British Menswear, Leading the Way!
‘Heritage’ in Premium British Menswear: Innovations, Providing solutions towards a more sustainable future?
The 1990’s saw a huge trend for so called “Heritage Luxury Brands’, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Prada, with the rapid growth and near global domination of a few international luxury goods conglomerates who flooded the market with increasingly diverse product ranges and used high profile ready to wear and couture designer collections to increase desirability and fuel a fast fashion culture.
“Today the luxury industry is like Monopoly. The focus is no longer on the art of luxury; it’s on the bottom line” Dana Thomas (2007) Deluxe; How Luxury lost its’ lustre, London, Penguin Books.
This paper will reflect on this phenomenon and examine the status quo. By exploring recent trends and developments within Luxury Menswear, in particular British Heritage Brands, I hope to identify key themes, approaches, strategies and methods which could be employed by the high-end fashion and luxury goods industries to provide solutions for a more sustainable future.
Throughout the 1990’s and early part of the new millennium, the British menswear market was focussed on high end global designers and luxury branded sportswear. In recent years there appears to have been a shift in thinking around what men, shopping at this level want and expect from their clothing. There has been a marked increase in the popularity of established and well known “British Heritage’ brands such as Dunhill, Burberry, Pringle, Barbour and Crombie and a demand for products that last and endure the fleeting trends dictated by fashion. This has led to the re establishment of forgotten brands such as E Tautz and the introduction of new brands such as Heritage Research and 1205, who draw on this heritage as a strategy and a model for their business practices.
“All of our cloths are sourced from fine British mills and some individual hand-weavers. We have a great passion for British heritage production and we are proud to support the diversity of fine menswear producers in the British Isles, from the socks to the shirts, and the tailoring to the ties.”
Patrick Grant menswear designer of the year 2010 (Director of Norton and sons and E Tautz)in Brummell Magazine Blog posted 16 February 2011: http://www.brummellmagazine.net/style/2011/2/16/brummell-blog-patrick-grant.html accessed 29/03/11
By focussing on British menswear brands, I will first consider what “Heritage’ means to these brands and the British male. I will then explore the areas of, Design, Production, Marketing and Retailing to identify emerging themes, approaches and strategies. I will then discuss how these might be adopted by the wider, global fashion design industries including womenswear, footwear and accessories to provide potential solutions towards a more sustainable future which reflects global concerns about the environment, provenance and longevity as well as the unique heritage of the four major fashion cities represented by the Colloquia series.