* Growth rate for men's fashion outpaces womenswear
* London kicks off international menswear show season
* City has men's fashion heritage - and fabled styles
By Brenda Goh
LONDON, Jan 6 Britain, birthplace of the
three-piece suit and leather brogues, is stepping up efforts to
establish London as the global capital of menswear with its
designers chasing dominance in the fastest growing fashion
sector by sales.
Playing host to London Collections: Men, a three-day event
that started on Monday, the British capital will see more than
130 brands such as Topman, Burberry and Alexander
McQueen showcase their latest collections to fashion buyers and
the media from more than 20 countries.
The city has dressed its train stations with posters
featuring real Londoners showcasing fabled British looks such as
brogues and tartan. And it kickstarting the menswear collections
internationally, with shows to follow in Milan, Paris and New
"We have the heritage that none of the other cities have,"
model and fashion committee member David Gandy told Reuters.
"We have Savile Row and we have the history, we set so many
trends here, from the Burberry coat to the three-piece suit,
from herringbone to Harris tweed."
The menswear sector has emerged out of womenswear's shadow
in recent years thanks to rapid sales growth that analysts say
is being driven by the Internet and an increasingly sartorially
aware generation, particularly in Asia.
Market research firm Mintel estimates the men's fashion
market grew by 2 percent to 10.4 billion pounds ($17.1
billion)in 2012, and the market is forecast to grow 16 percent
between 2011 and 2016.
Consultancy Bain & Co reported in 2012 that the
international luxury menswear market was growing at an annual
rate of 14 percent, almost double the rate of the womenswear
"Our goal is to ensure that London remains ahead of the
world fashion pack, and to support an important sector that
creates thousands of jobs and generates 10 billion pounds each
year," London Mayor Boris Johnson said.
British designer Lou Dalton kickstarted the event on Monday,
sending models down the catwalk in farm workwear-inspired
corduroy and faded denim outfits.
The event will also host brands such as Marks and Spencer
, which will stage its first men's fashion show pegged on
its "Best of British" range at a time when the retail giant is
battling falling clothing sales.
Topman, a chain belonging to the Arcadia Group of British
billionaire Philip Green, showcased models with slicked-down wet
hair and outfits from oversized coats to cable-bonded slouchy
turtleneck sweaters walking down a runway through a staged rain
"This was my romantic notion of tough northern (England)
boys going to work in shipyards of old," Design Director Gordon
Richardson said. "They would just have been like that, they
would have worn donkey jackets, peacoats, they would have braved
($1 = 0.6083 British pounds)
(Reporting by Brenda Goh, additional reporting by Belinda
Goldsmith; Editing by Michael Roddy and Mark Heinrich)