She made my shirt: Female Designers in Menswear

She made my shirt, and I’m not talking about a woman making the shirt in some distant factory in Bangladesh or China  (that’s a topic for another time). A more effective word would be design: she designed my shirt, pants, jacket, etc. Men designing clothing for women is the norm within fashion (ironic, isn’t it?). They are the head of the largest fashion houses and creative directors of womenswear and menswear labels, i.e., Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel or Raf Simmons, the former creative director of Dior (also allegedly will be the new creative director of Calvin Klein) .When you sit back and really think about it, it’s sort of humorous because women are the biggest purchasers of fashion, despite the steady growth of the menswear industry for the past several years, since (some) men decided to give a crap about how they dress. Also, a larger part of fashion is mostly catered to Women; they have the largest and longest fashion weeks and wider range of selection to choose from when they walk into any clothing store. However, women designing menswear or being the head of a men’s fashion label is not as common. Yes, we have Donatella Versace and Miuccia Prada, but these women didn’t start the labels that produce menswear along with womenswear; they inherited their positions. So it’s fair to say, ladies, that fashion is very much an industry run by men. However, no need for an uprising amongst you, as there a few women I came across the web that have been steadily grinding and breaking through the pavement of the menswear industry, starting their own independent labels, and making dope clothing for us gents! Hopefully they will be making a lot more noise in the near future and can be up there with the Tom Browns of the industry. Peep a few of my favorite ones below.

 

Enter: Grace Wales Bonner

Photo Source: HIghsnobiety

Bonner is a London-based menswear designer, has been in the game (menswear) for two seasons now, and has been making waves at London Collections: Mens, London’s men’s fashion week. She’s been lauded for her impeccable designs and from what I can see, there is definitely a strong cultural influence to her aesthetic .

Photo Source: Wales Bonner

Photo Source: Wales Bonner

Enter: Astrid Anderson

Photo Source: Highsnobiety

Anderson is also a London-based designer and graduate from The Royal College of Art in London. Her extravagant sportswear collection has caught the eye of celebrities such as A$AP Rocky and Drake.

Photo Source: Astrid Anderson

Photo Source: Astrid Anderson

Enter: Katie Eary

Photo Source: Mensfashionmagazine.com

Another menswear designer hailing from the UK (are you seeing a trend here, my peeps?) designs clothing for men that have vibrant, color-saturated prints. Her clothing is for the man that wants to stand out and be flashy without the all the jewelry. Another member of the A$AP crew, A$AP Mob has been seen donning her clothing, as well as rapper 2 Chainz.

Photo Source: Katie Eary

Photo Source: Katie Eary

These are just a few of the new, young talented women coming out of London owning and designing strong menswear labels and collections. I’m not saying these women are the first or the only ones doing this, as one of the biggest menswear houses, Hermes has a woman leading it, Veronique Nichanian. She has been dubbed the “High Priestess of Menswear.” Also let’s not leave out Rei Kawakubo, the founder of COMME des GARÇONS. She started out in womenswear and has made a successful transition into menswear. Let’s be real, CDG has established itself as one to be recognized and respected, as eight of the CDG sub-brands produce pretty successful menswear. Who is to say a women can’t design clothing for men, as men have been designing clothing for women for decades! We still have some ways to go before we see the shift in this imbalance, and have women in the driver’s seat of large fashion houses for both menswear and womenswear as well.

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