The future of menswear looks liberating
Traditional notions of gendered clothing are very much going out of style for men, we’ll explain
words Rhys Thomas
London Fashion Week has come, sent us dreaming, and gone again. But it hasn’t vanished without leaving an impression. As we know, menswear takes fashion cues from exactly four places. Traditional tailoring, traditional sport and labour (hello workwear), skaters, and sex or kink parties. But this year, more than most, people who like menswear have a lot more to lay back and think about because more designers seem to be adding menswear and genderless clothing to their collections. Off the bat, this suggests menswear is getting more consideration than ever before, so you could say the future of menswear, broadly, looks good! But what does it look like more specifically?
Initially, it looks a lot more gender-fluid. Gone are the handful of shapes and crops trousers can hang in; skirts, short shorts, cropped trousers, jorts, asses out. We’re also seeing figures played with more and more. Sure there’s always been drainpipe straight and inverted triangles as desired silhouettes for guys, depending on what sort of look you want, but now, as was evident in collections from the likes of Burberry and Stefan Cooke, there’s also hourglass looks that further accentuate a snatched waist, big draped one-pieces that hide the body in a not inverted triangle, and much in between. Which is great, finally there’s going to be more shape to explore in menswear!
Much of this isn’t strictly new, we have seen skirts and dresses on men before, both in cultural contexts and also in high fashion spaces. What’s different is that in the future, these concepts are going to become more commonly worn. And menswear generally is getting androgynised, leaning more femme than ever before. Mainstream menswear is about to become free from the shackles of being very safe, and often-time, very very boring. Men are going to be showing leg, they are going to have clothes that float and take on a life of their own beyond the slight sway of a boxy wide-legged pant, there’s more cut outs, there’s layers. Essentially, menswear is being looked at more like women’s wear – they said guys like to dress up too!
If we want to fully look to the future, how about the emerging new designers, like . those just coming out of the Menswear MA at Westminster. Their show late on the Monday of fashion week may show a specific subset of creatives coming out of one pocket of London’s booming design scene, but it’s full of potential. A large theme of the show was scrutinising and assessing ideas of masculine tailoring and material, just as the pros were.
Here, there’s a lot of chain mail and leather; sexualising what a traditional bloke may choose to wear. References are pulling heavy into late ‘70/’80s post punk athletics, and more contemporary punk-gothic designers like the late Alexander McQueen. Generally it lands between The Cure music videos and sex parties, with a few very sharp, slightly feminine suits to end. Three of the coursemates have started the label indiscipline studios, too, so it’s perhaps worth keeping an eye on that!
The four fashion inspirations won’t ever change, but what we’re seeing is stronger, more confident and expressive demonstrations of all of these things. Double denim suits, skateboards are accessories, men allowed to be sexy (we’re looking at you, Chet Lo), they are also allowed frills and ornamental shirt cuffs sticking out of a blazer with a belted waist.
Within all this play wasn’t necessarily always a maximalist colour-heavy look. Many brands opted for fairly monochrome looks with one pop of colour, while others of course were cutting patterns that stood out for miles. Ultimately, lads, fashion is about to become less stale. There’s more to experiment with, to dress up with or down with, to find your style within! Oh and sneakers… not as many of those around anymore. Maybe on the streets, though.
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