Should menswear go the route of ladieswear, often showcasing fashion that is inaccessible to many and that most men really won’t be interested in? At a time when trends are set on the streets and not so much on the runway anymore, how advisable is it that runway fashion remains a showcase of the unattainable? These are some of the questions running through my head after reading a Business of Fashion article questioning the need for the all-new menswear runway events currently playing out globally.
Colin McDowell writes about conversations he had with young men queuing up at streetwear stores in London to buy the latest ranges and says: “The dismissal of London designer fashion from the guys in the Supreme queue made me wonder what, behind the hype and hysteria, is the point of organised men’s fashion events like London Collections: Men?”
“Are these jamborees of any value to real consumers? Or are they no more exciting than warmed up fish and chips, there only to provide fodder for magazines that make money from advertising bought by big brands, which are able (and often willing) to pay sums way out of all proportion to the very small circulations of most menswear magazines? Certainly, when I go into my local newsagent, I see at least a dozen men’s magazines with such minute circulations — ‘niche’ they are called, though many might also call them vanity publishing — that I wonder what on earth their purpose might be.”
This, in my opinion, is something the local industry has to guard against and I’m glad that SA Menswear Week is showcasing the runway fashion we are accustomed to, alongside streetwear with the likes of Young n’ Lazy being added to the line-up, as Skattie reported last week. Of course, we’ve seen streetwear labels showcasing at various fashion week platforms in this country before but it has not been on this scale and I’ve mentioned before that the existence of SAMW is particularly important because menswear as a category is currently experiencing unprecedented growth. Showcasing menswear as a niche area of interest within a bigger ladieswear platform is simply no longer sustainable. Homegrown South African streetwear fashion is also just so exciting that I think it’s important that the fashion week platform is used to shine a light on this often sidelined, but super popular segment.
Images from Young and Lazy lookbook