They say menswear is the first market to drop off in a downturn, because clothes are the first thing men stop spending on when the pressure is on (they’re clearly not holding back on the gadgets if the frenzied rush to buy the 3G iPhone this week is anything to go by).
Also, as one retailer only half-jokingly told me, women, often the chief purchasers of menswear, stop buying clothes for their partners before they stop buying for themselves.
There is no question this is a market facing tough challenges but there are some encouraging successes, in particular the robust performance of suit specialist Austin Reed (see News Analysis, page 24). Those men who are still spending are trading up and dressing up, which is a pleasing trend to see as we present the first of our spring 09 bumper issues, focusing on the menswear market.
This issue contains not only your usual helping of news and views from the industry in general but also combines an essential Drapers guide to spring 09’s menswear, detailing the trends, looks and brands that are set to be the season’s winners, as well as some insightful commentary from industry experts. We hope you will find it a useful manual as you embark on your buying for the new season.
My favourite feature from the issue? Our exclusive photo shoot from the recent sun-drenched Pitti Uomo exhibition in the heart of Florence. It’s not just the beautiful clothes that are inspiring (they remind you in these tough times why this is an industry that inspires so much passion) but also the beautiful weather. Here’s hoping some of it will come our way next year, goodness only knows we deserve it.