Within the world of fashion, trends come and go but it seems many women’s unrelenting fascination with fashion remains. Although not yet as large an industry, it seems male fashion is, especially in recent years, remaining just as popular season after season.
As I near the end of a year co-editing the fashion section of Concrete, I cannot help but feel there has been a noticeable absence of male fashion. We have only had one male writer this year, and that was a friend who mainly wanted a platform to voice his love of wearing basketball vests at festivals. This lack of male interest in the section makes me question whether there is a stigma attached to male fashion. Yet looking around campus, this simply cannot be true. There is no shortage of men who clearly take pride in their outfits, but perhaps not as many who are willing to openly discuss fashion.
Perhaps this is an issue unique to UEA but, speaking to male friends many feel unrepresented in the comparatively small amount of male fashion media coverage as well as on the high street. Unisex stores so often hide the menswear at the back of their shop, or chose to locate it upstairs. It is not usually the menswear proudly displayed in the front windows to lure shoppers in.
This weekend, The Sunday Times Style broke away from its usual content with a large section dedicated to male fashion. In a publication which is normally targeted at women, it was refreshing to see men getting some airtime. It was also different as the clothes used were quite outlandish, and would not be worn by your average Joe on a daily basis. This is the same as the women’s main fashion pages in many magazines, the outfits displayed are often too eccentric to be worn, but provide inspiration and often a aspirational price tag. I enjoyed this as so often a men’s fashion segment in a female publication is based only on tailoring and feels a need to remain practical. It was refreshing to see menswear which was pleasing more for its aesthetics than potential durability.
Men’s fashion does seem to be slowly seeping into the main fashion industry, with a specifically male fashion week taking place twice a year. Male fashion is now receiving a similar amount of representation and acknowledgement as the women’s, with a growing media buzz. Yet I still find the fact that this is a recent development very strange, as so many of the greatest fashion designers and creative directors of this generation are men. It seems to be that if there is a stigma attached to male fashion, then it is certainly on its way out.