It may seem to be a coincidence, but with the beginning of the new decade man’s fashion has overcome a momentous turning point.
For the very first time ever, the double week of catwalk shows in Milan, Florence and Paris has brought forward a kaleidoscope of trends, styles and provocations worthy of the very spectrum that womenswear used to embody in the past.
In fact, during all of fashion’s recent history, there has never been such a wide array of often varying and even widely diverging ways to dress the gentleman.
We can safely say that the revolution in societal norms and codes currently underway has finally arrived at the heart of an industry, such as menswear, in which traditions and bespoke mannerisms have always dictated the agenda of the day.
Every rule now seems to be up for discussion, and this goes far beyond refusing to wear a tie, shirt or leather shoe.
Traditional interpretations of these items do now resemble tepid reminders of a distant past.
A detail-oriented nurturing of one’s identity, in the sense of refined individuality and also of a marked difference to everybody else, is at the order of the day, without degenerating into eccentricity, and in a conscious effort to remain ultracool.
The consequences of this for the economic state of the industry are clear and yet very difficult to intercept.
Truly iconic pieces and brands are, for instance, very hard to imagine.
The norms of the past have been diverging into incompatible strands.
In times of great uncertainty, it is the newfound appeal of tribalism that stands out.
Men will have to choose sides, and they will be forced to play a game of subtle and hidden affiliations between starkly contrasting wardrobes.
Versatile and interoperable garments will be way harder to find.
Welcome, therefore, to the age of gender fluidity.
Every man will have to energically state who he is – without the formerly accepted veils of false modesty or mannerist hypocrisy
Marc SondermannFashion Magazine 03/2020