Battle of the bulge

Ben Freeman

In days of old, the fashion industry spent trillions of pennies developing its collections, solely targeted at the female of the species. Men were generally ignored as they have not traditionally been as dedicated to the art of dressing since the days of Beau Brummell, pioneer of men’s fashion in the 19th century.

This trend does appear to be changing, as straight men realise that dressing well and taking pride in their appearance does not automatically make them gay, meaning the male fashion industry is booming. It would have been unthinkable twenty years ago that a high fashion designer would be designing only for men, but this can be seen today at Tom Ford Menswear.

The clothes designed by Mr. Ford don’t take the piss by being so over the top that no self respecting man would be caught dead in them; his collection is full of clothes which are beautifully cut, classic pieces, and he’s not the only designer concentrating on menswear. Dior has created Dior Homme – an up to date, on the pulse men’s fashion brand.

Hedi Slimane’s collection concentrated on slim fit styling, which has seriously taken off on the high street, resulting in it now being hard to walk down Byres Road without seeing a pair of testicles constrained within skinny jeans. Balenciaga has also successfully launched a menswear label and, like Ford, the designs do not require men to check their masculinity at the door.

Not only is the fashion industry taking men’s clothing seriously but there are a growing number of men’s fashion magazines, an important step in creating male fashion aficionados. With the influence of high fashion brands growing, it’s possible that their commitment to male fashion will trickle down into the high street, finally providing men with as much choice and style as women have been lucky enough to have for years.

David Kirkpatrick

I can’t deny it. We’ve all seen it coming. The clothes on a man’s back are no longer picked by his girlfriend or off of the floor. From man-bags to guy-liner, men are forging their way into the world of clothing and the fashion industry is leading them by the hand.

You are the modern man, no one’s questioning your sexuality and no ones stripping you of your masculinity, we’re just asking you to wrap it in skin tight denim and parade it for the world to see. Snap those fingers, take those bad boys for a stroll, but wait, Dad? What are you wearing? Yes that’s right, there’s nothing new about skinny jeans and there’s nothing new about male fashion.

So why does it seem that we’ve just invented the fashionable man? Topman has been providing stylish clothing for men since 1978 and Burton stretches even further back, having opened in 1903. Numerous high street stores exist offering male fashion at wallet friendly prices — to get the look of tight jeans you don’t have to be Slimane, just slim.

Fashion has always been about using your body to make a statement (think of Jordan) and as a means of attraction. People who take an interest in what they wear want others to take an interest in them. Therefore, it could be argued that the modern man, who has traded his licence to kill for a permit to dress, only wants to be wearing enough of what’s ‘in’ to be noticed.

The realisation that clothing enhances your appearance, and that appearances are linked to physical attraction, has suddenly dawned and the market is in turn expanding to cater for our budding Beckhams. But nothing’s changed really — we’re still the same guys, with one thing on our mind, only now we’ve got a new honey trap, and we’ve got it in three different colours.


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