It isn’t all that easy to design menswear. Perhaps the most difficult task that face menswear designers has to do with the fact that menswear can sometimes be considered boring or recycled in some circles, even though the kind of classic style that has defined menswear for decades is still as dashing as ever.
Because of this, menswear designers need to be able to cast an eye out for the future in order to keep things interesting. However, as they do this, they need to be mindful of two distinct things:
1. Classic men’s couture will never go out of style.
2. Their new creations need to represent fashion for the future, and not fashion destined to be defined by the past.
The Importance of Preserving Classic Style
Thanks to television shows like “Mad Men” and movies like “The Great Gatsby,” clothes from a bygone era have felt fresh and relevant for the past several years. They may look like the same clothing that was once worn by someone’s father or even grandfather, and this may make some menswear designers that constantly look ahead and not behind cringe. Yet for a lot of people, this sense of datedness has morphed into timelessness, as they represent a classic sleekness of a bygone era that may not be replicated sufficiently in modern duds. As such, even though the temptation to eschew classic motifs entirely, it is important that menswear designers continue to look ahead by embracing the past instead of forsaking it. After all, fashion does have a tendency to be somewhat cyclical in nature.
However, there’s more to just preserving the stylistic elements of the past because they look cool. Rather, it is important that menswear designers keep note of the elements that truly transcend the test of time so they can possibly use them as a springboard for future fashion. One of the most essential elements to fashion in general is to take something that has some age to it and spin it around in a way that it creates something entirely new, fresh, and exciting. Using classic style in this way allows it to undergo a rejuvenation of sorts for a classic style – not to mention that it prevents it from being a total relic.
Thinking Ahead in a Reasonable Way
Of course, menswear designers don’t have to exclusively keep one foot in the past in order to propel the male fashion into the future. Indeed, there are plenty of avenues in which a designer can utilize in order to move the concept of masculine design ahead.
One of the bigger challenges that menswear designers face in achieving this task is due to the fact that menswear fashion trends tend to be a little more subtle then women’s fashion trends at time. As such, trends that affect the male fashion world seem to gradually occur over a period of time, as opposed to just popping up seemingly overnight. A good menswear designer will be able to pull off this gradual progression without raising too much of a fuss, as that particular advancement will enter into the consciousness of the average male shopper without him paying much mind to whatever trend a new piece of clothing may be attached to. They won’t buy it because it looks new or trendy; they will buy it because it looks cool. When this happens, the menswear designer has done their job.
However, this process is not necessarily easy to attain. There is a fine line that a designer must walk when designing modern men’s clothing. It is s line that delineates clothes that not only look and feel progressive, but look like they will actually progress with the times. Indeed, there is nothing worse than producing a line of clothing that looks and feels fresh when it is first released and then realizing they are destined to be relics of fashion within a few years. This is a line that should never be crossed.
In order to avoid producing clothes that will eventually be time-stamped, the best thing to do is to keep outrageous affects to a minimum. Context is key. You don’t have to keep things shaded in dull, drab hues or selfsame patterns, but you do have to make sure that you deploy colors, patterns, and other such stylistic choices in a way that makes sense. If a choice is made just for the sake of making a choice, chances are it is not going to work all that well.
There is a realm that is in between the classic and the progressive that a skilled menswear designer could utilize. That is, utilizing a clothing style from the past that was not known for being fashion forward and rebranding it as such. Perhaps the most prominent example of this was the explosion of flannel in the early nineties. Prior to the grunge movement, flannels were nothing more than the uniform of the outdoorsman or the blue collar working class. However, it gradually turned into a symbol of coolness; a reinvented fashion statement that wasn’t a statement in the least bit beforehand. The designer can point to the flannel phenomenon as grounds for using a rudimentary or a misfit clothing item and turning it into a white hot wearable item. Indeed, there seems to be a lot of material from which to choose from in this regard.
Whatever design choice that you make if you find yourself designing menswear, you should reside yourself to the fact that it is a difficult endeavor to undertake. If you do too little in the name of fashion, you may be thought of as being boring. If you do too much, you run the risk of seeing your clothes be blown off as nothing more than a rapidly fading relic of current times. Yet if you are able to land somewhere in the middle of these two camps, you may find yourself designing something that will stand the test of time and grow into a classic look in its own right.