Saturday, August 15, 2009
All Images /Topman via Fashionisto
Now where were we... Ahh yes, that's right. New Zealand's mainstream menswear companies and their models. First of all it must be pointed out that Barkers, Hallensteins - and particularly Farmers - aren't really in the same ball game as Topman. They don't make what we would refer to as 'fast fashion', or even particularly 'on trend' fashion, they're more about the classic pieces that your everyday Kiwi guy wants to thrash for a few years until they need replacing. I get that. The customer they're targeting is an averagely-built man with little to no preference for what he wears or where he buys it, so long as it 'looks sweet'. So who's catering for that fairly large teen-mid 20s market who wants to wear something a bit more directional but doesn't have the disposable income to afford designer streetwear prices? And, who doesn't have that seemingly-ubiquitous averagely-built Kiwi guy body?
K dub, who commented on my last post, summed it up pretty well, saying, "Isaac, I totally agree with you on all points, however, my qualm as a 28inch waisted, 5ft6 guy, is that even if Farmers, Hallensteins etc. were to use skinny edgy guys for the advertising campaigns, they wouldn't have the clothes in those sizes to sell! Unless I buy boys clothes, they rarely have my size (Then they're too short, small, naive). Luckily for me, I would never buy from either store."
So is the problem here that your average Kiwi guy wouldn't be able to relate to more directional models, or are those mainstream menswear companies not able to relate to an increasing amount of younger New Zealanders with a discerning eye for fashion, an international perspective on what's cool (thanks to the internet, music videos etc) but not enough money to buy the expensive labels? Barkers has done a good thing with their Little Brother collaboration - bringing a more directional slant into their store, but I still think they could have pushed their creative a bit more and shot the collection in a more inspirational way on a more exciting model.
Maybe a company like Hallensteins should look at introducing a younger, edgier line to their stores that's updated regularly with slick imagery shot by cool photographers on more interesting models.
Until then, enjoy these Topman lookbooks. They've done three different themes for Fall - Ziggy (top), Wilderness (middle) and Privileged (bottom). There are some great pieces in each, and do you know what the best bit is? They're all available in New Zealand. Well, they're all available to be bought online and shipped to New Zealand. As of last week, Topshop has expanded their shipping regions to include us. Who knows... it might just put that stick of dynamite under the aforementioned companies they so desperately need.
Next thing you know it'll be Cole Mohr for Hallensteins.
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