Monday, 24 April 2017

The Man Wears Prada

Shoes, Shades, Watch and Wallet.

While it shouldn’t surprise anyone, the above list is a man’s checklist of things to have when accessorizing. In a world where fashion makes the man, men have literally taken this to heed and are investing more time and resources to shop for apparels and clothes. No more stating that men don’t shop. They do shop and passionately so.

The idea of shopping for clothes has always been associated with feminine traits. The traditional male-image holds that men don’t usually shop and instead depend on their partners and significant others who would do their shopping for them. Recent surveys prove otherwise though. More and more men look forward to sales, shop impulsively and spend a significant amount of time to decide what they want and are not afraid to ask for it. Goodbye gender roles, say hello to the 21st century shopper!

But it does beg the question, how?

How did the winds of change come to be? And, is this a temporary response to a rising metrosexual sensibility or a trend that’s here to stay? It is clearly not an overnight pattern. To track the history of this change would require one to start in 1970’s youth culture and how they challenged gender and sexuality norms. But the lack of time here prevents us from going that far so let’s fast forwards to the last 10 years. The rise of internet popularity as a retail space and targeted advertisement played a pivotal role in establishing this trend. The biggest factor that played a role here was establishing the advantage of shopping online: you won’t have to leave the premises of your house in order to get something, a situation ideal for the modern overworked millennial male. Just a bunch of clicks and the product is enroute. Pure bliss! 

So can we pitch the trend entirely to advertisement and tapping into the male psyche or is there more? Men have also taken more unprecedented initiative towards looking better. In a world where appearance plays a very important role, men have taken this advice to heart and looking to expand their looks and styles in order to form better impressions as well as to look better. Sivaram Kowta, Vice President of Men’s Apparel Myntra, recently said that there is an increasing fashion demand from men especially in tier 2 and 3 cities. The unavailability of brands in such cities drives the traffic online and Myntra lets such men explore more varied options. Sivaram also pointed out that there were more men shoppers on Myntra than women with a ratio of 60:40, on an average. 

This new generation of men do not buy into the idea of a selected wardrobe of few clothes as per requirements. Instead, today’s Indian man wants a wardrobe that showcases his individuality and expression in whatever he chooses to wear. From office to gyms to even a movie, men want to look different everywhere to make a lasting impression. This brings a whole new dynamic to the retail industry as well, which has to shift focus from being usually more women-centric to being more gender neutral in order to appease to all genders and ages. 

It’s not just clothes they want to experiment with. The modern man wants to try newer bags, electornic accessories stylized and customized watches and glasses and more colors. The market has become wider to accommodate this requirement and men have geared up to take full advantage of this newly found freedom of expression. To twist a more popularly known saying, why should women have all the fun? 

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