Menswear a sleeping giant at New York Fashion Week

Mon Sep 8, 2014 7:11am EDT
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By Ellen Wulfhorst

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Menswear plays a poor relation to women's styles at New York Fashion Week, but it is enjoying faster-growing sales and consumer tastes that are becoming more daring, experts say.

Just a fraction of the hundreds of shows at New York Fashion Week are devoted to men's lines, and they attract far smaller crowds and less coverage, yet the menswear scene is flourishing.

Driving sales are younger men shedding traditional looks in favor of color, casual styles and quirky twists on classics.

"The men’s market is steadily growing and for many retailers it has outsold their womenswear," said Matt Feniger, associate editor for menswear at WGSN, which predicts trends and style for the fashion and retail industries.

"Men are much more willing to experiment with fashion and

try new things and this is reflected in sales," he said.

In the United States, men’s apparel sales outperformed womenswear last year, market research shows. Menswear grew 5 percent in 2013 to $60.8 billion, according to the NPD Group, a trend and sales tracking company. Womenswear retail sales grew 4 percent to $116.4 billion last year, NPD said.

"It's a really, really great moment right now. Men are dressing differently," said Lucio Castro, an Argentinian-born menswear designer who just showed his collection in New York.   Continued...

A model presents a creation from the Spring/Summer 2015 Richard Chai collection during New York Fashion Week September 4, 2014. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid