Why are some men into women's fashion

Fashion : Men are different

Fashion is still considered a women's issue. Only the outfits of female stars on the red carpets around the world are hotly debated. And even if various new style magazines for men have recently come onto the market, the glossy titles that are aimed at the female part of the population still dominate.

This disproportion is also reflected in the Berlin designer scene. Many labels only make women's fashion, some offer collections for both genders, but only a few focus on men.

Yet men's fashion consciousness seems to have increased in recent years. So why is it that so few designers serve this market? Do you design according to fundamentally different rules for men than for women? And what is the difference between male and female fashion victims?

The behavior of men and women when buying fashion in the shop of the Firma label on Mulackstrasse in Mitte can be clearly observed. It has a strictly symmetrical structure, the women's collection on the left is presented in exactly the same way as the men's fashion on the right. That goes well with the clear, almost chilled style of the brand. Carl Tillessen and Daniela Biesenbach, the heads of the company, are among the veterans of Berlin fashion. In 1998 they founded their label, initially as a pure men's brand. They have only been making womenswear since 2006.

According to Tillessen, women and men have fundamentally different needs: “Women want to cover up deficits, men have fewer doubts about themselves. They rather want to accentuate certain things, ”is his surprising observation.

It is also typical that men pay attention to special functions and details in fashion - similar to technical toys. Functionality is fun for men, which is why they are more enthusiastic than women about the innovative materials that the company uses for their men's collections: “When you tell a man that a material is coated with Teflon, he says: Oh, that's exciting. One woman thinks: I've got along quite well without it so far - and I'm not a frying pan either. "

In addition, says Tillessen, men are mostly concerned with expressing a certain, fixed identity. Women are more playful, they like to try out different roles and therefore often have very different items of clothing in their closets.

These different demands of men and women play an important role in the design of the collections. In addition, when it comes to men's fashion, Tillessen also has a certain educational standard: "We want to get men to become more experimental in terms of fashion."

Thoas Lindner from Butterflysoulfire sees the classic role models very differently. Since 2002 he has been doing fashion together with Maria Thomas. In contrast to the company, where both partners jointly design men's and women's fashion, at Butterflysoulfire the competencies are clearly separated. Lindner makes the men's collection, Thomas the women's collection.

Nevertheless, their fashion is homogeneous across all genders. This is not only due to the kinship between the two designers, but also to the design process: "I design my parts first, and Maria can then react to them in the women's collection," explains Lindner. His designs for men do not correspond to the classic masculine role model; he calls them unisex.

In the current collection, for example, there is a knitted top that could also be used as a short women's dress. But that's exactly what men's boutiques like to order, says the designer. Butterflysoulfire finds its customers among men who are looking for a more "androgynous role model".

With this focus, Thoas Lindner sees himself in a niche for which there is definitely a market. His label stands out from the field of men's fashion makers, and Lindner has the opportunity to express his creativity and design exactly what he himself thinks is great. “Our fashion cannot be pigeonholed. We do things that we stand behind ourselves. ”It should appear lively, that's important to them.

With its softly falling silhouettes, the collection, which is kept almost entirely in black, does not correspond to classic men's fashion ideals at all. You won't find a simple suit at Butterflysoulfire. With his background, Lindner explains that he designs the way he designs. He did not complete the classic designer training at a fashion school. He doesn't see that as a deficit, on the contrary: “The fashion schools often set narrow limits too early, so from the start they say this doesn't work, that doesn't work either, and at some point the students themselves believe that too.” From these rules he never let himself be impressed.

Wibke Deertz's approach is similar. With her label A.D.Deertz she only makes men's fashion. Together with Daniel Blechmann and his brand Sopopular, it forms an exclusive faction in the Berlin fashion scene. They are currently the only two young men's labels in the city, after having not heard of ambitious brands like IO and qed for a long time.

Deertz - still under the name ADD - started with women's fashion in 2000, then designed unisex collections before it was time for a radical change. Last year she renamed her label and specialized in men's clothing. Her justification for this step is remarkable: "I can design more freely for men, because in women's fashion my own body image always influences the designs." She does not have a fixed role model in mind when developing her collections. This freedom is also due to the fact that, like Thoas Lindner, she has not had a classic fashion education. She studied fine arts in Washington DC and Utrecht.

“I orient myself by what my friends are wearing,” she explains. So she does not follow any given role models either, but draws her inspiration from her personal environment. Her designs are correspondingly unpretentious: Her collections combine casual streetwear influences with subtle design ideas. She is certain that decisive changes are imminent in men's fashion. “Today completely different men go to fashion schools, from whom one would not expect that.” She assumes that there will soon be more men's labels. In addition, men, at least in trendy districts like Mitte, are now more fashion-conscious and therefore more open to innovative men's clothing.

Carl Tillessen is of the same opinion: “In the past, men also expressed their career status with their clothes. The right uniform was the classic men's suit. ”Today, since the traditional professional career has lost importance, other identification models are available instead. “Today a man can also define himself as a good father or simply a good guy,” says Tillessen. And these new standards of value are reflected in clothing.

Men today have a wide range of role models available, not just that of professionally successful doers. In this they are now similar to women. But one fundamental difference has remained: once a man has chosen his role, he usually remains loyal to it for a lifetime - and thus to the corresponding uniform.

More at: www.firma.net, www.btsf.com and www.addeertz.com

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