The all-new Boutique Magazine Menswear Section
Men’s fashion is having a moment. According to the latest figures from industry watcher Mintel, menswear now contributes £12.9 billion to the UK economy. And with 65 per cent of transactions being carried out online, the market offers huge opportunities for multi-channel retailers.
The growth of the industry speaks for itself. Since launching in summer 2012, menswear-dedicated fashion week London Collections: Men has seen unprecedented success with a jam-packed four-day schedule and proverbial thumbs up from the fashion press. There’s no wonder that Pure London organisers have decided to cash in on the growing sector by adding an all-new menswear division to this August’s show. Indeed, according to its research, almost 20 per cent of its existing visitors already stock menswear labels. And this figure is predicted to rise as more retailers widen their target markets in a bid to increase sales.
One independent that braved a move into menswear is Derbyshire’s Young Ideas. Taken over by Anne Wright in 2008, a key strategy to move the business forward was to add a range of men’s collections to its list of power brands. Today its menswear labels include Paul Smith, Joules, Belstaff and 7 For All Mankind. “We originally wanted to bring our customers men’s and women’s ranges to develop our retail footprint as a multi-product store,” says menswear manager Paula Preston. “We have now become a destination shop for many couples and families by providing personal customer service, select product edits and unique interiors to offer an experiential aspect of shopping.”
Since the move the store has seen an increase in male shoppers – mostly at the weekends. But men are notoriously different consumers to their female counterparts so adapting the store to suit their needs has been essential. “Men like convenience and spend less time shopping,” says Preston. “Their visit frequency is lower but they react well to one-to-one service and styling ideas to help build outfits. They like practical solutions and aspire to exclusive quality designer brands with focus on key pieces.”
Meanwhile footwear specialist Tower London has always included menswear as part of its business strategy. Director Gerry Demopoulos agrees that when it comes to men, practically is key. “Female customers are often more invested in the experience of shopping as oppose to men who are normally looking to purchase a specific item and then leave,” he explains. “Men predominantly respond to the practical aspects of the retail experience. The merchandising needs to be clear and functional to navigate. Being on top of stock levels is also key as men are more specific about which item they are after and will be more influenced by whether the exact item they came for is in stock.”
And when it comes to online sales, he believes that men are also utilitarian shoppers: “Speed and ease of use for the website and a simple checkout process are key traits described in online feedback, adds Demopoulos.
It’s clear that the male population is becoming increasingly open to more diverse fashion and is demanding choice from stores. So if you’ve ever considered the opportunities of adding a menswear range to your boutique’s product offering, there’s truly never been a better time to man up.