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Menswear is disconnecting from the hype: Changing marketplace for wearable clothes

By Guest Contributor


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Solid Homme FW23 Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

In Alec Leach’s 2022 book, ’The World Is On Fire But We’re Still Buying Shoes’, the former style editor begs us to reconsider limited edition collaborations, micro trends, and fly-by-night pop ups in favor of meaningful purchases that have staying power in our lives. Leach says, “Clothes in the hype era aren’t products to own, they’re moments to broadcast, to share on Instagram for 24 hours. They’re here, then they’re not – they are more like memes than products. Except unlike memes, clothes leave a very permanent mark on the planet.”

Michael Fisher, Vice President of Menswear at Fashion Snoops highlights FW24 menswear trends in the run up to the next buying season.

In addition to thinking about the carbon footprint fast fashion and meme-inspired looks leave behind, it’s also important to address the neverending identity crisis for vulnerable consumers who don’t know where to turn stylistically when there’s a new aesthetic being presented to them on a weekly basis. In short, viral clothes have become passé. Long live wearable clothes.

As “-core” becomes tacked on to the end of every fast moving momentary trend, consumers are looking for pieces that offer them some solid footing. Stripped back but far from boring, these simply perfect basics put a focus on design longevity and elevated staples that are evergreen to their core. Bundled wardrobe starter parks and gender-free sizing offer an opportunity for thoughtful wardrobe pieces with a custom, buildable approach. By favoring seasonless style and practical functionality over temporary trends—sustainability becomes our greatest influencer.

Auralee FW23 Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

2023 brought with it a cantankerous economy, ongoing climate doom and gloom, and of course, a polarizing conflict in the Middle East that continues into a new year. Consumers are collectively seeking refuge from an ever-chaotic world, and the clothes that we wear are a big part of it. No, it doesn’t mean we’re running back to the safe confines of heather grey joggers and shearling quarter-zips, but it does indicate a pretty provocative notion for 2024 and beyond—a fashion reset that’s effortless, easygoing, and freed from the pressure of being flashy. We will see brands emphasize the joy of dressing by encouraging men to put classicism and comfort first when considering new styles.

Elusive fashion designer Damir Doma recently started a new label called DIOMENE to attempt to reject the industry’s constant need for newness. His desire to put timeless design into the universe reflects some consumers’ increasing “less is more” mentality. "I wanted to create clothing that is reduced and liberated from the pressure of being simply new. Here it’s about purity, quality, comfort, and sustainability," said a press release when the brand launched last year.

Ami Paris Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight

The tried-and-true fashion cycle that’s been so dependable for so many years has finally imploded on itself. With consumers across the globe having equal access to style and design (a very good thing!), our cultural playing field is more level than ever before. The speed at which things change has created an overarching trend fatigue that’s settled over consumers in an age where aesthetics are decoupled from their original subcultures, and algorithmically-driven microtrends turn at hyperspeed. Equipped with greater access to information, today’s educated consumers are growing ever more critical of fast fashion and yearning for a meaningful conversation on personal style that is authentic and long-lasting. Not only that, but the archetypal “hypebeasts” of the late-2010s are evolving as they mature, leaning towards formality and paying closer attention to masterful design details and craft. As niche streetwear brands like Aimé Leon Dore, Fear of God, Noah, and Kith diffuse into the more matured mainstream, their customers turn towards the arbiters of time-worn classics, putting them all on the same level as Drake’s, Ami, and Beams Plus—all stylistic brothers of good taste.

Sure we all wanted to live our version of the Roaring 2020s when we came out of a pandemic haze, scratching an itch for peacocking at any turn after living in athleisure for over two years. The more outlandish and dandyish the better, as we found any opportunity to dress up and show off. Allover logos exploded after living in the background for so many years, and inspired by Alessandro Michele’s reinvention of Gucci, men played the parts of renaissance grandma and Oscar Wilde, and everything in between. But, after so many seasons of unserious, quiet luxury (or “stealth wealth”) came calling for a new world that craved blue blooded sophistication and trend-less vibes. Sure, the success of HBO’s “Succession” had a lot to do with our desire to look subtly wealthy, but it also hinted at a coming pivot away from TikTok absurdity.

Zegna FW23 Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight
Brands like Zegna and Brunello Cucinelli have long since put fabric and fit front and center, with their 2000 dollar cashmere sweaters and focus on longlasting over the loud. As “stealth wealth” pivots away from a meaningless pop culture-inspired and hints at this new world of wearable, we expect to see an appetite for clothes and accessories that are as close to perfection as possible—fashion for anyone, anytime, any place. In fact, there’s a new “nine-to-nine” consumer who wants to carry adaptability and comfortability from morning to night as he integrates more moments of leisure into his increasingly flexible lifestyle. These are clothes that are just as comfortable in the changing workplace as they are on their way to pickleball or brunch.
Solid Homme FW23 Credits: ©Launchmetrics/spotlight
Going into FW 24/25, we are forecasting moments of classic luxury romanticized with a distinctly European flair and charming point of view. There’s a unique personal aesthetic in this outlook that’s equal parts modern and traditional—highly curated but with a tender nature and an appreciation for cozy fineries with a rich history. Menswear continues on its trajectory towards a new era welcoming softness, sensuality, and fluidity. It’s not necessarily mundane or bare like the previous version of “stealth wealth.” Instead, this is a season-less, era agnostic state of being that will be with us for seasons to come, putting classicism and good taste front and center. Look for dramatic outerwear in appealing colors, textural and broken-in surfaces, and a long-lasting shift to silhouettes that are relaxed and comforting. It's a welcoming and refreshing backlash to what has become "new and now" that results in the cool and contemporary.
Fashion Snoops