Catwalk Versus High Street – London Collections Men

Catwalk Versus High Street – London Collections Men

London Collections: Men - Jan 2013Whilst literally running from event to event, I had to remind myself that fashion on the streets is where it’s at. I always try to keep an open mind and remember that it’s not about what I like on a man, it’s about what each individual person has chosen to wear as a statement to the rest of the world about his own personal style. So when I spot, what I think is, a well-dressed man – I am thinking to myself: How has he put the outfit together and where has his inspiration come from?

Being in London, I just could not get enough of what I was seeing! The following images are what I thought encapsulated what I define as an accurate representation of London Collections: Men 2013.  Our message throughout the three days, in every interview, was very clear.

How do the catwalk collections we saw this week, reflect and identify themselves to the men on the high street? Who are they marketed towards?

I felt that high-end, sometimes expensive fashion, was a common message throughout, and we were expected to live in a costly fantasy world. However, a vast majority of men do not live that life, let alone are able to afford it.

I also found it odd that the majority of the designers refused to engage with the press or explain the messages they were trying to convey. I encountered this 20 years ago, I did not expect it to still be a problem in 2013. For me, this mentality is dated and needs to be eradicated. As a designer, you need to engage with your target market. Is this not the point of putting yourself out there? So we, as journalists, can tap into your creative heads and spread the word of your ideas and opinions to the rest of the world? I have run a successful internet business in the past, so I know that one vital part of running a business is to be clear about who your target market is – let alone engage and connect with them!

The Man on The High Street

I’m learning very quickly by styling men and asking them what they define as fashionable; that it all comes down to what they feel comfortable in and what they can identify with. So here are the questions that I pose: Is the current catwalk set up for men, corresponding with how the average man thinks? Does it teach him how to embrace new trends and encourage him to feel confident in wearing the clothes presented? Can he identify with the models and think to himself “can I create that look”? From what I’ve seen so far, my thinking is; generally not. But I am not saying that this ideal fashion mind-set is never going to happen and I am well aware that there are those unique and wonderful few brands whose ethos is exactly this – I applaud them! Men’s fashion is quickly racing to the foreground, so let’s begin tapping into to the male mind and start zoning in on how we can get the average man to start taking interest in his image.

Hentsch Man got it to spot on for me. Its collection was in the store and available to anyone who wanted to try it on. You could interact with the models and ask what they liked the best. More importantly, the men wearing the collection were the key to the success of the label. They looked damn-right dapper and confident in what they wore, this was reflected in the way that they talked to everyone. Connecting with your market can be the turning point in the career of a brand.

Comfortable Wear

I noticed nearly every man in the room, loved what they saw. They could easily identify the pieces of the collection that they would want to wear and buy. Discussing with others in the room how parts of the new collection could tie into their current wardrobe. Ladies and Gentlemen we have to understand one thing: men’s fashion is just starting to evolve and we are not even close to where it’s headed. One discussion I had at Selfridges was, whether its current clientele was not ready for big changes yet. The store manager explained that the men still bought very familiar items of clothing and it is a slow climb to get a man to steer away from familiarity and get him out of his comfort zone.

I loved the designs I saw at London Collections: Men 2013 and was excited to see such an involvement since a break-though in men’s fashion is long overdue. But I am not interested solely in the well-dressed man, in fact, its just the opposite. My interest lies with the man who has no idea how to embrace a new trend and needs guidance when it comes to styling himself. I want to encourage him to just look and find inspiration from the streets of where he lives and ask himself; is this the best I can look?

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Image Credits: Maria Scard

About The Author

Gracie Opulanza

Global menswear and luxury lifestyle journalist. Co-founder and editor in chief of Men Style Fashion. is my personal blog. Protection Status

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