Men's Fashion Week: No Longer Relevant? | Man For Himself
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Men’s Fashion Week: No Longer Relevant?

men's fashion week London - Man For Himself

Men’s Fashion Week: No Longer Relevant?

You don’t seem to be interested in men’s fashion week and right now, neither am I.

Attending London Fashion Week Men’s (LFWM) was something I always aspired to do. Being invited to shows and attending parties literally seemed like the most glamorous thing. Surely that would be the sign that you’d made it in blogging?

Fast forward 5 years since my first foray into men’s fashion week (London Collections: Men as it was back then) and I couldn’t be feeling anymore apathetic.

I really think it’s having an identity crisis and that something needs to change.

Don’t Get Me Wrong

Now, don’t get me wrong. I certainly think fashion week serves a much-needed purpose – especially in supporting young up-and-coming designers. They need the platform and we should be backing them.

Also, it truly is an event for the industry – where buyers and trend forecasters can take a first look at what’s coming up. This is the fashion business.

But what does this mean for the ordinary guy (the customer) on the street? Do the organisers of LFWM even know who they are; or more importantly, how to talk to them?

In my view, the fashion week model is tired, out of touch and reeking of entitlement.

Not For The Masses

The one thing that I have always loved about fashion is that it breaks down divides. It’s art. It’s culture. It’s quite literally a representation of the time we live. Even if we can’t afford it, we can appreciate it. Fashion should be for all.

But without a golden ticket to attend a show or one of the coveted blogger passes, you’re going nowhere.

Out of Touch

We should be encouraging people to get involved in fashion – be-it in blogging or journalism. Essentially the same thing, but that’s a conversation for another day. *Heavy eye roll*.

The British Fashion Council (BFC – organising body) place a pretty hardline set of requirements for bloggers to attend.

On your primary publishing platform you should have:

Instagram: Fashion-related content with a minimum of 35K followers.

YouTube: Average of 50K views per fashion-related video, and a minimum of 80K subscribers.

Blog: Over 15,000 Monthly Unique Visitors.

Many of the guys that I see attending the shows and that fulfil the above criteria are there for one reason and one reason only – to have their picture taken. And if you truly nail the blue steel look, you’ll end up in GQ’s Best Dressed pages. Winning.

It’s also worth noting that YouTuber Jim Chapman (2.4 million subscribers), a LFWM regular and member of the LFWM committee barely makes the cut – averaging just under 50k views on his past 3 fashion-related videos.

Are these requirements realistic; and do the BFC really know who they want attending fashion week?

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Supporting Content Creators

I know of young – and older – guys who are just starting out that would love to be given the opportunity to attend a fashion show, to take pictures of the clothes, to interview the designers and to publish what they’ve seen for their audiences to read.

These are guys who have a real interest in fashion. And more importantly for the designers, these content creators have an audience who will – and do – buy their clothes.

 

Men’s Fashion Week Reeks of Entitlement

There is a definite vibe at fashion week. If you’re there, you’re somebody; and if you’re not somebody, you’re dressed like you’re somebody.

On the whole, it’s a friendly crowd (if you know people) and much more chilled than women’s fashion week; but it reeks of entitlement. It doesn’t feel inclusive and it doesn’t nurture.

The LFWM committee is a who’s who of the great and good; with some serious big dogs in design, publishing and entertainment. It even includes Lewis “Boys don’t wear princess dresses” Hamilton MBE.

I can only imagine how sycophantic these committee meetings must be.

mens fashion week London - Man For Himself

The Future Of Men’s Fashion Week?

For now, men’s fashion week isn’t going anywhere. It shouldn’t be.

But I do think that designers and retailers should be looking elsewhere for new opportunities.

Topman have nailed it with their live stream and “buy now” functionality during fashion week. But do they really need to be there? Does their customer care or even notice?

River Island hold a presentation every fashion week showcasing a fashion film. I’ve seen it every time and I’m still confused as to what it’s about or why they make it.

ASOSa truly online – brand have also ventured into showcasing some of their new wares at an invite-only presentation during fashion week. But again, I’d question if this is the best use of resource or budget; and does their consumer or the publications and bloggers promoting their clothing really care?

I don’t have a solution, nor do I have a crystal ball, but I do think that something needs to change. I’m confused as to what LFWM stands for; the organisers’ strategy for future-proofing; or who they want to be attending.

It’s definitely an evolving landscape of fashion, retail and publishing and although a lot needs to change, I’m excited to be a part of it.

What REALLY Happens At Men’s Fashion Week

January, 2017

 

Robin James
robin@manforhimself.com

Men's style, lifestyle and grooming YouTube creator and blogger