Image source: The Guardian
There’s no doubt that menswear is booming at home and away: the UK men’s clothing market has seen sales rise by 22% in the past five years to reach £13.5bn in 2014, growing at a faster rate than womenswear, according to global marketing intelligence agency Mintel. As Mintel also revealed at the opening reception for London Collections: Men (LC:M), young men are equally as fashion conscious as young women, with 50% of both males and females in the UK aged 16-24 purchasing clothes in the last three months of 2014.
For the majority of young people with their eyes on the latest menswear trends, their first glimpse of the fashion shows in London or Milan this week will be via social media. Here’s our rundown of the biggest social media stories of menswear month so far – showing why the canniest brands are those that know their Instagram from their “insiders-only”.
Calvin Klein Gave Us Topless Models Off the Runway
As reported by Hannah Marriott at the Guardian, the crowd loitering outside Calvin Klein’s show at Milan Fashion Week on Sunday looked more like One Direction fans than high-fashion fans. The reason was the brand’s savviness in casting male models with huge Instagram followings (largely teenage girls), including Jesse James Duval, Filip Hrivnak and Andre Doyley. The brand also posted Abercrombie & Fitch-style, candid photos of the men in their Calvin Klein undies prior to the show – keen fans could even follow Jesse on Snapchat during his day of fittings.
Henry Holland Created a Hashtag to Remember
Henry Holland’s excitement about collaborating with legendary photographer Martin Parr for S/S 16 infused his brand’s social media presence in the build-up to LC:M, with the unforgettable hashtag #MartinFuckingParr.
After House of Holland’s hotly anticipated menswear collection got its first airing on Sunday in an Instagram-friendly presentation (no moving models = perfect posts), the collection was instantly available to buy on the brand’s newly redesigned website. It may have crashed at the time due to demand, but the collection was still a big digital win for Holland.
“Maybe we can monetise all the attention and traction you get around a show,” he told Style.com. After all, “three months later, they’ve totally forgotten and found something else”.
The New LC:M Ambassadors Waved a Flag – Or a Smartphone
Joining David Gandy, Dermot O’Leary, Nick Grimshaw and Tinie Tempah for S/S 16, British F1 champ Lewis Hamilton has been added to the current roster of ambassadors for London Collections: Men. Hamilton comes with 1.4 million followers on Instagram and 2.8 million on Twitter, giving a new degree of exposure to the exclusive events and front-row shots of fashion week.
The British Fashion Council also confirmed its first ever International Menswear Ambassador: Chinese model and actor Hu Bing. GQ editor Dylan Jones called him “a perfect choice” for the role, with a knowledge of the Chinese market and great fashion sense. The decision goes to show that menswear weeks are truly on the global stage in the digital era. Brands like Burberry – which has marketed itself heavily in the People’s Republic – will be hoping that Hu Bing’s appointment will help them translate the London look when he goes home to fashion’s biggest growth market.
Reported by Claire Healy