WWD asked industry figures the following questions: What is going to be the driver of your business in the next six months? Where do you see the menswear market moving?
Ken Gushner, president, Boyds of Philadelphia:
I believe the driver(s) for our business will be the overall development of our new permanent store that we opened in the suburbs, and the continuation of men emerging from “stay and work at home” into the workplace and social arena.
As for where we see menswear moving in the next six months, I think the answer to that is embedded in my first answer: nothing revolutionary in terms of fashion but a thirst for quality, sophisticated merchandise presented with sincerity, convenient service and enthusiasm.
Dana Katz, owner, Miltons
We expect the driving force to be primarily special-occasion needs where we outfit wedding parties, guests attending weddings and young men attending proms.
We see or hope that the menswear market will continue to show and gain acceptance for new silhouettes and models in the form of double-breasted suits and sport coats, pleated pants and looser, more relaxed garments. This will create obsolescence in wardrobes that have not changed for many years and stimulate more buying. In addition, we see an even greater proliferation of performance-piece goods and fabrications that lend themselves to comfort and utility.
We continue to see tremendous growth in our luxe essentials business with cashmere and Italian wools dominating this past season. As we go into 2023, we will see the growth of our seasonal programs like seaside linen and Japanese rayon dominate our business with the expansion of updated soft tailored and relaxed fits. We also see great success in expanding our retail presence across the country and as a result, see increased online revenue driven from these key growth markets, proving the overall health and strength of our business.
We are finally seeing a welcomed push away from fitted tailoring, streetwear and athleisure trends that dominated the market for years. There’s a major return to sophisticated menswear and tailoring reminiscent of the ’80s, but now in a reimagined way where texture, drape and volume are essential. I am seeing people pay attention to how they present themselves with quality, fit and the presence of thoughtful design now more so than ever.
Colm Dillane, founder and designer, KidSuper
I could say bags or shoes or knitwear, but those come and go. I want my main driver of business to be the stories that I tell. I want the KidSuper fan base to be driven to purchase because they love and respect what the brand is doing.
I think brick-and-mortar will be back, but in a different way. Stores will be places to not only shop but congregate, exchange ideas, and find like-minded individuals. At least that is what I am trying to create at KidSuper. I really don’t look at what should work or will work. I create what I, and people around me, would like and hope that the world agrees and if they don’t… I think they should.
Sam Archibald, general business manager of apparel, Macy’s
The biggest trends in menswear we are seeing are refined dressing and maximalism. Men want to get “dressed up” again whether it’s for work or everyday activities, but they want to be comfortable doing so. We’re seeing this come to life via relaxed silhouettes and an emphasis on soft fabrications across the board, from tailoring to denim. There is also the incorporation of traditionally “ready-to-wear” details such as embellishments, embroidery and high-shine finishes into the menswear space that are allowing men to own their style in a bold new way that builds on the momentum around color we’ve been tracking.
There will also be a bigger emphasis on sustainability with menswear. From recycled and upcycled fabric to thoughtful packaging, every element is important and carefully considered by customers prior to purchasing.
Menswear will continue to grow stronger and become more diverse as we see more men express interest in exploring and celebrating their own personal stye. Menswear has been a fertile ground for trends that has influenced the broader fashion landscape and this trend will continue in 2023.
Louis DiGiacomo, senior vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s, Saks Fifth Avenue
Our customers are shopping for multifunctional, head-to-toe looks for office to evening dressing driven by easy tailoring paired with striped and linen blend shirts, novelty polos, fine gauge knitwear and pops of color. In footwear, we’re seeing a shift toward updated loafer and dress shoe styles as well as clean sneakers.
Overall, we’re seeing a continued elevation in the market in everything from fabrications to product construction and details. Additionally, our customers are increasingly interested in exploration, both with fashion and statement pieces as well as new and emerging designers. Buy-now-wear-now pieces will continue to have an increased importance as we head into 2023.
Jack Carlson, creative director, Rowing Blazers
I think a combination of our core basics — the simple things we do really well and that are evergreen, like polos, rugby shirts, and classic tailored pieces — and more special, limited-edition drops and collaboration will drive our business in the next six months. This combination has been our bread and butter for a while now, and it works for us.
