Outerwear sales warmed up in the first three quarters of the year as performance technology, lighter weights and versatile, multifunction designs boosted consumer interest. While weather patterns have condensed the shopping season for heavy coats, design trends and fabric innovation have increased interest in lighter-weight jackets year-round, said brands and buyers.
“This season, we saw a lot of lighter weights, transitional pieces and technological aspects, whether in fabrics or interior details like zip-out linings and bibs,” said Kathy Glynn, president of the Andrew Marc division of G-III Apparel Group Ltd. “The weather is getting colder later in the season and a lot of guys are wearing suits again, so they don’t need heavy, heavy coats. He’s putting the coat over the suit or jacket.
For the 12 months ended in September, men’s outerwear sales increased 6.1 percent to $4.05 billion, up from $3.82 billion in the year-ago period, according to figures from The NPD Group.
That upward trend was reflected at Bloomingdale’s, where outerwear sales have been sturdy this season, said Kevin Harter, vice president of men’s fashion direction. “Based on last year’s warm weather, I was a little nervous if men would go out and buy a new piece of outerwear when they only wore last year’s purchases a few times. But the chilly weather this year has helped and the new design trends have helped,” he noted. RELATED STORY: Men's Wear Trend — Top Game >>
Top-selling outerwear brands at Bloomingdale’s this season included Moncler, Herno, Moorer and Canada Goose. In leather, which has had its strongest season in the past few years, key vendors included Sandro, Theory, Vince and John Varvatos. For spring, the department store is adding British label Hancock to its assortments.
“Basics have been the underperformers. It’s really about the fashion — like wool jackets layered with a zip-out down vest — that’s what our customer is responding to,” added Harter.
Lightweight and transitional-weight pieces have comprised 85 percent of all outerwear sales for Nautica so far this season. “The trend will continue for us next year, as weather patterns continue to be warming up all over the country,” predicted Karen Murray, president of VF Corp.’s sportswear coalition, which includes Nautica.
Performance fabrics have driven sales at Nautica, such as storm wools, lightweight wool with waterproof laminate and stretch fabrications with waterproof breathable membranes. Known for its commitment to environmental causes, Nautica has incorporated Sorona, an ecologically friendly alternative to nylon, in some of its jackets and coats.
One weak spot in department stores for Nautica was its Components series of jackets that features separate zip-in down and fleece components. “It was hard for the idea to translate with less sales help in this distribution channel to explain how to buy separate pieces that all worked together,” noted Murray.
At Macy’s, puffer vests have been strong sellers this season. “We will see even more emphasis on the vest as it is the ideal layering piece,” said Durand Guion, vice president and men’s fashion director at Macy’s. Another bright spot was a test rollout of Gerry that performed well and is being expanded into more top Macy’s doors.
Even during warmer weather, fashion trends can still spark outerwear sales, pointed out Guion. “The real trick that the women’s market has realized for years is to play on newness. Even when the weather does not dip into freezing, there is nothing more powerful than the draw of a new coat that will potentially get a compliment,” he explained. “There is more emphasis on texture and details, including flannels, tweeds, cable knits, toggle closures and faux fur trims.”
On the technology front, Andrew Marc has incorporated advanced, co-branded linings from Switzerland’s Schoeller that help regulate body temperature. Fashionwise, fur continues to be a prominent style element at the brand.
Fur has also been a key design element at Woolrich John Rich & Bros., particularly as trim on parka hoods. Military influences are a key style direction for the brand, such as a nylon field jacket with ram fur trim and down lining.
“We’ve always had performance fabrics in our line and everything is water repellent or resistant,” said Franco DiCarlo, chief executive of WP Lavori in Corso’s North American operations, which includes Woolrich John Rich & Bros. The brand has seen softness in West Coast sales this season but DiCarlo cautioned against blaming the weather.
Hybrid blazers that are warm enough to serve as outerwear jackets are increasingly important at many brands. The Travel Blazer has been a key item in the Victorinox lineup for the past three seasons. For fall 2013, the model is updated in a matte, 100 percent recycled polyester version with 40 grams of poly fill in the body and sleeves, with a retail price of $395. Another style in a wool blend with a quilted lining retails for $495.
“We are a mobile generation, running to trains or planes and people want innovative clothes for their daily adventures,” said Joachim Beer, president of global fashion at Victorinox, where outerwear comprised 45 percent of total unit volume this fall and winter. “This is a blazer that protects against wind and water and rain.”
In that vein, next year Victorinox will introduce jackets in waterproof, breathable wool that incorporate a laminated back for water resistance.
At Eddie Bauer, lightweight down jackets and coats have been the biggest sellers this season, particularly its trademarked MicroTherm product, featuring narrow quilting channels. The concept launched late last year and has an expanded product offering this year. “It’s very warm and slimming for its weight,” explained Damien Huang, senior vice president of product and design at the Seattle-based company.
Breathability is the big focus for Eddie Bauer next year, with the development of new fabric technologies that keep the body comfortable while insulated. “We want you to be warm but never sticky so you don’t overheat,” explained Huang. “The issue with down is that you have very shutdown, nonbreathable fabrics in order to enclose the down. For next year, we have a unique and different approach to managing that with new technologies, which we are in the process of naming now.”
Eddie Bauer is also adding performance features to natural fibers, such as water-repellent wool and cotton. “You get the breathability and comfort of cotton with the benefits of water resistance,” he noted of Storm Cotton, the trademarked name for the textile finishing process.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty