Am I that guy? The question is both nagging and inescapable if you follow the men’s wear circuit, as I recently did — attending roughly 50 shows or presentations displayed in settings as disparate as school auditoriums, gilded ballrooms and construction sites where niceties like fire safety are notional at best.
Trekking through Milan and Paris, I joined the throng of those who make a profession of tracking the latest doings of designers who often share little in common besides an urge to make clothes for masculine-presenting humans. Like them, I took pleasure in off time scrolling through quick-take reels on social media, all those posts by witty boobirds who toggle between stanning their favorite designers and celebrities and mercilessly throwing them under a bus. (And truth, Blakely Thornton, Kim Kardashian’s Balenciaga era probably was just high-priced “Power Rangers” cosplay.)
Yet it felt important to keep in mind how powerful an economic engine men’s wear remains. Too, it was useful to recall how, even during the deepest slump of the Covid-19 doldrums, which seemingly half the world spent clad in some variant of prison garb, the global men’s wear market powered along so ebulliently that its estimated worth in 2022 was $571 billion, according to the industry analysts Market Research Future. By some measures, that growth will increase in the next decade to $988 billion.
Another question follows from the first, though, a corollary to whether one is that guy. If not, do I want to become him?