci to the Milan menswear calendar, designers were upbeat about the future of menswear.

 

According to a report released by market research group Euromonitor International, the menswear sector is forecast to grow 22 percent by 2024 and inched up 3 percent in 2019 versus 2018. 

 

“Growth in the menswear sector is accelerating faster than womens.  Driving the trend are the under-35 consumers and the demand for streetwear,” said Carlo Capasa, president of Italy’s fashion chamber Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana. “Buyers this week were up 20 percent, most of them from Japan, South Korea, China, the United States and the UK,” Capasa added, from his seat  in between pool tables at a billiards/caffe’ where gangster-cool, emerging act, Magliano’s fall winter show took place. Despite the signals, Italians menswear sales are expected to post a modest rise in sales of 0.3 percent in 2019, Capasa said.  

 

Between January 10 and 14, Milan hosted 26 catwalk shows and 46 presentations, where streetwear, tech-infused outerwear, sustainable, eco fashions and unisex designs took center stage.    

 

As part of a larger strategy to infuse Milan Men's Fashion shows with fresh and international names and attract more buyers, Italy's fashion chamber  linked up with its British counterpart the British Fashion Council to bring a group of ten emerging British talents to showcase here. London-based brand AlexanderMcQueen, as well as 29-year-old Samuel Ross of A-Cold-Wall* were major highlights.  The latter showcased a lineup that challenged vanguard brands and established Italian peers. A departure from the ongoing streetweartrend, Ross unfurled a savvy collection that included lush, avant-garde knits, safari jackets and elegantly tailored trench coats.  

 

Italian players like Marco de Vincenzo went out on a limb, showing only his second menswear collection - one that infused his flair for Italian cultural references and pizzazz with fine tailoring and hints of sportswear. 

 

“The first collection I did at Pitti was just a taste and I think buyers are starting to understand where we are going with this,” de Vincenzo said after the show Tuesday.  “I am very confident about the menswear line and it becoming a big part of my brand.” 

 

Historic brands couldn't stay away from the calendar, as a challenging market and the pressure to compete on an international stage to lure Chinese buyers (considered the future of the luxury market) via all possible channels is at an all time high. 

 

Ferragamo’s geo Micaela Le Divelec Lemmi told WWD this week that the decision to return to the menswear calendar was  “a natural consequence” of last year’s decision, to give the brand’s men’s wear “all the dignity it deserves,” adding that Ferragamo’s men’s wear division now accounts for around 40 or 45 percent of sales, depending on the region. 

 

Another major draw to menswear week was the inaugural edition WSM (WHITE SUSTAINABLE MILANO), the world’s first high-end trade fair that was attended by 4000 visitors and a noted presence of Asian buyers.  The event, which was supported by Italy’s fashion chamber and its buyers association, also hosted a series of talks and welcomed 20 leading tech and fashion startups.  

 

For many newcomers and young acts like Chinese designer Miaoran and Danish Han Kjøbenhavn, connecting with consumers in an emotional, cerebral way was more important than revenues or the commercial aspect. 

 

Showing in a damp warehouse on the outskirts of Milan, Kjøbenhavn shocked a small crowd of curious fashion goers with a macabre show that kicked off with a screeching, heavy metal performance around a pile of roped sacks that seemed more like body bags than a mound of trash.  Zombie-like models made-up with ghoulish, Hollywood-quality special effects  paraded around the stage.  Kjøbenhavn  said this was a reaction to the cold, dark northern European winters.  “It’s important for me to convey emotion and what I am feeling to the audience. You have to give a part of yourself.” 

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