Female consumers are proving key to the fast-growing menswear market, as gender-neutral streetwear pieces and capsule wardrobe staples encourage buyers to forgo gendered product offerings.
The global menswear market is booming, with the category projected to hit $438bn by 2020 (Business of Fashion, 2018). Premium menswear favourites like Supreme, Palace and Ami boast a loyal female following, despite not producing women’s products – boosting the sector and causing it to grow faster than womenswear. The menswear market will increase by 1.5% over the next three years, while womenswear will grow by 1.3%.
While menswear brands have been slow to cater their products to women, influential retailers are increasingly taking the opportunity to market to them. In September 2015, Parisian department store Le Bon Marché encouraged its 10 leading menswear brands to offer smaller sizes of their products for a dedicated area on in its womenswear floor, leading to a 15% year-on-year increase in turnover.
Such dedicated crossover spaces are proving a smart move for brands – providing a safeguarded route to tapping into new consumer attitudes. In March 2015, London department store Selfridges launched gender-neutral pop-up Agender, while gender-free New York retail space The Phluid Project will open its doors in March this year. The 3,000 sq ft store will carry collections by Levi’s, Champion and Gypsy Sport.
As consumer attitudes to gendered dressing shift, shrewd brands would do well to consider the nuances of identity – adapting their retail spaces and promoting a brand voice that speaks to every consumer.