How the world of men is changing

Would you believe us if we told you that men are the target to aim for with your fashion or deco brand? Probably not.

In recent years, we've experienced an increased demand for men's fashion and sources say this is likely a growing global trend. According to a study by Bain&co. global sales in male prêt-a-porter and luxury fashion have nearly equaled that of women (26 billion vs 27 billion euros). Some studies indicated that number could surpass women's fashion in the coming years (Euromonitor - indicates a 13% progression in men's fashion between 2010 and 2015 vs. 10% for women's).

A fresh start for men

Women have always been considered the ideal targets for fashion, beauty and deco brands, but change is in motion. Men too are increasingly searching to express themselves through self-care and fashion. Who would have thought, back in 1950, that one day men would buy more shoes than women?

So why don't we set aside women for 5 minutes, and take a look at men and what they have become over the past few years. Because one thing is for sure: men have changed and brands need to pay attention to that change if they want to go the distance.

Five trends to keep an eye on

  1. Attention to detail, attention to purpose 

    In the world we live in, we are constantly over-stimulated. Men are on a quest for the rare few essentials that will make their lives easier and more functional. In fashion, aesthetics are no longer enough - functionality is also becoming a key factor for mens products. This is the main reason luxury brands are giving their products a functional revamp. The reversible Mulberry belt, the Jérôme Dreyfuss Roland back-pack and its bottle-opener, or the Hermès Apple Watch combining style and functionality are examples of this trend. The essence of luxury used to be all about showcasing the beautiful aesthetics of a bag but in the future we'll focus on communicating the specific functional details of products.
     
  2. Search for advice to look good

    We rarely imagine men paying excessive attention to the way they look or feeling insecure about their appearance, but why shouldn't they ? Men are just as concerned as women regarding their looks, and are no longer afraid to ask around for advice. The newly found interest from men in fashion and grooming can be directly measured from the increase in magazines, dedicated guides and blogs addressing their needs. Nowadays, advice for men is everywhere!
    And it's not just in the media: when men aren't reading articles about beard grooming, shoe shining or the latest fashionable accessory, they are calling out to brands to help them curate their look. And it's working! In 2014, ChicTypes, the personal shopping startup, saw its turnover surpass 2 million euros after just a year of existence.
     
  3. Body-Care, Self-Care

    Men have also learned how to take care of themselves, and they like it!
    This year, the global market of general care for men should generate 21 billion dollars, and for good reason, brands are taking it by storm: specific care ranges, make-up, body-care products... Growth opportunities and brand stretching seem limitless in the new world of men. Berluti for example, has created a range of beautiful sports accessories allowing men to taste the pleasures of self-care, with style.
     
  4. Porous boundaries

    The modern man is not the kind to stick to the classics. He aspires to more creativity in his appearance and wants to create his own recipe for style. The Tag Heuer connected watch is thus the illustration of a perfect match between the tradition of Swiss watchmaking and the modernity of new technology, streetwear has made its way into every dressing-room, even luxury ones, and ultra-modern is having an affair with retro (think of Restoration Hardware's iphone dock that looks like a gramophone). 
     
  5. Uninhibited masculinity

    Above all, the men of today want to live their masculinity as they see fit and, if possible, with a touch of fantasy! Once again, no need to say it twice before brands jump on the bandwagon: men will never have to choose between black and brown again as leather goods become more colourful, jewellery is also breaking away to provide the modern man with a more diverse and sometimes delicate offer. Hermès has become the perfect advocate for a new generation of more liberated masculinities as the brand plays on to do lists with its excellent Manifesto. Lots to explore for men with more freedom than ever before.

The question of gender has never been so discussed, and masculinity so difficult to define. Brands can no longer address "men" as a single category and the new Axe advertising campaign dubbed "Find your magic" illustrates this particularly well. At the same time, it seems fair to say that men have never had so many ways to express their personality; indeed, there is no end to the new brands and boutiques targeting male consumers. It is precisely in this paradox that lies a major opportunity for brands: a change in posture. In the same way they did so for women, brands now have the possibility to give men what they need to become those they have always wanted to be. Ditch the clichés, the diktat of being oneself beats all.


Sources:

Grazia.fr, article dated Mai 11th 2016, Tom Raynaud-Lacroze
Euromonitor International, Menswear in the US, report dated march 2016
Le Figaro.fr, tech & web, article dated September 4th 2015, Pierre Barbin
Uk.complex.com, article dated January 17th 2016, Alexis Castro

Honors graduate from the CELSA Paris Sorbonne university, Myrtille has a literary background and holds a master of science in communication, with a specialty in branding and brand strategy.

Myrtille began her career at W&Cie as a branding consultant. Her role included managing and leading branding programs for French multinational companies such as : Veolia Transdev, Addax Petroleum, Natixis Asset Management.

Myrtille joined FutureBrand in 2012, as a brand strategist. Her expertise lies in Brand Strategy, Brand Platform Definition, Brand Architecture and Naming for clients such as : Rémy Martin, Coveris, Teyliom Group, BNP Paribas, Orchestre de Paris, Davidoff.

“Developing a branding perspective means systematically providing a purpose to the brand codes we create, so as to align words with images.”

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