As January inches closer, so, too, do the men's fashion weeks. London Collections: Men will stage Fall/Winter 2014 runway shows and presentations in early January, followed by Milan and Paris. Still absent from the menswear show schedule: New York. Menswear designers that are based in NYC show their collections each season alongside the womenswear collections in February and September. While mens-specific weeks have been a topic of discussion in New York for some time now, there is nothing on the calendar just yet. They would, however, be worthwhile events for several reasons, but maybe most importantly, New York-based designers are at a disadvantage in terms of buying. The purpose of fashion week is, or at least was, to show collections to buyers and to have those collections stocked by major retailers. From what we've gathered by talking to an array of NYC-based menswear brands, they face serious obstacles in comparison to their European counterparts because by the time buyers see their collections, the majority of the stockists' menswear budgets have already been allocated.
Not only is the fact that buyers only have a fixed amount of funds not in NYC brands' favor, London launching its own mens specific "week" (it is a few days, actually) puts NYC-based designers in an even less favorable position. And in case that's not enough, the U.S. market dates are also later than European dates. David Bruno, the Director of Sales & Merchandising for NYC-based Todd Snyder, echoed our sentiments, saying: "It is very difficult for American brands to break out on the global stage due to this calendar. It is an expensive proposition for a new brand to travel to Europe, take their sample collection, and set up for sales during the European calendar. So, if you don't have relationships already set up with major stores in Europe and Asia, by the time they come to New York for their buying, most of their budget for new brands is gone." Several other NYC-based menswear brands have experienced similar circumstances.
There is talk that a New York Mens Week is coming. This past February, Steven Kolb, the CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America told WWD: “Some key people with a deep and sincere interest in that idea have come together as a group to explore the possibility. We are looking at the potential of a men’s week and how that might fit into the global men’s calendar.” And now seems like an excellent time. The menswear talent in the U.S., in New York, in particular, is stronger than its been in quite awhile. Emerging brands like Todd Snyder, Tim Coppens, Duckie Brown, Siki Im, Patrik Ervell, Public School, and Alexandre Plokhov (pictured above) are putting U.S. on the map, some for their take on menswear and others for men's fashion. These NYC-based mens brands, among others, certainly have the talent to truly compete on an international level, and with the proper support (think: their own bi-annual week), they very well may be the next major international brands.