Fashion Gone Awry

In reviewing the Summer ‘08 men’s fashion collections on the runways in Milan this week, I’m feeling like the fashion industry is with men where the jewelry industry was with women five years ago… Just not on the same page.

The collections are, in terms of real-world use, largely out of touch with the potential market. Hey guys, how about a bright orange neoprene trench coat? Or maybe a waistcoat for summer? No?? Ok, looking to be more, um, summery for summer? Well then, we know you’ll love itsy-bitsy speedos…

C’mon. I understand there is a market for these, but why is the enormous men’s fashion industry snubbing so many potential customers? Most females look at the women’s collections and see at least a handful of items they covet. These men’s collections, however? The average American man would likely recoil and retreat when presented with these collections in a store. (Yes, I am talking specifically about American men because the size and purchasing power of that market in the United States far outweighs that of any other country.)

This, of course, brings me to jewelry and, frankly, I’m concerned. The men’s jewelry category is growing stronger by the day (hint: check out the fall issue of JCK Luxury) and the potential is great if the industry produces the right designs (kudos, by the way, to Tara & Sons for their simple on-the-mark black pearl men’s necklaces). 

As we continue to see growth in men’s jewelry, I only hope designers don’t follow their fashion-industry peers and create jewelry that isn’t just out of touch with men, but actually turns them away. If they do, we’ll suffer the same reputation as men’s fashion designers. And I can’t possibly sum up that reputation any better than someone who sent me a horrified email about the collections this morning. The email–from just the 30-something professional male that men’s designers should be trying to appeal to–included a link to an AP story about the collections and the comment: “Dude, the fashion world has gone awry!!!”

. It has indeed…

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