Men’s Fashion Week kicked off its 13th season this Saturday in London and it is already taking the fashion world by storm.
When one hears “Fashion Week”, one usually envisions women strutting down the runway in impossible ensembles created by the world’s hottest designers.
But, in recent years, the fashion industry has recognized that importance of men in the fashion world with a whirlwind of events focusing only on men’s fashion.
It is important to acknowledge the creation of these events as revolutionary in a world that has long focused on women’s clothing and “femininity” as an outlet for their craft.
So, what is Men’s Fashion Week? How did it get started? And what makes it different from its more famous counterpart?
What is Men’s Fashion Week?
Men’s Fashion Week is an event that is held twice a year in various locations, typically once in January and then again in June. Rather than a week, Men’s Fashion Week is more of a month to a two-month-long spectacle in the world of men’s fashion.
Like it’s famous forefather Fashion Week, it is an event that is held for fashion professionals and the fashion elite with some shows being an invitation-only event and other shows being open to the public.
Unlike its more famous counterpart Fashion Week, however, events during Men’s Fashion Week present shows that showcase clothing for men exclusively. Multiple shows happen each day and the event moves from country to country to showcase designers of different nationalities and fashion origins.
What is the Origin of Men’s Fashion Week?
Men’s Fashion Week was announced in January of 2012 by designers in London. The announcement that they would dedicate this time only to men’s fashion set a new precedent for other fashion capitals to begin spearheading their own Men’s Fashion Weeks.
Los Angeles soon followed with their own Men’s Fashion Week, leading the way for Toronto and Vancouver to begin hosting their events.
- Wait…13th season?
Fashion has two notable seasons a year in which they hold their fashion shows. Once in the fall/winter and once in the spring/summer. For Men’s Fashion Week, there is one in January-February and another showing again in June-July. This means that there are two seasons a year, adding up to 13 total seasons since its inception in 2012.
Where is Men’s Fashion Week Held?
Men’s Fashion Week is held across the world in many locations. Previously, there have been Men’s Fashion Weeks hosted in Puerto Rico, Los Angeles, and New York.
This year, the rotation starts with London hosting their Men’s Fashion Week January 5, 6, and 7. Florence hosts events from the 8th to the 11th before we travel to beautiful Milan on the 11th-14th.
The last events take place in France with Paris hosting the largest event that runs from the 15th through the 20th.
Paris Men’s Fashion Week is unique in that Paris does not only showcase their men’s collections in these events, but they also make the menwear shows a part of their regular Fashion Week schedule, giving designers a minimum of four opportunities a year to showcase collections.
This helps them showcase menswear during other times of the year and gives menswear a broader focus in the fashion culture of today.
Who can Attend Men’s Fashion Week?
Each show during Men’s Fashion Week follows a different protocol. Many shows are open to the public and you simply have to buy a ticket.
Other shows are by invitation only and open specifically to industry leaders and members of the fashion community. Influencers, models, celebrities, and fashion writers tend to get invitations to these events while the rest of the world has to wait for the write-up.
This is so that they can see products, write reviews, and provide greater publicity for the label without laypeople posting pictures and reviews online, ruining their ultimate reveal.
Each location, or city, has a different protocol when it comes to getting tickets for these events. If you plan on attending multiple shows, even if it is in the same city, do your research to make sure that you can purchase tickets and that the show is not going to be a strict invitation or list only show.
- What makes it unique?
Men’s Fashion Week is unique in a few aspects. The first is that it showcases only menswear while Fashion Week showcases both clothing for men and women. The second aspect is that there is a greater push to have male designers and designers who only design menswear to be present and have a runway show at these events.
Men’s Fashion Week brings awareness to the workings within the world of men’s fashion and is creating a norm for men’s fashion. It also focuses heavily on streetwear where Fashion Week can focus on haute couture, streetwear, and formal wear. It is a practical experience for men who want to strive for a fashionable appearance.
- Why is this important?
Men’s Fashion Week is important for multiple reasons. First, it brings attention to the men’s fashion industry. Men’s fashion has not gotten the attention that women’s fashion has garnered throughout the years.
The fashion industry has been erudite and geared toward women, specifically women of small sizes. By bringing this attention to men’s fashion, Men’s Fashion Week sheds light on a genre of fashion that has lacked coverage and has been prone to stereotypes.
By drawing attention to menswear, we are creating a safe place for men to discuss and discover fashion and the fashion industry.
By removing the mask over the men’s industry, the fashion industry is lessening the archaic, negative stigma that has been associated with men’s interest in fashion.
The fashion industry is also focusing on fashion problems that face men, such as comfort, the lack of color in men’s fashion when it comes to professional wear, and the lack of unique designs that have plagued men’s fashion for decades.
If the fashion industry continues this focus on men’s fashion wear, men will have the same fashion variety that women have in the clothing industry.
