Mens Fashion
By Esohe Ebohon

Fashion and clothing shopping has always been seen to be a women’s domain, something in which men until recently have not taken an active interest.

However for men, fashion and the pursuit of couture has always flitted in and out of favour. Think of the highly preened men of 17th century Europe with their puffed sleeves, lace collars and powdered wigs. Today men once again are interested in looking good, with roll models like David Beckham who enjoys shopping and has his own stylist – it is not ‘girly’ to want to wear cool clothes and be individual looking.

Having said that most men do not lust after fashion as obsessively as their female counterparts and this reluctance to hop aboad the fashion bandwagon has meant that large name retailers are having to reconsider their investment in their range of male clothing lines as men are simply not spendign enough money on clothes. Towards the end of 2001, ‘The Acadia Group’ in charge of some of the biggest names on the high street, including Topshop and miss selfridge, was to close the male departments of some of their biggest stores.

The managing director of Acadia claimed simply that “men are not spending enough”. Furthermore “we are unable to cater to a market that just isn’t interested” his point was fairly obvious -. If you don’t shop then we will focus on those that do.

However the Christmas holidays of 2001 was a bumper time for male fashion shopping, a stark contrast to the views expressed by Acadia as shops reported an increase in takings from their male departments

It seemed suddenly there was a rise in the number of males keen to spend their dosh. But why?

The trend can be attributed to many things including an increase in men’s style magazines and the changing patterns in the way designers are catering to male customers.

Homme and GQ are among the biggest selling magazines in the UK with FHM alone overtaking the sales of many women’s monthly magazines. As FHM et al increasingly feature fashion in their pages, they are unintentionally encouraging more men to adopt an attitude towards fashion, something they have not being previously forced to do.

Designers that originally designed for women only are beginning to introduce lines for men while high street giants such as Benetton and Gap now have extensive male sections.

Who knows how long the trend will last, but for the time being it seems we have seen an end to the time when women use to shop and their partners had no choice but to stand around. The industry’s changing attitude with the help of the media means that now while your partner shops, you can simply nip over to the male section to do some shopping of you own.

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