LC:M

CalvinKlein

Image source: The Guardian

There’s no doubt that menswear is booming at home and away: the UK men’s clothing market has seen sales rise by 22% in the past five years to reach £13.5bn in 2014, growing at a faster rate than womenswear, according to global marketing intelligence agency Mintel. As Mintel also revealed at the opening reception for London Collections: Men (LC:M), young men are equally as fashion conscious as young women, with 50% of both males and females in the UK aged 16-24 purchasing clothes in the last three months of 2014.

For the majority of young people with their eyes on the latest menswear trends, their first glimpse of the fashion shows in London or Milan this week will be via social media. Here’s our rundown of the biggest social media stories of menswear month so far – showing why the canniest brands are those that know their Instagram from their “insiders-only”.

Calvin Klein Gave Us Topless Models Off the Runway

As reported by Hannah Marriott at the Guardian, the crowd loitering outside Calvin Klein’s show at Milan Fashion Week on Sunday looked more like One Direction fans than high-fashion fans. The reason was the brand’s savviness in casting male models with huge Instagram followings (largely teenage girls), including Jesse James Duval, Filip Hrivnak and Andre Doyley. The brand also posted Abercrombie & Fitch-style, candid photos of the men in their Calvin Klein undies prior to the show – keen fans could even follow Jesse on Snapchat during his day of fittings.

Henry Holland Created a Hashtag to Remember

Henry Holland’s excitement about collaborating with legendary photographer Martin Parr for S/S 16 infused his brand’s social media presence in the build-up to LC:M, with the unforgettable hashtag #MartinFuckingParr.

After House of Holland’s hotly anticipated menswear collection got its first airing on Sunday in an Instagram-friendly presentation (no moving models = perfect posts), the collection was instantly available to buy on the brand’s newly redesigned website. It may have crashed at the time due to demand, but the collection was still a big digital win for Holland.

“Maybe we can monetise all the attention and traction you get around a show,” he told Style.com. After all, “three months later, they’ve totally forgotten and found something else”.

The New LC:M Ambassadors Waved a Flag – Or a Smartphone

Joining David Gandy, Dermot O’Leary, Nick Grimshaw and Tinie Tempah for S/S 16, British F1 champ Lewis Hamilton has been added to the current roster of ambassadors for London Collections: Men. Hamilton comes with 1.4 million followers on Instagram and 2.8 million on Twitter, giving a new degree of exposure to the exclusive events and front-row shots of fashion week.

The British Fashion Council also confirmed its first ever International Menswear Ambassador: Chinese model and actor Hu Bing. GQ editor Dylan Jones called him “a perfect choice” for the role, with a knowledge of the Chinese market and great fashion sense. The decision goes to show that menswear weeks are truly on the global stage in the digital era. Brands like Burberry – which has marketed itself heavily in the People’s Republic – will be hoping that Hu Bing’s appointment will help them translate the London look when he goes home to fashion’s biggest growth market.

Reported by Claire Healy

ADA + NIK AW15 PREVIEW - WWD

Image source: www.laststyleofdefense.com

For anyone in doubt that London menswear has truly come of age in 2015, then the confident outings at LC:M this week proved the case. Moreover, the facts and figures demonstrate that the swagger isn’t just for show: menswear sales have grown almost 5% in the last year, and style forecasters are estimating that the men’s fashion market will grow by 27% between 2013 and 2018 to reach £16.4 billion (Mintel, 2014). Moreover, the week saw many digital firsts at presentations and on the runway – demonstrating a focus on innovation that can only add to the witty, inventive and desirable men’s fashion on show.

Bringing the runway experience straight to the customer was as much an emphasis at LC:M as it has increasingly become in women’s ready-to-wear in recent seasons – with both established brands and more under-the-radar designers employing live streaming and social media to increase exposure. Tapping into an increasingly online-shopping savvy male customer, Burberry not only live-streamed its AW15 outing on Monday, but allowed customers to order clothes online immediately afterwards. Danish menswear brand Soulland went one step further, creating a specially designed app that attendees could download immediately: allowing them to film the models, and providing exclusive content to be shared on social media platforms.

No ticket was required at the Pop Up at No. 9 – a temporary menswear shop in Seven Dials featuring a range of different brands curated by BBSC’s Daniel Peters. In collaboration with The Dandy Lab, the store environment brought the online world seamlessly into the offline, with interactive digital plinths and smart mannequins giving visitors a glimpse of what could become the norm in our stores.

Wearables also featured on the runways of LC:M. London upstarts Ada + Nik have always been known for their punk take on technical fabrics, but this week saw a hotly-anticipated first: the unveiling of the ‘Narrative jacket’, the world’s first leather jacket with an in-built camera. Teaming up with Narrative Clip – who have been producing wearable cameras since 2012 – the jacket captures images and location data without any conscious interaction. Oh, and it resembles a totally good-looking biker jacket – as opposed to a cyborgian gimmick that no respectable East Londoner would be seen dead in.

In order to assess LC:M’s digital strategy from head to toe, however, one shouldn’t forget the all-important hairdo. ‘The Fudge Fix’ – not to be confused with a delicious-sounding Vancouver eatery (“as much fudge as you can eat!”) ­– was Fudge Professional’s pop-up salon, where guests could capture their hair looks in an interactive photo booth to share on their social channels. Mmmm, #FudgeFix.

Reported by Claire Healy