The Christmas trading results continue to flood in this, week bringing welcome news of sales uplifts at a disparate group of retailers, including JD Sports, Shop Direct, Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, Matalan and, perhaps most surprisingly, BHS.com.
As I highlighted in my column last week, 2018 is shaping up to be another challenging year, but these positive Christmas updates show how a focus on product and a clear strategy can help retailers to overcome tough market conditions.
The difficulties ahead did nothing to dampen the mood at menswear exhibition Pitti Uomo last week, which kicked off the autumn 18 trade show season in typically exuberant style. Menswear brands and buyers were optimistic about the opportunities in the sector. And rightly so: as we highlight in our overview of the market, the growth in menswear is expected to outpace womenswear this year, signalling a remarkable shift.
Men’s shopping habits are changing. There is a growing appetite for new brands and men are seeking a high/low mix of luxury and high street. Men now have a plethora of choices, whatever their budget – from Mr Porter’s new label, Mr P, to the ever-growing menswear offer from Asos, and the fast fashion of BoohooMan and Missguided spin-off Mennace, alongside a multitude of new and established brands.
This week we bring you a bumper selection of features focused on the growing potential in menswear, as the first in our series of autumn 18 seasonal specials. As well as the market overview, we bring you our edit of the essential new-season buys, the trends to know from London Fashion Week Men’s and our selection of the best product from Pitti Uomo.
Today, men are searching for a point of difference in their clothing. This is something for indies to remember when looking at their buy for the new season. Taking a chance on smaller upcoming brands can be a risk but, if accompanied by a strong core offer, it is an approach that can pay off.
At Pitti, many brands had a new story to tell, whether in the form of a collaboration, experimentation with new materials or a twist on a classic product. These unique touches are what will help to keep menswear on its current growth trajectory.