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WWD Men’s Summit: Industry Insiders Weigh In On the Men’s Market

The WWD Men’s Summit, held in New York on March 26 at the Asia Society, featured a host of industry insiders who came together to discuss the ever-evolving menswear market. Top executives from brands and retailers attended, including Brunello Cucinelli, Coach, Ami, Calvin Klein and Saks Fifth Avenue.

The men’s market has experienced a surge of excitement recently. Designers are increasingly offering more daring collections and footwear styles, while retailers have embraced nontraditional concepts like genderless shoe floors.

FN spoke with three fashion heavyweights to get their takes on the changing men’s scene:

Thomas Ott, SVP and GMM, Saks Fifth Avenue: “It is a super-exciting time [for menswear]. A lot of young musicians and athletes are dressing up, so guys in their 20s and 30s are  interested in fashion. It’s one of the best-dressed generations we’ve seen. Our buyers spend a lot of time in the marketplace looking for newness. Even if you look at the more classic brands, nobody wants to be the old fogey anymore — their product and models are more updated. Our new [Brookfield Place] store will be 85,000 square feet, with both men’s and women’s. There will be a men’s floor. That whole area is revitalized, and it makes way for a new customer.”

Todd Snyder, founder and designer, Todd Snyder: “I wanted to build a brand around American classics, but I wanted to reinvent that and update them. In the last 10 years, it’s unbelievable how men have become incredible connoisseurs — of whiskey, food, clothing, art. Millennials have really changed [the market]. They want to know who makes it, why they made it, where it comes from. They don’t just want to go to a department store or buy it online, they want to be able to get it everywhere.”

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Italo Zucchelli, men’s creative director, Calvin Klein Collection and Calvin Klein Inc.: “Fashion is supposed to move forward. Menswear changes so fast. I try to balance iconic and innovative. I’ve always had a fascination with odd fabrics and materials — they help to push a new message. But I like to reference something both familiar and unfamiliar. I caused a stir when I put guys in long swimsuits, which were inspired by an Australian swim team. I watched a video of the show after, and people were talking and talking. In retrospect, it was kind of the perfect Calvin Klein moment: creating something controversial and provoking.”

For more men’s coverage, click here. 

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