Suited and booted, London chases global menswear crown

Mon Jan 6, 2014 12:49pm EST
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By Brenda Goh

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain, birthplace of the three-piece suit and leather brogues, is stepping up efforts to establish London as the global capital of menswear with its designers chasing dominance in the fastest growing fashion sector by sales.

Playing host to London Collections: Men, a three-day event that started on Monday, the British capital will see more than 130 brands such as Topman, Burberry and Alexander McQueen showcase their latest collections to fashion buyers and the media from more than 20 countries.

The city has dressed its train stations with posters featuring real Londoners showcasing fabled British looks such as brogues and tartan. And it kickstarting the menswear collections internationally, with shows to follow in Milan, Paris and New York.

"We have the heritage that none of the other cities have," model and fashion committee member David Gandy told Reuters.

"We have Savile Row and we have the history, we set so many trends here, from the Burberry coat to the three-piece suit, from herringbone to Harris tweed."

The menswear sector has emerged out of womenswear's shadow in recent years thanks to rapid sales growth that analysts say is being driven by the Internet and an increasingly sartorially aware generation, particularly in Asia.

Market research firm Mintel estimates the men's fashion market grew by 2 percent to 10.4 billion pounds ($17.1 billion)in 2012, and the market is forecast to grow 16 percent between 2011 and 2016.

Consultancy Bain & Co reported in 2012 that the international luxury menswear market was growing at an annual rate of 14 percent, almost double the rate of the womenswear segment.   Continued...

Models present creations from the Craig Green MAN Autumn/Winter 2014 collection during "London Collections: Men" in London January 6, 2014. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett