In the face of the economic recession (or Moneygeddon as rebranded by Newswipe) Charlie Porter for the FT recently reported that men’s wear sales rose one per cent to $4bn (as women's apparel sales fell 6%) but the first nine months of 2008. This is spending which runs counter to what might be expected in a time of rising unemployment, curtailed bonuses and the seemingly all encompassing thick, choking smog of doom and gloom we are told to fear. So does menswear provide the first green shoot of the economy recovery?
It is a little silly to go over board about a one percent rise but the optimism is justifiable. It seems that however bad things get, the luxury male consumer will go on about his ordinary way of consuming as long as labels provide the service and quality expected of them. We have spent a lot of time thinking about luxury in the downturn following our post on the subject. It is certainly true that some brands are struggling and many of those that are deserve to, after churning out poor quality products adorned with sky high price tags but there many brands who are taking advantage with their cautious optimism. Tom Ford puts the success of the label down to the clothes being perceived as investments and we certainly approve the idea of investment pieces and the art of wardrobe building as preached to us by Patrick Grant's E. Tautz label.
One of the shining lights of menswear in recent years has been the house of Lanvin. In every line of every interview that I've read featuring him, Lucas Ossendrijver always leaves me nodding my head in approval, on this subject he provide the following snippet of wisdom;
“With men, it’s more about needs, if they buy something, it’s really because they need something.”
If I'm honest I frequently buy more than I actually need but at the time I convince myself that a need exists but so many chaps I know practice the described generalisation. As a result, of this understanding, Ossendrijver doesn't strive to design whole looks, but rather he designs pieces. For him it is not necessarily about a total outfit but the individual parts that make up a wardrobe. This is a healthy way to look at men's fashion in any economic climate but certainly when things get a little tight. The key is to look at collections for key pieces which will truly add something new, something different to your wardrobe and then enjoy them.