Is New York Fashion Week: Men’s Here To Stay?

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Our fashion maven Gazelle Paulo has long thought menswear deserved its own Fashion Week, but did the recent three-day event in New York do the industry justice? (cfda.com photo)
Our fashion maven Gazelle Paulo has long thought menswear deserved its own Fashion Week, but did the recent three-day event in New York do the men’s fashion industry justice? (cfda.com photo)

I should hope so!! Well, I always thought it was overdue that menswear needed and deserved a little more attention during every season of the fashion show collections in New York City. It becomes rather difficult to have its market flourish freely, even with the strong demand for it as menswear is completely overshadowed by the excitement of the womenswear shows.

Consequently, two weeks ago, the result of this growing and important necessity led the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) to unleash New York Fashion Week: Men’s July 13-16, giving designers an important platform for business.

Read more: ‘(UN)Glamorous’ Undresses the World of Male Models

This vision started last year in February by Agentry PR with the creation of New York Men’s Day, indeed a one-day-only event that was held at Industria Superstudio, which initially featured six designers. This year, the event grew to 12 designers presenting their collections in two separated groups. It was again sponsored by Cadillac, which has shown a strong commitment to the growth of this market by supporting emerging designers. Cadillac also partnered with CFDA to sponsor the first NYFWM, after all, business is business, and nurturing the notion of a potential major future success could be very profitable for the automobile brand company. It is a bold move, but so it is this new fashion week. According to Euromonitor International, men’s fashion is forecasted to reach $40 billion in global sales by 2019.

Tommy Hilfiger's presentation at New York Fashion Week: Men's. (Source)
Tommy Hilfiger’s colorful presentation at New York Fashion Week: Men’s. (Source)

When would be the right time to say for sure that New York Fashion Week: Men’s is a success or not as it is in London? It is hard to say because in New York, designers will play safe in the field of functionality with modern sports clothing, even better if they scream money, but it is not really an arena where creativity will take center stage. You will not often find Lanvin, Rick Owens or Dries Van Noten styles on Big Apple male catwalks with boring show formats; these labels might not sell millions, but they attract buyers, press and editors who create the right buzz for the fashion week itself — although SiKi Im and Edmundo Ooi shows saved the day on these specific aesthetics, bringing some level of excitement and, at times, a safe weirdness. Public School had a great and smart presentation, but it was Alexandre Plokhov that was my favorite show.

Public School. (Source)
Public School’s presentation. (Source)

If all goes well — despite the fact that emerging New York designers wouldn’t need to cross over the Atlantic to show in European runaways — the bigger NYFWM becomes, it will attract bigger players to it, solidifying this great idea. And then the circus will follow. I find that a calmer atmosphere is with no doubt, one of the great pluses of these three-day menswear shows instead of the first row expectable extravaganza circus found at the women’s shows combined with the fact that there was, indeed, a better and unstudied polished sense of street style among the attendees. Now, if only the male model’s lives stopped being so unglamorous, we would be living in a perfect fashionable world … really!

Gazelle Paulo is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine. Follow him on Twitter and FreakChic.

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