In many ways, fashion reflects the societal and culturally significant issues that threaten our freedom to express ourselves authentically. Fashion has deconstructed gender norms and redefined what masculinity means. It's becoming more apparent that the definition of what manhood means in 2017 and beyond is becoming muddied (I'd be remisced if I did not credit Prince for his visionary aesthetic). Being that the title of this blog is Modern Oaks, I felt encouraged to provide some narrative around the evolving state of the modern man.
Now, I can only speak from my experience but in my lifetime we have observed men's fashion grow into a profitable fashion segment that consists of unique aesthetics. In fact, just look at the last ten years and how we have progressed.
Skinny Jeans. Chelsea Boots. European tailored suits. Crop Tops. The list goes on.....
In 2007 (the year I graduated high school), wearing skinny jeans was somewhat taboo. It was not seen everywhere and reserved only for unique crowds. For men, the availability in purchasing this fit of jeans was far and few (the styles and distresses were even fewer).
Fast Forward to present day and the once referenced 'fad' of wearing skinny jeans has graced the runways of nearly all respected fashion houses around the world. Availability has not just sustained, it has grown to where nearly every clothing store/brand carries a skinny fit for both men and women.
There has been another revolutionary shift in menswear as of late (and it is definitely destined to shake up the landscape even further). Clothing fabrics and styles that were once exclusive to women are finding themselves to the men's department. So, what fabrics and fits are changing the culture?
Mesh. Lace. Cashmere. Silk. Thigh High Boots. Just to name a few.
Just like the skinny fit jean, it's going to take a while for these styles of choice to be embraced by the 'play it safe' crowd. However, if history repeats itself, at least one of these fabrics or fits will stand the test of time and change the dynamic and trajectory of menswear. In fact, in the years to come, I believe we'll just be purchasing unisex garments and styles (ridding ourselves of womenswear and menswear labels altogether). There are brands that have already adopted this marketing technique (m/f people, TILLYandWILLIAM, and Rad Hourani to name a few) to appeal to the non-gender conforming and trans communities. I don't necessarily think of these labels as trendsetters as much as I do early adopters. They've recognized the shift designers were making with their pieces and anticipated how these products would be sold five years from now. Big retailers such as H&M and Zara have observed the trend for a while and insist that their clothes are non binary; but blank shirts and oversized fitting clothing doesn't substantially articulate gender non comforming.
Now, everything... some things... or nothing I say may come true in seasons to come; my role as a fashion enthusiast is to ignite the conversation. However, I am anxious to hear your thoughts on how menswear has evolved and what you believe the future looks like for existing and emerging menswear designers. Drop a comment below and share with your friends!