I think [the menswear market] is going to be eclectic, vintage-inspired, and a little preppy. But I think the preppy stuff people want isn’t just a recycle of early 2000s. It has to be a bit more interesting than that. We aren’t a streetwear brand at all — but I do like streetwear and I try to incorporate some of the concepts and philosophies more frequently associated with streetwear into what we do. That mix of the classics and some “newer” ideas keeps us fresh.
Dan Orwig, president, Peerless Clothing
Although the market continues to be fragile and there is clear pressure on consumers’ discretionary spend, we believe there is still a great opportunity in tailored clothing and dress wear. We believe we will benefit from another strong six to nine months of celebrations which include weddings, proms, graduations and Easter. The suit may not become the daily work uniform anytime soon, but we do believe a more polished work attire will continue to boost our category. There will always be a need for the business suit for meetings and events. And as more companies institute a hybrid back-to-the-office plan, the refined professional attire will continue to evolve.
We are still seeing a strong trend in dress wear. We believe the increased demand will hold through spring and start to normalize in fall. While core is still the foundation of our business, we are seeing a strong demand for fashion too. This includes vibrant colors, bold patterns and new silhouettes. The double-breasted suit and sport coat, which have a great history with Peerless, are items we feel strongly about. We are also continuing to see soft and more relaxed fits. Most importantly, we have the best brand and retail partners that truly stand for the dress category. They do an amazing job creating an experience for the consumer to feel confident and eager to dress up.
Andrew Berg, president and CEO, Robert Graham
Our RG “Collector” continues to be highly motivated to travel for work and leisure, which will drive sales in our key wovens category, as well as some of our newer categories, including soft tailoring, performance knitwear and the RG Clubhouse line. Additionally, brick-and-mortar stores have reemerged as a central part of the omnichannel experience. While the pandemic accelerated a digital-only reliance mindset (which many thought would remain long-term), the post-pandemic customer is seeking the benefits and experiences of a brand’s physical representation. RG has 27 thriving stores, a digital flagship and trusted wholesale partners across the U.S. creating the desired omnichannel mix.
The menswear market is reembracing tailoring (formal & unconstructed) and a more refined way of dressing, all with a laid-back “comfort” approach. The desire to look sharper for the office and our social calendars while maintaining some desired elements from the work-from-home era has created a need for functional-versatile-meets-tailored dressing. RG is offering new performance fabrications and silhouettes across key categories, especially in blazers and wovens.
Eugene Tutunikov, CEO of SwissWatchExpo
SwissWatchExpo is one of the largest digital-first retailers of pre-owned luxury watches. We carry an inventory of over 3,000 pieces for sale, and are fully vertically integrated with sales, operations, marketing, authentication of watches, service/repair of watches, and polishing all done under one roof. We are going to finish 2022 up around 30 percent in sales versus 2021, something few e-commerce businesses will be able to claim.
The increases in interest rates and falling of asset prices globally have constrained spending by our customers. In this environment, bloated organizations struggle. It is important to be scrappy, nimble and lean, all qualities we have built our business on. We are one of the largest retailers of pre-owned watches in the world, and the only one that has never taken on any investors. When it is your own money on the line, you always micromanage the expenses, processes, inventory quality and customer experience. So while other companies will be cutting, we will be building and investing for growth. That is how we come out ahead on the other side of the asset deflation the world is currently seeing.
We have built our business on the values of variety, transparency and reliability. These same values will continue to lead to our growth in 2023.
We are seeing more consumers looking to shop pre-owned, our specialty, many doing it for the first time. They enjoy the variety it offers, the savings it offers, and sustainability. Rolex has announced their own certified pre-owned program launch, which will have a lot of marketing around it in 2023, so I expect the pre-owned consumer interest to only increase. Given we are the masters in the pre-owned watch market, this a welcome wind at our sails.
We are seeing a shift away from the larger watches to smaller recently — 43mm+ dial sizes were all the rage a few years ago, now we are seeing even larger wrists looking for a 39mm or 40mm model. I expect this trend to continue; smaller watches are coming back into vogue.
