New Masculinities in Menswear
Menswear is an ever-growing market. Its growth is due to the increasing fashion-consciousness among the male population. The demand for designer clothing has also increased significantly.
The majority of the clothing materials used in Menswear are woven. The broad flat bolts of fabric used in this type of production are constructed by weaving together strands, nearly always at right angles to each other.
The French designer Hedi Slimane shook the menswear world with his rock-and-roll aesthetic when he first helmed Dior Homme in the early 00s. The skinny silhouette entranced men and shifted fashion in a new direction. He has since brought this same sensibility to Saint Laurent, where he was the house’s creative director for years and supercharged its sales. Now, he’s done it again with Celine.
During this time, Hedi continued to pursue his passion for photography and published several books, including Berlin in black and white and Stage, as well as a web log called The Diary. He also dressed music icons, from Courtney Love and Mark Ronson to Iggy Pop and David Bowie.
This season, Hedi’s debut show for Celine received a lot of criticism from both fans and editors for its slinky outfits and narrow cuts that seem like they were pulled straight out of the archives. The clothes seemed a bit too similar to those that came down the runway during his tenure at Saint Laurent—in particular, this black and red leather jacket, which looks remarkably similar to one from the Spring/Summer 2016 show, barring the lack of bedazzling on the lapel. While I’m all for a designer digging into their own cultural heritage and celebrating it, this felt like regurgitation. Hedi has a unique style, but this collection didn’t feel like it.
Austrian fashion autodidact Helmut Lang launched his eponymous label in Paris in 1986. Having established himself as a made-to-measure designer in his hometown of Vienna and opened his first boutique at the age of 21, Lang branched out to Paris, where his deconstructivist minimalism landed him with success. Unlike his European contemporaries, who favored opulent designs and showcased them on their runways, Lang opted for a more gritty style, embracing black leathers and wet-looking synthetic fabrics. His raw, disheveled silhouettes suited a roster of supermodels that included Christy Turlington, Kate Moss, Linda Evangelista, and Kristen McMenamy, and were praised for their “genuine, straightforward point of view” by critic Cathy Horyn.
From a technical standpoint, Lang’s trademark looks were ahead of their time. He layered transparent fabrics with wet looks and used paper dresses Menswear to articulate Native American influences, and he was the first designer to broadcast his fashion shows live on the internet.
Helmut Lang’s eponymous brand is currently based in New York City, and is known for elevated streetwear inspired by the label’s ’90s minimalism. Since 2017, the label has been refreshed under a revolving group of editors and designers that champion its rebellious spirit, including hiring Travis Scott for a capsule collection. Shop the latest collection from Helmut Lang, ranging in long-sleeve T-shirts and men’s polo shirts to Sherpa bomber jackets.
When designer Yohji Yamamoto first burst onto the fashion scene in 1981, he brought an androgynous, dark approach to luxury womenswear that challenged the status quo. His draped tailoring, directional silhouettes and dark designs have shaped the way we dress today, and set the stage for a new generation of innovative East Asian creatives.
A graduate of Bunka Fashion College in Tokyo, Yamamoto studied at Paris’ haute couture houses while pursuing his own label, which began as a collaboration with the French sportswear company Adidas. Today, his eponymous collection and diffusion line Y’s are globally renowned for their simple appearance and sophisticated construction. He has garnered many awards, including the Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon, Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and the Ordre national du Merite.
Throughout the years, his collections have explored historicism, referencing the ancien regime and the belle epoque, as well as Japanese design aesthetics. He has collaborated with numerous creatives, including filmmakers Wim Wenders and Takeshi Kitano.
The menswear market is global and distributed via multi-brand stores, Menswear online, boutiques and exclusive stores. The industry is constantly evolving, and new cultural channels are introducing menswear to a wider audience. Podcasts such as Throwing Fits and NCL Gallery, Instagram accounts such as Hidden and JJJJound, and Discord and Reddit channels are bringing the conversation around menswear to new audiences.
The New Masculinity
As hegemonic masculinities continue to disintegrate in the wake of the #metoo movement, men are seeking out healthier definitions of manhood. Our New Masculinity series on LS:N Global explores brands turning the narrative on its head with Girlswear for Boys, innovations that nurture emotional intelligence in the workplace, and the young influencers redefining male strength.
New masculinities are committed to the elimination of gender violence in all its forms (physical, sexual, by omission and complicity). They promote horizontal relationships between equals. They also seek to revoke traditional gender roles and to eliminate the culture of inequality. They respect public space for women as well as other social groups and do not limit the right of men to use such spaces.
When Will Welch took over as editor-in-chief of GQ this year, he did not see the magazine as broken and wanted to help his readers—be they men or non-binary—with their own personal evolution. This could include unlearning the stereotype that they need to be macho and solve problems with violence and embracing the idea that they are as vulnerable as women.
Similarly, many men may be reconsidering their relationship with meat. This is largely due to the increasing awareness that a diet rich in meat can contribute to a range of health problems, including heart disease and cancer. Moreover, some men are beginning to question whether their current eating habits can be reconciled with their values of compassion and empathy for animals.