My fascination with advancement of technical performance didn’t start overnight, but it certainly got quite a boost in the last 10 years. Small advancements from a decade ago, seemed to be a natural fit with respect to our lifestyle flow, but now technology is confirming what my eyes have been telling me all along; competition pushes business along.
All these years later technology has captured my attention more than ever. With everything these days relating to science and computers, the menswear world can’t help but to examine motivations, behaviors and expectations by moving forward to stay alive. These days, menswear brands seems to be in a technical arms race-setting out to develop more progressive textiles and silhouettes that comply to today’s consumer standards. From unknown rudimentary companies to famous global brands, fashion brands are trying to outdo one another by the record-breaking process seen throughout the industry. Nevertheless, sometimes the forward march of progress in menswear is simply the result of a brands competitive fire!
Generation Z are people who were born between 1995-2012. To understand this generation is to understand that digital not only runs through their veins but that it is in their DNA. In a word, they are the most dependent upon digital devices devices and content. But the buck doesn’t stop there. The fact is that Generation Z is apparently seeking to flee social space in lieu of privacy. They are value conscious and possess a secure level of great confidence. They are viewed as a crowd sourcing generation with limitless visions of the world. Remember this is the DIY (do it yourself) generation that prefer to cultivate their ideal social environments without receiving help from outside.
As I am in the process of reviewing LCM, Pitti, Milan and Paris men’s fashion week FW 2019, I can’t help but be observant to the active participation through social platforms that is seemingly speeding up the pace of menswear changes due to technological advances. You see, these cultural changes speed up the daily accumulation of absorbed information. The cultural shift also influences menswear brands and the rapid changes of the fashion cycle that we are now witnessing like no time ever before in past history of apparel.
I recently reviewed fashion brand M1992 take the stage during Milan fashion week. I must say, M1992 has it’s finger on the pulse when it comes to understanding that Gen Z is not accustomed to waiting for a fashion magazine to tell them what trends are happening. This brand is ahead of the curve. Members of the Generation Z club have key influencers who they value and monitor online. In a word, this generation longs to be unique (remember, the great exodus from social media). They strive to dress with a message for each outfit through their extended self. They understand that the world is watching. Everything!
Dorian Tarantini, the multidisciplinary designer behind M1992, consistently plays with codes, creating his own language by mixing seemingly non-matching references. This season, the sequence included nods to the sixties and Britpop, as suggested by the room, an air of corporate properness, whiffs of Trellick Tower creep, and a blast of Cool Britannia swagger, complete with Adidas Gazelles, Baracuta jackets, cropped flares and a general air of Nineties mod, between Suburbia and Common People.
The defining London iconography of Britpop is seen through Italian eyes, for an authentic sense of belonging. Tarantini filters London through his own sensibility, blending power suits, and underground cockiness.
The silhouette is clean and poignant. Modern boxy tailored blazers and Harrington jackets in cropped or full volumes, quilted or plain, are matched with slim trousers that flare slightly stopping at the ankle. Strong outerwear, such as coats and coat-capes, feature British Millerein crests. Hunting Jackets provide a martial air, while snakeskin motifs and all-over Swarovski crystals add glitz, insouciantly pushing taste boundaries. Photo prints further expand the urban context; black leather hardens it.
Wools, coated cottons, technical jersey and Alcantara come in a London palette of blacks, royal blues, greys and browns lit with sudden dashes of white and bright orange.
The M1992 code continues to expand. What makes it work is the authenticity it keeps at the core. Collaborations with Barracuta, British Millerein, Alcantara, Isko Denim and Swarovski provide the playground for personal interpretations of codified items and textures. I always proclaim that trust begins with peer endorsements as well as product recommendations that are actively used or followed by active Generation Z community members. Although this group may communicate by using cute stickers, emoticons and emojis as a common form of communication, it will be brands such as M1992 that delivers inherent code and the concept of storytelling ahead of the pack that will influence this target audience.