It's no secret that menswear is booming. It's also no secret that womenswear is still disproportionately bigger than menswear. In an essay for Style Dot Com, former Four Pins founding editor and king of the skatewear exclusive, Noah Johnson, wonders if menswear will always be second best.
It's a historical precedent that is difficult to ignore. A key quote here comes from Rag & Bone co-founder Marcus Wainwright, who states, "The men's market, particularly in the higher-end price points, is not big enough to be able to support a growing brand and to support the cost of shows, any type of advertising that you want to do, or just general running costs to build a company."
It's clear why designers defect to the other side of the gender aisle or put menswear on the back burner. The men's market remains niche, while womenswear is all-encompassing. In order to grow a brand to a high level of success, you need funds that only a womenswear collection can provide. If you want to "make it" as a designer, the women's side is tempting because it offers such quick growth, though it of course doesn't happen overnight. Consider the menswear designers and brands Johnson mentions that have grown into womenswear: Public School, Craig Green, Jonathan Anderson, Hedi Slimane and Raf Simons, just to name a few. Hedi and Raf, for all their pedigree and prior work in menswear, are now known to the fashion world at large because of their womenswear collections. And with Hedi doubling profits at SLP in his tenure there, it's easy to see how appealing womenswear is from a business perspective.
I find this reality just as much of a bummer as you do, no matter how obvious it may be. Womenswear is king. End of story. But maybe we can hold out for the day when the giants of womenswear cross over into our world for a change. I mean, who doesn't want to see The Row or Céline's Phoebe Philo cooking up some fire jawnz for us? Considering men get pretty much every single advantage in every other walk of life, we should probably keep our mouths shut and take this L.