Okay, that HED was admittedly a bit clickbaity. I'll admit that. But the headline isn't that far from the reality of what's happening in fashion right now. According to AdWeek, well-known women's brands are running, not walking, to design men's clothing. With the incessant growth of the men's fashion business (reportedly over five percent annually to nearly $61 billion), the execs at women's labels have realized the men's market is here to stay. The days of men as "reluctant shoppers" aka swagless drones are over.
Experts like Esquire's Nick Sullivan and GQ's Jim Moore weigh in on the women's brands reaching across the aisle and note that athletes are huge boosters of the men's retail market. According to them, the awareness of high-end brands that was formerly effective in only large urban markets (read: NYC, LA, Chicago) has expanded. This rush to design menswear is already in motion at notable women's brands. Tory Burch announced the debut of a men's accessories line set for spring 2015 and Michael Kors has crafted detailed plans to expand its menswear offerings, even mentioning the possibility of opening 500—FIVE HUNDRED—freestanding men's outposts in the near future.
But will guys be willing to slip on a TB bracelet or a Michael Kors shirt and not be embarrassed? This, my friends, is the most important question. We've written about the occasional co-opting of a women's garment for our wardrobes, but somehow this situation feels different. Could reception vary based on a brand's current reputation in the women's market?
This is all an extremely delicate scenario in my mind. As Jim Moore mentions, the marketing will have to be just right and the execution spot-the-fuck-on. Brands will have to be dedicated to building a men's label or else the experts will just shun that shit from day one with zero remorse.