- What is special about this year’s Men’s Fashion Week?
The fall/winter Men’s Fashion Week for 2019 features several events that are unique to 2019. First on the docket is Celine’s menswear debut. The designer behind the line, Hedi Slimane, garnered attention last year due to some controversial statements made about what women want backstage at his women’s runway show.
Now that the controversy has died down a little, Hedi is back to work on the new Celine line, exclusively for men. There are a lot of predictions about this show, but the fashion world can only wait with bated breath to see the line as it finishes out the events in Paris.
No matter what it brings, the Celine collection promises to be a spectacle.
Critics are also excited about the Louis Vuitton and Dior Homme lines that will be presented this year. The designers for both lines are fresh from winning gongs at this year’s Fashion Awards.
After this big win, it is up to the designers to craft follow-up collections that will wow and excite the masses of fashion lovers.
The two lines were complete opposites at last year’s Men’s Fashion Week, with the Dior collection harkening back to the retro styles crafted by Christian Dior himself and the Louis Vuitton show shocking audiences with the new.
It will be interesting to see what the front runners of the line pull off this year.
One thing that we do know about the Louis Vuitton show is the inspiration that Virgil Abloh has taken from. Last year, Abloh’s show for his own label, Off-White, took inspiration from pop culture icon Diana, Princess of Wales.
He uses similar inspiration for his second menswear collection for Louis Vuitton by paying homage to King of Pop, Michael Jackson. In an interview about the line, Abloh stated that Michael Jackson’s music has always been an inspiration to his design process and paying homage to his idol just made sense.
- Fashion writers were fearful of London’s schedule
London this year was originally forecasted to be a hit or miss show of talent, with writers unsure of what they would see from the schedule. London’s schedule was completely devoid of big-name shows critics were used to seeing.
It was left up to young talent to bring the fashion world exciting moments from the UK. Art School made their first solo catwalk debut, which was promising. While there were many reliable bets for good, quality fashion, there was a fear that nothing revolutionary would be seen.
Critics breathed a sigh of relief when the Craig Green and Martine Rose shows were announced to provide a defining fashion moment for the city of London.
- The schedule is…missing some names
Paris is stealing all of the big name shows, which isn’t unheard of…except, this year, the schedule is simply missing some of the popular names in fashion we have come to expect, with Gucci, Saint Laurent and Burberry completely absent.
This is not something that was an oversight or was due to their lines not being runway ready. This is actually due to the push toward the fashion gender binary collapsing. With this push toward non-binary clothing, several big names have simply disappeared from gender-specific runway shows.
With the push toward non-binary clothing, fashion houses simply save money, time, and resources by combining their shows at Fashion Week to create one statement rather than several less-successful statements throughout the year.
This is also why the lines are pushing streetwear: to focus on a segment of the industry that is providing a creative focus for men at this time. Unfortunately, it leaves Milan and Paris short on big names to drive their shows.
- What big names are still showing?
Despite the push toward gender-neutral clothing in the fashion industry, several big names are still going to be present at this year’s Men’s Fashion Week. Here is a list of the biggest names still on the schedule to show their collections:
– Craig Green (London)
– Martine Rose (London)
– Versace (Milan)
– Prada (Milan)
– Fendi (Milan)
– Armani (Milan)
– Dior (Paris)
– Christian Dada (Paris)
– Louis Vuitton (Paris)
– Hermes (Paris)
– Celine (Paris)
These big name houses are all presenting highly anticipated shows at Men’s Fashion Week this year. While we do not yet know what all of these shows have in store, we do know that it will be exciting to see the revolutionary things that these companies do for men’s fashion during this season.
People are losing their Minds Over Alton Mason
For the unindoctrinated, you’re probably saying, “…who?” Let’s start there! Alton Mason is a 21-year-old dancer turned model who amazed crowds in December at the Chanel show in New York.
He was subsequently voted the Male Model of the Year for 2018. While he has not confirmed that he will be walking the runway in any of the shows, it is expected that he will make his return during Men’s Fashion Week and the fashion world is incredibly excited for his career to flourish.
While people were nervous about the showings at Men’s Fashion Week this year, the runway shows promise to make revolutionary statements for the fashion industry.
Despite many shows opting to simply make one, united statement at the general fashion week, many big names will still be showing their newest menswear creations with Dior and Louis Vuitton currently spearheading the list of frontrunners for “highest anticipated showing of the season.”
The events in London, despite original fears that they were hit or miss, has started out Men’s Fashion Week strong, with preliminary reviews raving about the showing that the young talent has made this season.
With Florence, Milan, and Paris still prepping their shows and catwalks, the fashion industry is sure to bring many more surprises over the next month that will revolutionize men’s fashion.
From Dior to Celine, Armani to Prada, exciting things will be coming our way before Men’s Fashion Week concludes on January 20th.