Although attitudes in fashion are changing, many still perceive fashion to be a woman’s world. Hoping to rip the misconception apart at the seams, we decided to delve into the world of men in fashion, to try and set the record straight. Last month we opened the lid on fashion blogging and found that, although they might be outnumbered, men are still firmly making their mark online. But with blogging just the tip of the very stylish iceberg that is the fashion industry, we decided to dive in deeper and unearth the experiences of other men making a name for themselves in fashion.
Danny Lowe is an up-and-coming fashion photographer based in London. Amongst other things he has photographed backstage at YMC’s menswear show and recently shot the king of pattern, Dent De Man’s look book. However, as well as all these accolades, Lowe has a passion for street style, drawn to it by an interest in finding out the story behind the clothes of the people he meets.
“I like that on a day-to-day basis you are stopping people and finding out a bit about them. It is the personal bit that puts the whole jigsaw together. Obviously the clothes are a big thing in street style photography, but I like to look at the person as well. I look for someone who is a bit different. The clothes help tell the story but the person behind them make it.”
And gender certainly isn’t an issue in this role. “There are a mix of men and women, but there are especially a lot of male street style photographers in big cities. Places not as big on fashion might see it as more of a woman’s role, but all over the world in the up-and-coming cities there is a lot of it going on.”
His advice for any aspiring street style photographers: “Be confident if you want to achieve something. The worst they can say is no.”
Menswear has taken centre stage recently and one talent proving why it has earned its place in the spotlight is Alexis Housden. His collection won The Collection of the Year Award at London College of Fashion’s 2013 graduate show, with designs that endeavour to curve the gender line and create fashion for both sexes. Housden believes that menswear is now getting the wider coverage it deserves through renouncing its need to be practical.
“It has allowed itself to develop into something that can be beautiful, intricate and with a nod to feminine. Menswear, especially in London, has exploded into the new era of fashion where you can be truly creative. We are once again, as we have before, trying to push the boundaries and this time it’s in menswear.”
Winning LFC’s coveted award has proven to Housden that his creations are right for the times and that men are ready to wear the androgynous designs he does so well. It has also catapulted him into the limelight; he is now receiving press attention and has been given the chance to exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum this October. But Housden warns that the life of a designer isn’t as glamorous as people might think:
“It’s a hard slog, especially if you are trying to start your own label. The hours are very long while you try to get your collection developed into something you would be happy to show.” This might explain why he feels having a slightly obsessive character will help any would be fashion designer. He goes on to add that the most important thing is to “do what makes you happy, as you are more likely to succeed in it.”
With his creations shown in I-D and Vogue amongst other just as impressive publications, Bernard Connolly is a stylist worth knowing. Getting into fashion over 30 years ago, he developed his fashion mind working in costume design with the highly acclaimed designer Hugh Durrant. However, it was on his first shoot as a stylist with Anthony Price when he realised his calling, and after an epiphany he describes as “being like a movie star moment”, he has never looked back.
There are certain characteristics needed to succeed as a stylist but none more vital Connolly says than knowing the industry you work in:
“You have to have a good knowledge of how garments are made and know your way around a pattern. It is important you know how things fit; you need to know the rules of fashion before you can break them. You also need to be aware of what other people do in the industry. You need to know about make-up artists and hairstylists etc. It is all about cross-pollinating between the roles.”
He advises anyone wanting to get their foot in the stylist door to simply learn as much as they can. “Some people think that being a stylist is easy because of the glamour, but it isn’t easy, it is a lot of hard work. You only get out of it what you put in.”
It is clear that men are making waves in the fashion industry, and anyone who still believes it is a woman’s world is sorely mistaken. From established names to emerging talent, men are flourishing in all walks of the industry, proving that times are changing and men are equally important as their female counterparts in weaving the future of fashion.