PARIS (Reuters) – Young, hip, urban, and male … meet the fashion world’s new best friend.
Luxury brands are raising their game in menswear, which is expanding at a faster clip than women’s clothing as styles loosen up and streetwear like hoodies find a new audience.
Big fashion houses including French conglomerates LVMH and Kering are among those hiring eye-catching designers and investing in male attire.
LVMH’s Paris-based Louis Vuitton summed up the zeitgeist at the latest run of men’s fashion shows that closed last week with a collection by its new DJ-turned-designer Virgil Abloh.
This mixed casual anoraks, holster-style accessories and sleek trench coats, and drew hip hop royalty.
“It’s more than a buzz. It’s a deeper trend,” Sidney Toledano, head of LVMH’s fashion group, said on the sidelines of a fashion show.
“There’s strong demand across the men’s fashion industry, in all its shapes and forms, and which comes in part from a younger clientele. We see it very clearly in the sales.”
LVMH brands do not detail earnings, though analysts estimate that menswear at top money-spinner Vuitton is 5 to 7 percent of revenue. Vuitton did not respond to a request for comment.
Meanwhile Kering’s fastest-growing brand Balenciaga, a one-time couture house which scored a hit with a line of chunky sneakers, says men are now among its biggest sales drivers along with millennials, or 20 to 35 year olds.
Womenswear still had the biggest share of the broader $1.7 trillion apparel and footwear market in 2017, with menswear less than a quarter, Euromonitor data shows.
Yet the market research firm forecasts men’s lines will outperform women’s between 2017 and 2022, with sales expanding by a compound annual growth rate of 2 percent.