The blurred lines of menswear

Michael Damond illuminates a lack of options in menswear, and exposes some contemporary designers breaking the mold.

By - Jun 26th, 2013 04:00 am

Swarovski mens designs

My male friends and I can talk about anything under the sun without fear of judgment. Our latest discussion was about feeling confined whenever we shop locally for menswear. Interesting conversation, huh? Why is it socially acceptable for a group of women to get together for a girls’ night out and talk about anything and everything? Topics of discussion could range from the latest “real housewives” gossip to the political challenges associated with being a female Secretary of State. Whether it’s for laughs, or thought-provoking conversation, we all need time and space to vent. I think most guys have at least one friend that’s not worried about sticking to the “guy code” and limiting their conversations to cars, sports, and women. At least I hope they do.

I’m currently in the process of finalizing content for the Fall 2013 edition of I met with a female business partner, and I shared some of the topics my male friends and I discussed during our last outing. I mentioned the need to initiate dialogue about men being comfortable to wear their many faces. While she loved the concept, she was a bit taken aback that men had such concerns. It dawned on her that men, like women, also have many dimensions to their personalities. Men also need outlets for their expression. Women have makeup, wigs, and at least 60% of retail floor space to aid their expression. You could say that men also have access to those things (with the exception of the retail floor space), but my friends and I are likely to stop short of wearing wigs, eyelashes, and concealer—well, maybe the concealer is acceptable (that stuff is amazing). Nonetheless, I’ve decided to find a few menswear designers who express themselves by blurring the lines of traditional menswear.

Munib Nawaz


Munib Nawaz designs


Munib Nawaz started his menswear designer label from Pakistan in 2003. He was the first Pakistani designer to win an international design award at the Miami Fashion Week in 2009. The Munib Nawaz brand continually sets new trends and pushes the envelope of menswear. Personally, I would wear any of these pieces. I like the fabric choices, the cuts, and the design details. These would be secret weapons in a man’s wardrobe arsenal.

Yohji Yamamoto


Yamamoto design

Yohji Yamamoto is an award-winning fashion designer based in Tokyo and Paris. I recently came across his autumn/winter 2013 collection while searching for classic menswear with a twist. Yamamoto has been in the industry for over 40 years. There is a dark, monastic feel to his style, which Yamamoto attributes to being born in Japan post-Hiroshima. While these images are from his 2013 collection, making skirts for men is nothing new for this designer. He was featured in the November 1985 edition of Vogue in a story about androgynous fashion. While I personally don’t see myself rocking oversized suits with skirts, I can appreciate the way these looks come together. Yohji was on a personal pursuit to “achieve anti-fashion through fashion.” Some say he has achieved it. Either way, he’s been commercially successful as a designer, and he continues to make pieces that spur conversation. GQ quoted Yamamoto as saying, I think perfection is ugly. Somewhere in the things humans make, I want to see scars, failure, disorder, distortion.” Maybe that explains the huge mustaches?

Thom Browne

thom browne

Thom Browne design

Thom Browne
is an American fashion designer born in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He recently won the 2013 CFDA Menswear Designer of the Year award. In his upcoming fall/winter collection, Browne tampers with the aesthetic of a man’s silhouette—introducing cropped jackets, square hats, and exposed ankles. In their entirety, these looks can seem a bit over the top. Individually, there are some pieces I’d love to own, particularly the jackets. Thom Browne is famed for the quality of suiting. I’m sure I would enjoy many years of wear, thanks to the traditional manner in which his designs are crafted. When it comes to menswear, I prefer items that compliment my build and help shape the structure of my form. Thom Browne’s pieces are typically well over $10,000. However, Browne launched a Holiday Collection for Target and Neiman Marcus a year or so ago. You could get one of the jackets for just over $100. They’re sold out now, but I’ll be keeping my eyes open, and my fingers crossed, for a new affordable collection in 2013.

Categories: Fashion, Lifestyle, Threads

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