Burberry has announced it will be joining brands including Alexander McQueen and Tom Ford by moving its menswear collection to Londonmen’s fashion week. The British label will present its June 2013 show in London rather than Milan as previously.
This is a huge boost for London’s newest fashion week. London Collections: Men, as the three-day event is known, began in June 2012 and has proved a great success three seasons in. Plugging into the rise of the male fashion consumer, new British designers such as Richard Nicoll and Agi & Sam have enjoyed critical acclaim at the shows; while more established brands such as McQueen and Ford have added kudos to this burgeoning fashion week. Burberry’s move is a clear vote of confidence that the menswear showcase can cut it on the international stage.
“The country’s proud menswear heritage and outstanding contemporary talent give it a unique and powerful energy,” said Burberry chief creative officer, Christopher Bailey. “It is a wonderful time to be bringing our menswear show home.” The Burberry relocation has been greeted with excitement from the industry. Vogue’s editor Alexandra Shulman described it as “great news” on Twitter.
It’s not just a patriotic gesture. Menswear is increasingly seen as a growing sector in fashion. Alexander McQueen opened a menswear-only store late last year, and Selfridges opened the biggest men’s shoe department in the world. Net-a-porter’s brother site Mr Porter, meanwhile, has blossomed since launching in 2011, with 4,000 new customers each month.
Burberry’s move also fits into the brand’s strategy of highlighting its Britishness. Since bringing the womenswear show to London in 2009, Bailey has increasingly emphasised Burberry’s roots – using everything from black cabs in adverts to rain on the catwalk. While the largely womenswear-driven expansion in China experienced a slowdown late last year, menswear has been the fastest growing sector in the first half of 2012/13’s financial year. Sales in tailoring, a new focus for the company, increased by 50% in the last three months of 2012 and an additional London HQ will also open, close to the brand’s existing Pimlico HQ, later in the year.