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Gilt MANual amass a star-studded cast of fashion personalities rooted in some shape or form with American menswear to pose a series of questions regarding their thoughts the current and future landscape of men’s fashion in America. The personalities include Robert Geller, Billy Reid, Michael Williams of A Continuous Lean, fashion writer Tim Blanks, Esquire‘s Nick Sullivan, Scott Sternberg and Shipley & Halmos among others. A selection of answers are seen below, while the feature can be seen here as it includes all 16 different personalities and entities.
Where we are: “It’s great to see the interest that has grown in American menswear over the past few years—guys are feeling more comfortable learning about fashion and developing their own sense of style. I think designers and stores are responding to this by offering a wider range of interesting pieces that may not have seemed feasible a few years ago.”
The downside to that…: “I think some guys who had no interest in style suddenly feel the need to catch up and go overboard. And sometimes they try too hard to incorporate all the trends at once without thinking about what works for them and their type.”
Why I’m optimistic: “Overall, we’re seeing a greater diversity in clothing on the runways which is definitely a good thing, as men with different aesthetics and tastes can find something stylish that suits them.”
Where we are: “It blows. I’m ready for shit to move on and for Barbour coats to be lame again so I can continue wearing them in peace without the awkward elevator realization that everyone is wearing the same coat. Oh, and I’m ready for Gilt to come clean with its involvement in a certain menswear site.
Where we’re going: “Does American menswear really have anywhere to go? We were lucky to have had our moment in the buffalo plaid sun, but it’s about to be a wrap. I think basically European menswear will get its shit together and American menswear will descend back into its cave for another fifty or so years.”
The direction in men’s fashion I fear most: “I think whatever emerges next is going to be very scary and I will be hiding from it. Remember those UFO cargo pants in the late-’90s? I suspect those will be all over the tumblrs and shit. The Impossible Cool will be posting street style pics from Limp Bizkit concerts. It is going to be a brave new world.”
Why I’m optimistic: “Let me just say that it is a good thing that men are taking an interest in dressing and wearing shit that actually fits them—that makes me optimistic about the future. I think the internet has also helped bring people that would otherwise be excluded from certain style conversations (for mainly geographic reasons) into the mix, which is also a good thing. This internet thing has also spawned a new breed of unoriginal folks that have been ‘dressed by the internet’ and that have subsequently forgotten how to think for themselves. All of this just illustrates the importance of living a real life and not just an online one. Lest we forget, inspiration comes from all directions.”
Where we are: “American menswear is in a very good place right now. There are more talented people participating and there are a bevy of good products out there. As a whole, the industry is getting solid support editorially and the future looks very bright.”
Where we’re going: “What has been successful of late has been the evolution of American heritage and how it relates to today’s customer. Whether that be workwear, or classic tailored clothing. Continuing to build on these roots with authentic products and branding will be an important factor. We will need great products and great brands to emerge.
“Trends are gone. It seems to be all about individual tastes. I think what becomes critical to us as designers is to stay true to what you believe in and hopefully build an identity and look that people can relate to.”
Why I’m optimistic: “It’s great to see so many young people relating to tailored clothing and watching them mix it up in their own way. More and more men are getting comfortable with creating their own sense of style and that is refreshing. Rock it and own it!”