What Has Happened To The Market For Mens Fashion Brands?
This month we felt it was important to reflect on the changes we’re seeing in the men’s branded fashion market. With some significant closures, mergers and potential changes on the horizon it feels like this particular market is not only seeing a downturn but could be looking towards a transition to a new style and trends controlled by younger generations.
As a fashion photography studio in London, this is of particular importance as it helps direct our focus and consider trends that will be driving consumers and by extension businesses who require fashion photography studio services.
A brand that represents the change in the market
A useful case study to highlight the potential downfall and change of the branded men’s market is the news that Woodhouse Clothing is shutting, along with its Brown Bag brand. Started in 1975 by Philip Start, the brand played a central role in the growth of men’s branded clothing in the 1980s and 1990s.
Selling some of the leading brands including Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss, it has found itself out of favour with the new generations who aspire to wear different luxury items. Lacking direction or an understanding of the new generation of consumers they reflect the wider problem men’s branded fashion is facing.
What has changed in recent years?
More recently, chain stores like USC have started to deliver bigger and better ranges of fashion labels that are directly targeting this modern generation. Whilst that may not appeal to those in their 40s and 50s like older brands, it taps into the social media savvy consumers.
We are also seeing more mergers and acquisitions that are leading towards potential closures, such as deals in December 2022 between JD Sports and Frasers Group. By merging brands and businesses, it makes sense but as a fashion photography studio, it does feel like we will soon lose more of those traditional branded men’s fashion labels.
Facts about the market
If we step away for a moment from the men’s branded market, the entire fashion market is facing difficult times. Research has shown that 73% of consumers in the UK plan to reduce their retail spending, with further data showing fashion sales in the UK due to fall by 6.5% year-on-year in 2023.
The men’s market doesn’t appear to show signs of growth, in fact when considering other factors including inflation it appears that this particular sector is falling backwards! With a market size of £11.7 billion last year, experts believe we will see a worrying 1% growth in the next 4 years. Clearly yet another reason why the men’s branded market is facing significant trouble.
As the new generation of consumers frequently knows what they want from fashion brands and retailers, the men’s branded market will undoubtedly continue to change with traditional brands falling away. Whilst that may not be a bad thing for many, there are fundamental challenges facing the men’s market and action is required for those wishing to stay in the game.