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WHAT HAPPENED TO INNOVATION IN MEN’S FASHION?

“They don’t know that we know they know we know! “

This is one of my favorite and funniest quotes that phoebe bouffe said in Friends. It was the first thing that came to mind watching the summer 2024 Saint Laurent men’s collection, presented on June 12th, the collection was inspired by womenswear originally inspired by menswear. I truly love that idea; I’m a big believer in borrowing from women to serve men, the reason being that women’s fashion has more variety and solutions to many of life’s occasions and situations. not just pure aesthetics, although I believe aesthetics is equally important. Historically, all designs have been created to serve a purpose, in men specifically it usually falls into basic categories, obviously, it varies with time and location, however, in modern times it's generally, environment, geography, religion, military, sports, and utility.


The newly launched Saudi fashion brand Kml, with the slogan (in search of the present), takes inspiration from religious wear. Using white cotton fabric, a symbol of purity and spirituality, reinterpret the classic white shirt, or the Arabic Thobe, in my view at least. on the other hand, JACQUES, a New York Fashion brand, focuses on meticulously designed simple high-quality garments, with emphasis on cut & proportion, allowing the character of the person to shine not the garment. When I asked the founder & creative director (and annoyingly the fit model!) about his view on innovation, he emphasized that technology in fabrics and production was key, new materials that are wrinkle-free, drapes elegantly, sweat absorbent and versatility of usage is key to the brand identity. The brand is a performance transitional essential basics that take you from the plane to a meeting, lunch to the gym, reflecting the lifestyle of their clientele.


Technology is usually the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of innovation, in that regard my BURO colleague Max Goshko-Dankov is more suited to discuss the subject. I prefer to look at a different angle.


I wish to see innovation inspired by everyday needs, many of our options now are not compatible with the complexity of the 21st century. At the Jordanian royal wedding, I loved the royal guard’s beautiful ceremonial uniform, how they tied their ghutra on both sides with the golden pin on the Oqal, wearing military-inspired Thobes, very beautiful, very elegant, and very masculine. It didn’t look odd or forced, it felt obvious. That’s the sort of innovation I’m looking for. it might be styling, rather than innovation, nonetheless, it felt effortless and logical to serve the purpose. And it did, brilliantly.


Whether innovation or creativity, it doesn’t matter, the idea is there is room for improvement. In order to do that, I think we need innovation in our points of view, for example, the chiffon off-the-shoulder blouses in the Latest Saint Laurent show, where would you wear that? maybe this will inspire innovation in occasions, not everyone is a performer attending the met gala. sometimes innovation needs a different lens, if you ask me, the main innovation we need is in fashion vocabulary, limited vocabulary limits the brain. Let’s stop using the word Core in every fad or aesthetic, power suit, stealth wealth, and rock chic, they are boring words now; the creativity of the fashion world can surely produce new vocabulary, and maybe from that, we can create the “New Look “for men.

 



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