Menswear breaks free from standard normcore stigmas and uniformity

Fashion is constantly changing and menswear, normally associated with classic and sporty looks, is no exception. So how is menswear still defined at a time when role models like musician Harry Styles are shaping the style of a younger generation? And what about the “classic” consumer of men’s clothing?

Trend expert Julian Daynov can shed some light on these questions. Daynov, who lives and works in Berlin, has extensive experience in the fashion industry – he is a brand consultant, content creator and trend forecaster. He was also active as a buyer for the American luxury department store Saks Fifth Avenue. FashionUnited caught up with Daynov at the Pitti Uomo menswear show in Florence where he was showcasing his current collaboration with Studio Seidensticker, the German clothing company’s progressive line.

Men’s fashion is changing, but where is it going?

It’s not just men’s fashion, it’s fashion, society, the whole world. However, for menswear, most of these changes have their roots in our modern interpretation of masculinity. We are breaking with gender roles, old norms and old beliefs when it comes to everything around us. Change is our new wave.

The spectrum of contemporary menswear now has a fluid heritage and only highlights the characteristics and qualities of modern men: brave but still gentle, daring but still vulnerable, inspiring, sporty, chic, alternative, punk, expressive, caring, free of this flaw fit the normal stigma and patriarchal uniformity in which our parents were trapped.

I kind of see liberation as a key concept and driving force in this context – menswear is moving noticeably into a more experimental playing field, which was previously a privilege mainly for womenswear.

What observations did you make?

There’s so much we’re witnessing in menswear right now and it all has its valid underpinnings – an ultimate shape-shifting approach to clothing, a poetic, nostalgic yearning for the 90s, a farewell to hipster or hype-beast culture, and a whole new wave of icons and models redefining the modern masculinity that surrounds us.

What has been deeply ingrained is obsolete, and not just in a fashion sense – it’s more of a level of ideological change that we’re experiencing here. And men’s fashion just reflects that and adapts to it.

Who are these role models?

Harry Styles, Jared Leto, Troye Sivan – to name a few. They are not just ambassadors of fashion or trend awareness, they are spreading a new mindset and a new attitude towards oneself.

Image: Harry Styles at the Brit Awards 2023 in London | Credit: Isabel Infantes / AFP

At Studio Seidensticker, you yourself develop a progressive approach for a traditional clothing company. How do these two movements coexist?

Studio Seidensticker, as a diffusion line within the brand universe of the Seidensticker Group, focuses on creating timeless yet modern looks and curates a range of pieces that transcend classic categories, occasions and beliefs. of gender. It takes a contemporary approach and combines it with heritage and today’s values: effortless clothing, easy silhouettes, the highest quality fabrics – and all produced with respect for nature and nature. each in the context of production.

In fact, it is exactly the coexistence of these two parameters that makes the whole brand and the story behind it so special and valuable – linking tradition and modernity, heritage and zeitgeist, generations of craftsmen and visionary creatives is a crucial part of the identity of this project and shows how change and adaptability are incremental for the growth, continuity and validation of a company over several generations.

Craftsmanship and heritage probably also bring benefits?

Yes, many young brands often struggle with a lack of expertise and in-depth knowledge in building, sourcing and manufacturing garments. It’s much easier to partner with someone who has been leading the way in designing and manufacturing all types of shirts for over 100 years. It is exactly the combination of heritage, tradition and know-how, all associated with the desire for modernity and the desire to interpret a garment as sacred and steeped in history as a shirt and to place it in the context of our time. .

And how was it for you to work with such a traditional clothing company?

My collaboration with the Seidensticker family took place very sincerely and out of friendship and admiration for everyone’s work. Working with creative director Marc Biggemann, who is certainly one of the most rewarding aesthetes I’ve had the privilege of working with, we’ve developed a capsule collection that reflects my personal style and draws inspiration from the signature looks I’ve had the privilege of working with. I’ve found for myself and have consistently requested over the years – boxy shirt silhouettes that are loose and clean that are easy to play with and can be styled in many ways to create various options for timeless looks and all that just as gorgeous for whoever wears them.

