Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen,
Tonight’s post will be written through the lens of my present experience in the menswear industry focusing on a trend that I am seeing season after season. One that I believe is not going away anytime soon (for better or for worse), and that is the trend of intersecting sportswear and tailoring. With each passing season more and more brands are showcasing their tailored garments alongside sportswear pieces. Just Spring/Summer 2018 alone brought us these:
Which brand can lay claim to being a true pioneer for this recent trend? For me you’d have to look no further than Ermenegildo Zegna. So what makes Zegna so special? Well for one, they are a truly rare company, one that controls the entire production process form raw material to finished goods (they actually started out as a wool mill that expanded to manufacturing clothing, the mill side of the business is still active today). So why do I consider to be Zegna a pioneer in this field? Because of their ability to control the entire process, they are able to create their own unique fabrics which have revolutionized tailored garments. I am talking about their special “Techmerino Wash and Go” fabric.
Through this innovative fabric, Zegna has created suits and blazers that are breathable, waterproof just like sportswear and perhaps even more shocking, can actually be washed in a household washing machine and hung to dry and be good as new! This makes it the perfect travel suit/jacket. I fully expect to see other fabric mills and menswear brands competing to get a similar product to market.
As you can see from the photo above, brands like Zegna are merchandising their sportswear combined with tailoring and this has created opportunities for retailers to pass on this trend to consumers specifically in the North American market as retailer Ed Boas from Lanes in Miami mentions:
“Selling tailored clothing in a sportswear world is a matter of creating desire.”1
That desire to me is simple, merchandising sportcoats with sportswear tells consumers a story and demonstrates the versatility of tailored pieces matching with sportswear. Scott Noris of Men’s Wearhouse explains:
“If we show outfits fully rigged on mannequins, guys understand the versatility of sportcoats and buy them.”2
A little something should be mentioned about these popular, super soft unconstructed sportcoats thats have been popular in Italy for years, is that it is only now catching the eye of the North American market. What do I expect? I expect that once more and more men discover how comfortable tailoring can be, they will continue to buy these types of garments in bunches.
Expect to see the sportswear/tailoring trend to continue into the Fall 2018 season. The key words here are stretch, stretch, stretch! Garments that are made for travel that move with you. As the line blurs more and more between tailoring and sportswear, be a little daring. Wear a super soft sportcoat with a pair of neat, well fitting track pants (no oversized logos on them please!) or cords, or jeans! My personal favorite sportcoat? My Jack Victor soft shouldered, unconstructed, half lined blue hopsack with patch pockets.
Grazie, and as always, keep it dapper.
1. Grossman, Karen Alberg. “Tailored Sportswear: The Modern Male Dress Code.” Accessed February 24, 2018. http://www.mr-mag.com/tailored-sportswear-modern-male-dress-code/.↩
2. Grossman, Karen Alberg. “Tailored Sportswear: The Modern Male Dress Code.” Accessed February 24, 2018. http://www.mr-mag.com/tailored-sportswear-modern-male-dress-code/.