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The Don Draper effect has Kiwi men suiting up

  • News
  • December 7, 2015
  • Erin McKenzie
The Don Draper effect has Kiwi men suiting up

According to market research company Euromonitor International, menswear will account for nearly US$40 billion in the global apparel market by 2019. In the years prior to that date, men’s shirts, jeans, jackets and coats are predicted to be the top apparel performers.

Euromonitor’s head of apparel and footwear research, Magdalena Kondej, linked the growth to an increased focus on personal appearance combined with comparatively large disposable incomes.

“Globally, men’s annual disposable income is still 50 percent higher than women’s and while Western markets still spend the most on apparel, future growth is expected to be driven by Asia Pacific.”

Closer to home, Hallenstein Glasson Holdings Limited’s annual report for 2015 confirms these trends. Hallensteins’ full year sales grew 6.82 percent and profit after tax increased 29.3 percent. These figures represent a turnaround from the previous year, in which sales declined 1.8 percent and profit after tax declined 18 percent.

Rodd & Gunn’s creative director John Prikryl also reports strengthening interest in men’s fashion.

“Saleswise, business is fantastic, we’ve had a strong start to the new financial year. We are doing better than last year which is what you aim for each and every year.”

Playing a huge role in the growing interest, according to Prikryl, is the internet and its ability to share trends from around the world.

“We’re all a bit more sophisticated than we were, we’re not so disconnected from the global world. New Zealand and Australian guys are exposed to what’s happening in the northern hemisphere more than ever and I think everyone’s getting up to speed.”

Prikryl’s “everyone” includes young people. Rodd & Gunn is attracting a younger audience than it has traditionally been associated with – this is a sign that younger people are also trading in their hoodies for more sophisticated garments.

Prikryl puts this development down to backlash over the recent focus on fast fashion. He believes younger consumers are becoming more savvy and realising there’s less value in clothing which will last six months than in items which last for years. Quality is back on the agenda.

“Globally, people are looking for quality and things that actually stand for something rather than something they can buy [and] throw away a few months later.”

While guys may have become more savvy about quality, it appears they still require some assistance when it comes to putting an outfit together. However, not to worry - help is just one click away.

Wearit connects clued-up girls with fashion-challenged guys to create outfits based on the guy’s requirements.

Founder Liam Houlahan says the girls act as stylists by selecting clothes from retailers’ websites and sharing comments about the chosen items.

“What we do is provide personalised recommendations of clothes to wear from different retailers along with style advice to our male users online for free. From here guys are able to purchase or try on any of the clothes recommended to them.”

Retailers include Hallensteins, Rodd & Gunn, Amazon Surf, FallenFront, ASOS, Topman and The Iconic.

The website, which launched in November last year, has over 8000 registered users. Sixty percent of these are men.

“Traditionally men haven't had a lot of choice when it comes to clothing options here in New Zealand,” says Houlahan. “But with the rise of online retailers like Asos and Topman [which offer] free shipping to New Zealand, and the new players entering the market here, there's now a lot more options and exposure to men’s fashion.

“I believe that this paired with our ever-increasing exposure to photos and information through social media has resulted in the increase in our perception of ourselves and wanting to dress better.”

Social media sites like Facebook and Instagram provide followers with a constant catalogue of trends. I Love Ugly’s Facebook page boasts over 245,000 “likes” while its Instagram has 230,000 followers.

It’s not just the brands filling feeds with their products. Consumers are also sharing their looks with the world. Guys wearing I Love Ugly’s Zespy pants have shared images of themselves over 2000 times on Instagram, as well as tagging #ILoveUgly, #HallensteinsBrothers and #Barkers. This suggests that men are just as concerned about getting their outfit on point as women.

Online, fashion advice and social media are not the only changes to menswear retail. Online sales are also on the rise, with men’s clothing surpassing computers, beer and groceries according to research by IbisWorld.

IbisWorld believes there is still room for this demand to expand. Its future projections show online sales of menswear will grow more than any of the other selected categories.

Prikryl says Rodd & Gunn’s ecommerce site is “growing massively”.

“Online is very important. You can’t forget about bricks and mortar but we are improving and updating our online.”

He says consumers are getting used to online shopping, even if they are using the site to check out items before going in store to purchase them.

Ecommerce sites are also allowing New Zealand brands to go global. Valentin Ozich, founder of I Love Ugly, says the label has experienced “great growth” particularly from offshore.

“Eighty percent of our online sales now are export, with the US attributing to 45 percent of that.”

As well as this, Ozich says the brand’s Sydney, Melbourne and Los Angeles stores are performing “very well”.

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