Moving Beyond Streetwear: Data Insights Into Menswear FW20
Over the last few years, it seemed like streetwear ruled contemporary men’s fashion.
The rise of brands like Vetements, Gosha Rubchinsky and Off-White propelled the careers of a new generation of designers that established themselves with the streetwear movement.
Initially built off the concept of “hype” and millennials’ high appetite for athleisure, streetwear was dominated by a handful of skate brands and almost entirely detached from mainstream fashion.
However, as street culture started to influence the zeitgeist, hoodies and sneakers invaded the runway – reaching even the upper echelons of the industry, namely legacy fashion houses, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga.
But based on the last three seasons, menswear is heading in a different direction.
Streetwear leaders, Virgil Abloh and Kim Jones have seemingly veered off course, opting for a more dressed-up aesthetic for Fall/Winter 2020. The collections at Off-White and Louis Vuitton mainly consisted of tailoring as Virgil presented an array of colour-block suits and structured coats for both brands.
Meanwhile, Jones offered casual couture at Dior Homme, incorporating detailed embroidery and bejewelled adornments for the outerwear pieces.
Could this signal the death of streetwear?
Virgil Abloh, the creative director of Off-White and Louis Vuitton menswear, caused a massive stir when he revealed he did not think streetwear would last in an interview with Dazed magazine last year. “Like, its [streetwear] time will be up. In my mind, how many more t-shirts can we own, how many more hoodies, how many sneakers?” says Abloh.
Next in Menswear
Analysing our data on the Fall/Winter 2020 menswear collections, we’ve looked into three trends that could serve as an alternative to streetwear.
Seen at: Louis Vuitton, Dior, Fendi and Emporio Armani
Grounded in a functional sensibility, the utility trend is widely regarded to be fashion’s new answer to streetwear. Harnesses, utility vest, cargo pants and field jackets were among the key products spotted on the runway.
Last year, our data detected nearly 5,000 new-ins tagged under “utility” with outerwear being one of the most heavily stocked sub-categories. Field jackets, anoraks and bomber jackets were some of the most popular silhouettes adopted by high-end designers and fast fashion retailers.
Other than apparel, utility-themed accessories were also a key focus of the trend. Prada’s last spring/summer collection featured a variety of harness-style bags and vests, all which achieved a 100% sell-out on Farfetch.
#2 ’90s Grunge
Seen at: Gucci, Dries Van Noten, Dsquared2 and Marni
Certain trends are cyclical and grunge is definitely one of them. A core aesthetic of the ’90s – ripped denim, slouchy knit sweaters and patchwork – were prominently seen on the runways presented in Milan.
Chunky knit sweaters and cardigans take the focus of this trend as Gucci’s latest offering took its styling cues from Kurt Cobain, paring oversized ripped jeans with checkered shirts worn underneath pastel-coloured knitwear. The check and knit combo was also extensively featured at Dries Van Noten and Dsquared2.
A core staple of the season, we tracked over 8,000 new SKUs of knitwear products in menswear for the US and UK markets during fall of last year. Fast-fashion retailers started stocking up on cardigans starting September while continuously increasing the number of new-ins until the end of November.
The other key component associated with the trend, ripped denim is also making a huge comeback this season. Our data shows interest in ripped skinny jeans had an uplift of 2.3% coming into Q3 of 2019.
#3 Head-to-toe Looks
Seen at: Prada, Louis Vuitton, Off-White and JW Anderson
While graphic prints certainly aren’t new to fashion, this season saw an abundance of head-to-toe co-ords marching down the runway. Prints covering entire suits and matching sets were seen on just about every runway across the four fashion cities.
Louis Vuitton featured different variations of a cloud print on 7 of its 55 looks. Prada’s co-ords were covered in a geometric motif, a common signature of the brand while Off-White went with a playful wine bottle-themed print for its suits. Other conventional prints spotted include paisley, checks and stripes.
Asos had just under 2,000 SKUs tagged as co-ordinates during the fall/winter season, with a nearly 100% sell-out, although discounts drove more than half of these sales. The retailer’s own brand, Asos Design had a special festival-themed capsule collection which featured 36 coordinating pieces. Meanwhile, BoohooMan had more than 4x the number of products compared to Asos, and Omnilytics data showed co-ords were uptrending by 5.4% during the same period.
The most glaring takeaway from this season is the lack of streetwear and the re-emergence of tailoring. The re-balancing of aesthetics this season provides a much-needed palate cleanser after years of pushing logo-mania and sneaker culture.
Most industry experts agree that 2020 will be the year when the pendulum starts to shift. According to Omnilytics’ Head of Business Intelligence, Amelia Teh, “Our data indicates the demand for men’s tailoring remains at a healthy level, especially in the luxury segment. Going forward, we will most likely see more of the elevated spectrum of menswear”.
Despite Virgil’s lack of enthusiasm, streetwear remains a major sales driver for luxury fashion, especially for Gen Zs. Internet searches for Off-White are at an all-time high and data shows the brand’s graphic T-shirts still drive the majority of the brand’s business.
Undoubtedly things are changing in fashion, but saying streetwear is “dead” might still be too presumptuous. While menswear’s top taste-makers explore new themes that can challenge streetwear’s dominance, the final verdict still belongs to the consumer.
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