The Millennial Man - Today’s Fashionista

"Antoine Arnault, in blue turtleneck, son of LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault, attends the Berluti menswear show during Paris Fashion Week in January. Getty Images

PARIS— Bernard Arnault built LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton into a luxury-goods empire by selling handbags and dresses to women. Now his son Antoine is targeting an underserved clientele: men, whose spending is increasing faster than that of women.” -Wall Street Journal 

In the last 5 years, US millennial’s retail habits have changed dramatically. Days ago, I would have purchased a super small hoodie with a large “FITCH” across the front. But the recession of 2008, took a hit on my wallet and luxury brands. Around the same time, Forever 21 and H&M entered my local mall and revealed a new retail trend: individualization. Coupled with low prices, these retailers became a millennial’s dream destination. My apparel now reflected my personality and style, rather than how much I paid for the shirt. I was my own person, no longer obsessed with ONLY wearing luxury brands.  Besides, Abercrombie’s sizing made this 5’1” girl feel obese.  

However, I think most retailers have yet to uncover the most recent trend: the Millennial Man - Today’s Fashionista. As the WSJ writes, men’s fashion sales are growing faster than ever. “Between 2009 and 2013, men’s luxury spending increased 55%, compared with 37% for women, according to consultancy Bain & Co.”

"The economic crisis five years ago began narrowing the consumer gender gap. Designer fashion has long been about women: creating the latest "it bag," whetting appetites with a constant stream of new collections.But since 2009, women have cut back on spending by trading down to less expensive brands, mixing Zara and H&M with Louis Vuitton and Chanel." (WSJ)
While most chain retail stores are gendered spaces, retailers need to understand that men expect a different shopping experience than woman. And that starts with opening men-only stores. Retailers need to examine how luxury brands affect a man’s perception of himself. Men have even taken to sharing their fashion input and style, as seen on several male blogs, including my 18 year old brother’s tumblr. Today’s millennial man expresses his masculinity and individualization through his style, fit, and look. Step aside ladies, the Millennial Man might win Best Dressed 2014.
- Char Hult  

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