Camouflage. If you had to pick one pattern that has underpinned streetwear in recent times, it would be the one borrowed from the military.
But it seems the ironic application (wearing something to stand out from the crowd that was intended to make you blend in) of amorphous beige and green splodges has finally been usurped. The tropical trend, although by no means new, has been hotting up ever since Riccardo Tisci adorned his spring 12 menswear collection for Givenchy with dramatic juxtapositions of birds of paradise blooms.
And for spring 14 jungle really is massive. It feels like there’s enough critical mass now, as unusual florals, graphic foliage (a nod to the camo of the past), exotic birds and conversational prints of anything from palm trees and coconuts to pineapples and parrots have cropped up in force. There’s a real freshness about the patterns, whether they’re riffing on Tisci’s mirrored juxtapositions or taking a more full-bleed approach to T-shirts, sweats and bomber jackets.
So does this suggest men have at last come round to a collective acceptance of florals in general? While menswear has always provided a small bunch of smart floral prints to the more green-fingered guys among us, it’s hardly a trend that has been popular across all types of male shopper. But perhaps as prints are applied to more manly, recognisable and sporty shapes, they will grow on new customers.
Florals are already holding their own against camo - as even a brief browse through Asos’s 1,500 or so men’s T-shirts reveals - and once spring 14 drops in store there’s bound to be even more impetus behind the pattern’s growing popularity. Yes, florals for spring may not be a radical womenswear concept, but here’s hoping this becomes an evergreen menswear trend.