Men's grooming and fashion media got a huge boost a few years back, thanks to the rise of the "metrosexual."
That trend has largely come and gone, says Lance Buckley, national director for New York-based Pierce Mattie Public Relations. "The media as a whole isn't using the term 'metrosexual' anymore and has shifted toward more masculine fashion," he adds.
But despite the demise of men's shopping guide Cargo, the increased interest in men's fashion seems to have stuck, especially as media treat clothing as yet another must-have lifestyle accessory.
"A lot of this audience tends to look at fashion as another kind of gadget," says Dan de Grandpre, founder/editor-in-chief of dealnews.com. Originally started as an editorial site focused on bargains for computer motherboards, it has since added gadgets and, eventually, high-end fashion from designers like Kenneth Cole and Armani. "What you're seeing now is both sides moving toward the middle," de Grandpre adds. "Esquire and GQ are adding more gadgets in their fashion, and sites like ours have added fashion."
"By including a lot of gadgets, you can make fashion cool for the non-fashion guy," explains Tyler Thoreson, executive editor of Condé Nast's Men.Style.com.
Unlike women's fashion, which always tends to skew young, men's fashion coverage can appeal to a fairly broad range, ages 17 to 45. But Thoreson suggests the demographic sweet spot for men's fashion is a bit narrower. "We really aim for guys in their late 20s or early 30s who've just started to make some pretty good money, but are not yet burdened with a mortgage and private school for their kids," he says.
Matt Meyerson, SVP for B/W/R, adds that men's fashion coverage, like a lot of consumer categories, remains hugely influenced by what celebrities are wearing. But he notes that you can also get men's fashion coverage by moving away from the usual suspects, such as GQ and Maxim.
"Fuller stories in a smaller magazine like Complex can be as good a gold because there's less junk to weed through," he says. "There are also plenty of indie magazines you can pitch, such as Nylon or Paper, that devote a lot of space to the latest styles."
Buckley agrees it can be a challenge to pitch the traditional men's fashion outlets, but says one way to get those placements is by targeting the right stylists. "You can pitch editors and reporters, but it's equally as important to develop relationships with the stylists because they're the ones editors ask to put together the photo spreads seen in these magazines," he says.
PITCHING... Men's Fashion
Attach your men's fashion client to clothing trends, such as premium denim, and craft the pitch as a lifestyle story
Develop relationships with key stylists, especially those in New York, because they are the ones to which editors often turn to put together photo spreads
Look for a celebrity hook not just through product placement in Hollywood, but also by leveraging public interest in fashion-conscious bands like Franz Ferdinand and The Killers