I came across a telling candid interview on Fashionpost with Tetsuya Suzuki; one of the founding editors of online fashion meccas Honeyee and .fatale. Given Mr.Suzuki’s exposure to both the mens and womenswear fields he is able to objectly access the current trends and direction of global fashion. Reading this interview , I found his assessments of the men’s fashion market to be very close to my own.
“At the moment, the mainstream of the men’s fashion scene is all about competing to make a difference within the bracket of a traditional style of menswear rather than displaying its overwhelming originality or its uniqueness. I could say the same thing about casual wear. It’s like being able to relate to the clothes that actors are wearing in a movie taking place in the present day. Japanese brands are incredibly good at handling details which make them look very traditional. To put it another way, they do a fantastic job of expressing a trend in the most natural manner. On top of that, they are very sensitive about choosing materials which reflect nuances; the most delicate finishing touches. Anyone who loves clothes can empathize with this. Most of the men’s fashion designers in Japan are fashion freaks. They already have full knowledge of how to steal the hearts of other people who adore clothes too”
Tetsuya Suzki also touches on the emerging Asia market and in particular the evolution of Japanese labels in the current econmic climate.
“However, right before the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis occurred, all that nouveau riche luxury started looking dated. At the same time, the fashion brands that were once known for street fashion only started to establish a certain position within the international men’s fashion scene. The reason for this was that, in the past, street fashion formed around a certain culture – perhaps skateboarding or HipHop – instead of just fashion itself. In other words, the success or failure of a single product was never an issue. But almost before anyone realized it, all the independent Japanese men’s casual wear brands started to be judged on the sheer quality of their clothes themselves. The clothes were basic, but at the same time, the seasonal trends were blended into these collections very well. On top of that, the quality of the products was superior and that was their final appraisal. I bet foreigners no longer say, “Are these clothes really Tokyo-esque?” or “Do they have anything to do with HipHop, skateboarding or punk culture?” when going through brands like visvim, N.HOOLYWOOD or White Mountaineering.”
“It’s hard to describe, but the women’s market is all about trying to get the attention of people who do not understand the value of the products or who do not even need the products right away. Of course, every brand produces something valuable. Therefore, there is no such thing as losing money in purchasing it. However… I think the dynamic of introducing their products is different. Womenswear is certainly glamorous, but at the same time, it’s extremely harsh. At the end of the day, menswear feels very mellow because the business goes round in a circle among people who share the same hobby.”
Read the entire interview on TFP