Also, as we like to say here, green is the new blue. Blue dial watches were all the rage for years, and now we are seeing extreme increases in demand for green dials, also something that seems to have continued momentum.
Justin Reis, CEO + cofounder, WatchBox
Our key drivers going into 2023 will be community and curation — bringing exceptionally unique, complicated, rare and interesting watches to our collectors around the world. We recognize that there’s an insatiable appetite across the WatchBox community to learn, to forge relationships with fellow collectors as well as emotional connections with these mechanical pieces of art. Iron sharpens iron, and when we come together, the fascination with horology is strengthened — among both our collectors and our client advisers. Through events such as our F.P. Journe and De Bethune retrospective exhibition, and informal gatherings across our global locations, WatchBox is fostering environments to broaden one’s interests, dig even deeper into the brands we’re most passionate about, and cultivate lasting connections across our community.
Men’s luxury has become a storytelling phenomenon — the story of its creator, its provenance, and its place in the luxury ecosystem. These stories resonate with our consumer; enriching their experience, fueling brand loyalty, and in turn, becoming a part of one’s own collecting narrative. “Collecting together” is a common refrain across WatchBox, and in this context, it reinforces our commitment to educate, inspire and surface these stories. Seeing and touching a special timepiece is an important part of storytelling and helps foster an authentic connection. All of this underscores WatchBox’s expanding physical presence around the world.
Ouigi Theodore, founder and creative director, The Brooklyn Circus
The next few months we are excited about the release of several collaborations we worked on this past year, while expanding our retail footprint and retail experience; 2023, look out for The Brooklyn Circus’ concept and “Global Village” in a new city near you. We are also bringing in some new creative juice to power up our “Global Village” — can’t wait to share more.
We are always focused on our “100 Year Plan” and what we are doing next. The market does what the market does again and again. We will continue to move toward a better human experience with quality goods to support that. That’s where the market should always move toward in my opinion — style and character.
Sarah Ahmed, creative director, DL1961
The first half of 2023 will be a time when we continue to focus on circularity, merging fashion together with sustainability and performance. In late 2022, we saw great success with our Perfect Moment collaboration. We partnered with them to bring denim back to the slopes, turning the classic fabric into high-performance skiwear made with recycled cotton and sustainable manufacturing. We’re excited to explore more strategic partnerships in 2023, proving that fashion and sustainability aren’t mutually exclusive. This first of which will be with the boundary-pushing denim brand Ksenia Schnaider.
The menswear market is moving in a more classic, vintage direction with more loose-fitting silhouettes. As a result, we have seen many customers gravitate toward our looser fitting styles, such as our Glen jean, a relaxed wide-leg jean with extra room throughout, which follows the popular Y2K trends that we have been noticing are popular. In addition, our brand has many styles that focus on functionality that is perfect for the workplace and gives off a vintage feel through the different washes and fabrics we use.
Greg Schwartz, cofounder and chief operating officer, StockX
Our customers are the lifeblood of our business. As such, in the next six months (and beyond) our focus is on introducing new products and offerings that will enable StockX to deliver the best possible experience for our buyers and sellers around the world. From introducing new seller tools to help customers grow their businesses, and enhancing our presence in key global markets to continuing to double down on our investments in verification technology, the customer experience will have our undivided attention in 2023.
Once dominated by a few players, a wider range of brands are finding success in sneakers and streetwear. We’ve been watching this play out in footwear with the likes of Salomon and Birkenstock breaking into the “hype” category in a major way, and in apparel with young labels like Drew House and SP5DER commanding attention. We expect this trend to continue in the new year as new entrants compete for share of wallet.
Collaborations are one tool that has helped both new entrants and established brands break through. Partnerships with artists and creators help these brands capture the attention of new audiences and remain top-of-mind with existing customers. Take New Balance and Puma, for example — these stalwarts all recognize that celebrities and industry leaders have the power to cultivate hype, revive older silhouettes, and impact pricing. Because of this, these brands were responsible for some of the year’s most successful footwear collaborations on StockX in 2022. And this strategy isn’t exclusive to sneakers; we’re seeing brands across apparel, collectibles and more take a similar approach to new releases. While this isn’t necessarily new, I think collaborations are something we’ll continue to see across the menswear market in the upcoming year.