Florence 17 – Pitti, Peacocks and Dancing Mops…
Earlier in January, the Central London Retail team went to Florence for the Pitti Uomo menswear tradeshow with our client Shaftesbury to look for new brands for their Central London estates. Despite the Arctic conditions, the 91st edition of the tradeshow was buzzing with excitement, sound and colour. The theme this year was #PittiDanceOff and the central courtyard was dominated by a huge art installation of ‘dancing’ mop heads, gloves and even shopping trolleys.
As well as this colour, there was of course the obligatory selection of colourful characters. The now famous Pitti “Peacocks” – bloggers, designers and other fashion types – provide as much fodder for the photographers as the collections themselves. But the show IS about the brands, so what did we learn?
Menswear is GROWING
This fact was clear from the sheer scale of Pitti Uomo this year. With 1,220 brands showcasing their collections, 200 more than last year, and brands including Moose Knuckle and Rossignol significantly growing their presence, there was no doubt this is a growing segment of the fashion market. Men are showing increasing interest in what they wear and are becoming more discerning of both style and quality.
Retailers are quickly cottoning on and everyone from Louis Vuitton to New Look launched male-only retail spaces in 2016. The online and fast fashion retailers are following suit: boohooman.com appeared online last year and Mennace (from Misguided) is currently expanding and on the lookout for a London flagship.
Curation is Key
Men have different shopping needs and behaviours, and therefore brands require a clear focus and sometimes a limited line is the way forward. We caught up with menswear brand The Cords which is aiming to do for corduroy what Levi’s did for denim: ‘bringing corduroy out of the boardroom and onto the beach’. Their strategy? Open stores globally later this year with a small, curated range of trouser styles for men and women as well as several jackets and accessories. They also have an answer to summer corduroy conundrums with their needlecord fabric in eye-popping pastel colours forming a S/S collection later this year. Coming to London in 2017. Watch this space.
Streetwear, particularly footwear has seen huge growth in popularity in the European market with American brands such as Supreme hopping the pond and launching collaborations with everyone from Comme des Garçons to Budweiser. This was certainly clear at Pitti where brands such as Les Benjamins, Pony, SUN68, and Adidas Originals all had a large presence.
The lines between traditional menswear and streetwear are becoming increasingly blurred and this particularly targets the growing millennial market. This age group now spends around 60% more per year on clothes than the average man, according to Pragma 2017 research, and is therefore an important sector to watch. Millennial males are interesting to brands because they have the appetite for the new. They no longer want to dress like their Dad or their Uncle and therefore are more likely to read fashion columns or search for brands on Instagram to find the latest products and styles. It was interesting that this was so evident at Pitti which in previous years has been focused on traditional, even heritage, European styles… the landscape of menswear is changing.
The ones to watch
Bronnie Edwards works in the Central London Retail team which provides retail strategy and advice to large landlord estates across Central London including Carnaby Estate, Rathbone Square, Regent Street St James and St Martin’s Courtyard, Covent Garden. Contact Bronnie.