As Mark Twain once wrote, “Clothes make the man.” The fashion world – and the general public – couldn’t agree more. However, it’s not just designers who are perpetuating the American author’s words of wisdom, but their consumers, also. To be precise, fashion bloggers – a category no longer dominated by women, such as Susanna Lau or Tavi Gevinson. Indeed, the amount of male-run fashion blogs, like BryanBoy, has doubled since last year. So, why is it that men are almost overtaking the ladies in the documented style stakes?
To get a taste of current thinking behind menswear design, and an insight into its popularity, an interesting place to look is at the ethos of Astrid Andersen – showcasing at the London Collections: Men this month. Andersen “redefines the boundaries of contemporary menswear, questioning the juxtaposition of strength and sensitivity with the modern masculine aesthetic”. It is a concept apt for the 21st Century male, this blending with a touch of the feminine in shade or texture, and a general theme with menswear designers. The man of today wants the suave sophistication of 20th Century nostalgia at the same time as on-trend casual streetwear for today; he wants the optimum in cut and design, while fitted out in the most comfortable and functional of materials. In short, he wants it all – and, it seems, he can have it.
With the variety of styles that labels now offer, no wonder the propensity of fashion blogs. The British Fashion Council has published statistics that show an increase in sales of 5% in the last year with a projected growth of 27% in the men’s fashion market by 2018, reaching £19 billion by 2019. A large proportion (65%) of sales haves been online. Indeed, the boom in smart technology and social media has served exponentially to aid such figures and that is why fashion blogging, undoubtedly, has taken off like it has (given, also, the money to be made from paid advertising). Blogs such as Imran Ahmed’s The Business of Fashion angle their sites to the practicalities and economics of the fashion industry.
Men’s style blogs and websites which are constantly rated highly include Dappered, with their motto, “Fashion is temporary and expensive. Style is timeless and affordable.”; Fashion Beans (a graphic heavy site promoting “Timeless Style for the Modern Gent” with discount codes for major retailers); and Brian Sacawa and Rob McIver’s He Spoke Style. When trends change more quickly than the British weather, fashion blogs have to update far faster than magazines and television. You don’t have to have a fashion degree, but an eye for detail and nose for a trend is a must.
Yet, time necessitates that the wheat be sorted from the chaff. This particular online world is an extremely competitive market. Wading through the sea of blogs, what makes the successful ones stand out like a beacon? Certainly, high-quality media and supreme writing quality with easily-navigable templates, but also a constant frequency of publication that includes practical advice and an interactive tone with followers, not to mention that je ne sais quoi quality of uniqueness.
Sell readers an attractive enough lifestyle and they will sign up to purchase the described dream. And that dream is sexy, successful, and oh so stylish.