The menswear industry has converged on Florence, Italy today to attend Pitti Uomo -- the trade show that marks the official kick off to the men's fashion season, and over the next few weeks we will be watching to see what designers are proposing for A/W 2012 in Florence, Milan, New York, Berlin and Paris.
I am betting that these 5 trends will be important.
1. Functional Outdoors: While Americana and heritage still are going strong, there's a new element cropping up -- and it's all about the outdoors. Mix pieces from traditional mountaineering and outdoors companies with your daily wardrobe. Technical parkas, hiking boots, and active fabrics mesh nicely with casual dress pants and a slim tie.
2. Trousers: Woven shirts have been the focus for several seasons as dapper blazer and pocket square replaced the premium denim and sweater style that was the official uniform of the cultural creative for several years. This season it's time for some well-cut, well-constructed, dressy-casual trousers in a tactile fabric like soft wool flannel.
3. Craftsmanship : With all the hand made, lovingly crafted, authentic product out there now, it's safe to say that artisanal production, and brands that offer low impact small batch manufacture will be the cornerstones of the menswear market for 2012. Brands and products that offer a high level of craftsmanship and quality will be in demand, as men take more pride in investment pieces, unique product, and locally made and made to order pieces.
4. Euro Style: : Americana and Japanese interpretations of American vintage have been the driving force in menswear for almost a decade. Now the focus is shifting back towards Europe as designers there make an impact in the US with soft shoulder jackets, sharp cuts, pocket squares, color bursts, and a dash of sprezzatura. We like the look when it's mixed with American style elements -- a dash of street, a hint of prep, with a hint of lumberjack influence tossed in.
5. Urban Surf: There's the city, and there's the beach, and then there's urban surf -- an uncanny mashup of retro-beachwear, and city influences. While logically these two elements wouldn't mesh, the urban surf look has been gathering steam for several seasons, blending Hawaiiana, technical surf styling, punk edginess, and a nod to sartorial tradition.
Check out my blog, www.wearethemarket.com to see more coverage of the A/W12 trade shows and runways.