Is the classic menswear customer also ready for this step?

Fashion itself is a very influential mass media, an educational platform full of visual statements and we all know that over time we learn a lot through what we see and interpret in our own way.

For me, what the industry continues to call “the classic menswear shopper” is changing slowly, but certainly noticeably: less dandy, more experimental; less dogmatically rooted in dress codes and hierarchies; more open to modern codes and individuality.

Even those “classic” guys often quoted in market research now perceive life differently: they too live through their screens, seek inspiration on social networks, take inspiration from global style icons and most of what they see no longer revolves around the old classic way of dressing.

Fashion always captures the pulse of time and shows that society is ready for a liberation of mentalities, consumption and a new modernity: in the office, on the red carpet, in bed, on the screen…

Collections are more often titled with terms like “unisex” and “gender fluid.” Is this a step in the right direction or almost a “pinkwashing”?

It is a fact that fashion has always been a “safe space” in which non-normative gender identities were naturally accepted, celebrated and reinforced. I am so happy to see that more and more gender fluidity has moved from the margins of denial or activism and into modern public consciousness in so many parts of our lives.

Designing a unisex collection essentially reflects an understanding of consumer clothing culture – celebrating beauty and appreciating looks and attitude beyond what has been defined as binary input. Men’s fashion will clearly continue to expand and explore new territory – this will certainly lead to the emergence of so many new trends and the fluidity of being more present. I think we’re going to move more and more from our purchasing model by department to ranges for all genres.

How do labels manage to design a collection that really caters to all genres and not just casual with sweaters and T-shirts?

When it comes to the essence of our unisex pieces, we tend to be pretty easy-going: fits are quite loose and boxy, silhouettes are oversized, size ranges are fluid. All gender fashion works through the overall look and the attitude, coolness and ideology it promotes.

What advice would you give to a brand that wants to approach a younger target?

It is essential to live or at least dive deep into this particular bubble you aim to create – understanding the priorities, values ​​and preferences of the new generation of customers is essential to being perceived as a legitimate brand in the way they want to go through life: free, responsible, effortless, positive.

I very often confront even very established creative directors or renowned designers if they really know what moves their audience, how they live, how they consume, how they spend their time, what decides them to allocate money fashionable.

What did you learn in these conversations?

Not many actually know the audience they are designing for. I invite everyone to engage more with their desired customer base, spend time in the market, and better understand what drives them to make a certain buying decision in favor of a brand or product. Engaging with communities of buyers is a currency that few brands know how to negotiate.

Which designers are shaping menswear right now?

The aesthetics of Gucci in recent years under Alessandro Michele, JW Anderson in his work for his eponymous brand and also for Loewe, the refined definition of silent luxury by Daniel Lee, the artistic extravagance of Chitose Abe and the play with fabrics, lengths, volumes and layers, Martine Rose, Miuccia [Prada] and Raf [Simons].

Image: FW23 collections of Prada, Sacai and JW Anderson (left to right) | Credit: Launchmetrics Projector

What is your must-have piece for this summer?

I keep my summer wardrobe really airy, loose, boxy and silky and I live for a total look – wild Marni or Jacquemus prints, long satin kaftans, wide trousers and oversized shirts are always in my vacation suitcases. Somehow I’m not a fan of linen, which most people love in the summer – it certainly feels nice on the skin, but doesn’t necessarily look flawless after the first wrinkles.

In terms of items, I slip through all the variations of Birkenstock Boston suede clogs, white oversized white shirts, and spice things up with flashy Bottega Veneta and Jil Sander bags and tonal bucket hats. Oh, definitely on my summer shopping list: a pair of Prada loafers for sullen evenings after a long day at the beach.

Last but not least: What is your first impression of the Pitti Uomo 104?

We [editor’s note: Seidensticker stand] there was already a lot to do on the first day and we received great feedback.

What brands should shoppers look out for at Pitti?

I haven’t had much time to look around yet. But you should definitely keep an eye out for Ksenia Schneider, Permu, Do, Hul Le Kes and of course Rossi and Seidensticker.

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