Anyone who has ever visited the newsroom of an average American
newspaper or magazine knows that men's fashion and male journalists do
not mix well.
While every trend in women's clothing receives substantial coverage in a
wide variety of media outlets, men's fashion is covered by a much
smaller number of outlets. The good news is that the number of
publications now looking at men's fashion has gone up, especially in
ethnic publications and those titles targeting a younger market.
Reaching beyond core men's magazines and into more mainstream outlets
doesn't always guarantee the right audience. Bill Daddi, executive vice
president with New York-based agency Lippe Taylor, says, 'The men's
traditional fashion magazines reach an urban, younger and much more
fashion conscious consumer.'
Gaining a new audience
But reaching out to more mainstream outlets and older consumers is much
more difficult. He adds: 'The problem is that men's fashion is not a
topic that generates a hell of a lot of editorial in the mainstream
press. TV and newspapers are one of the few consistent ways of reaching
men in their early 30s to mid 50s,' Daddi says.
Like women's fashion, the US menswear industry tends to be centered in
New York, with most of the men's fashion houses, as well as many of the
key journalists, located there. The leading men's fashion journalists
include GQ editor-in-chief Art Cooper; The New York Times Magazine
fashion editors Robert Bryan and David Farber; John Mather of Men's
Journal; Marcus Teo of W; Hal Rubenstein of InStyle; Stefano Tonchi of
Esquire; and freelance writer, author and E! network contributor Frank
Robert Bryan and David Faber are currently brainstorming for ideas for
the next New York Times Magazine menswear supplement which is due to be
published on September 23. 'We're in talks about what's going in it,'
says Farber. 'The military look is huge.'
By and large, traditional consumer men's outlets such as Esquire, Men's
Journal and Conde Nast's GQ still carry the most sway in defining men's
clothing trends. 'It's really important to have GQ's Art Cooper at your
show,' says Dina Wise of Harrison & Shriftman, which represents men's
designer Hugo Boss.
Of the trade magazines, only one, Fairchild's Daily News Record (DNR),
is considered an industry must-read. 'Any menswear company that wants to
give an exclusive will call DNR to break the news,' adds Wise.
DNR editor-in-chief John Birmingham says there has been a lot of recent
excitement in men's fashion coverage. Even Time dedicated a cover story
to Tom Ford, Yves St. Laurent (YSL) creative director. 'Retail business
hasn't been great, but there's been a lot of coverage, particularly with
designer Hedi Slimane at Dior and what's happening over at YSL,' he
'As a result, even Women's Wear Daily was covering men's fashion over in
There's still work to do
But Birmingham says many of these men's fashion trends don't reach the
mainstream for some time. 'There are a lot of different levels and while
it does trickle down, it takes quite a while,' he says. 'For the average
middle America newspaper, the focus is probably still what to wear on
Wise echoes that assessment, saying a lot of mainstream print and TV
coverage of menswear is service rather than fashion oriented. 'It tends
to be 'Here's a solution to your problem guys,' rather than here are the
latest trends,' she says. 'Men's fashion will never be at the level of
women's fashion with couture and experimenting because you can't really
have style icons in men's fashion.'
In fact, the main menswear story to have hit the headlines in recent
years is the move toward a less corporate look as a result of the
arrival of the khaki-wearing dotcom entrepreneur. Commenting on 'Casual
Friday,' Lippe Taylor's Daddi says: 'It forced men, for perhaps the
first time, to consider what they were wearing because they were faced
with significant changes, not only in having to purchase items but also
to put items together.'
Ernestine Sclafani, VP with Edelman Public Relations' New York office,
says now the men's fashion magazines are noting the pendulum swing in
the other direction. 'The whole power dressing concept is back,' says
Sclafani, who represents its retail brand, Eddie Bauer. 'Especially with
magazines such as GQ. You've got this whole generation of young men who
have never worn anything but khakis and Banana Republic who are now
wearing suits and crocodile loafers.'
Daddi says that as a rule workplace fashion trends tend to get more
coverage, simply because it is of interest to business writers as well
as fashion writers. 'The Wall Street Journal will cover issues such as
the return of the suit as part of changes that are going on in the
workplace overall,' he says.
But men's fashion in general tends to be far more grassroots driven than
press driven. 'Hip hop fashion is a perfect example of percolation
through music videos,' Daddi says. 'When you talk about fashion,
entertainment is a major force in reflecting and instituting change.
Media coverage reflects those cultural changes.'
PR executives are agreed that hip-hop fashion has influenced a whole
generation. Music magazines such as Vibe, The Source and XX Large have
both influenced and reflected the key young male demographic. 'It's been
one of the biggest growth areas in men's fashion for a number of years,'
Another excellent market for men's fashion stories are gay-oriented
publications, especially lifestyle magazines like Out and Genre. 'Anyone
who is looking to promote or establish a menswear brand cannot overlook
the gay outlets,' Daddi says.
Television and radio can be very difficult markets for menswear stories,
but Wise notes that occasionally morning news reporters, such as the
Today show's fashion editor, Lloyd Boston, will do a seasonal piece.
There are also some opportunities to pitch men's fashion trends to CNNfn
and CNBC as part of their financial coverage of both retail and the
WHERE TO GO
Newspapers: The New York Times; The Wall Street Journal
Magazines: GQ; Esquire; Men's Journal; New York Times' Magazine; FHM;
Details; Out; Genre; XX Large; Vibe; The Source; InStyle; New York
Trade publications: Daily News Record; Women's Wear Daily; W
TV & Radio: E! Entertainment Network; Style Network; morning news shows;
Metro Channel (New York)
Internet: Worth Global Style Network (WGSN.com); hintmag.com;
mensjournal.com; nytimes.com; maxim.com; gq.com.