Church wedding

Boom in sales for couture brands for weddings, events and back to the office – WWD

Wedding season is upon us.

This year marks a return to normalcy for many parts of the world and the United States, and weddings are back in full force.

Bespoke suit companies and bespoke workshops agreed that the weddings and events sector is helping sales eclipse 2019 and they are on course to reach all-time highs.

Vancouver-based bespoke clothing retailer Indochino said 2019 was a year of growth for the company and included the start of their relationship with Nordstrom, and new and existing customers buying suits for their weddings, events or returning to the office have driven business to outpace 2019 and be above its 2022 forecast since the start of the year.

Bespoke menswear retailer Alton Lane agreed, saying February 2020 was its best February yet and capped its best year in business.

But with stores temporarily closing due to COVID-19, retailers have had to take a break and, in some cases, scale back business in order to stay alive.

“Our demand depends on celebrations, weddings, graduations, face-to-face meetings,” says Fokke de Jong, founder and managing director of Amsterdam-based menswear and fashion brand Suitsupply. “Our business has been greatly impacted. After 2019, we focused on reducing our activity.

Indochina
Courtesy picture

COVID-19 and the global shutdowns imposed to prevent the spread of the virus have taken a lot from society for several months, such as the five-day work week in the office, the average school day, movie premieres and clubs. by night. It also hampered fine dining, retail shopping, church services and gym workouts.

Arguably, marriages have suffered the most during the pandemic. Couples have had to postpone their 2020 wedding plans for a full year or indefinitely, and for many, without refunds.

Today, de Jong’s company and many suit brands are experiencing what he describes as a “pent-up effect” from men tired of sweatpants and casual clothes. Looking at 2019 versus 2022, he says, “If you thought business was busy [in 2019]I think it’s busier now.

“I think the biggest issue in 2022 compared to 2019 is the time and effort we put into recruiting, hiring and onboarding people,” he continues. “A lot of people say finding talent is hard, but we managed to find good people. Even if we made a massive loss, we kept all our suppliers and partners that we have.

Indochino’s vice president of retail, Dean Handspiker, and Alton Lane co-founder, Peyton Jenkins, have both noticed that men are taking more risks with their suit options. According to Handspiker, black tuxedos and black and navy suits are still bestsellers, but more and more men are experimenting with color.

They also continue to see a slim fit, despite trends from luxury and contemporary menswear brands moving towards a more relaxed fit, and updates to 1990s suits from brands like Fear of God, Tiger of Sweden, Casablanca and Umit Benan’s B+ line, among others.

Ash Owens recently launched his post-gender couture brand Suited Atelier and believes men’s more adventurous expression is a result of COVID-19.

“I think a lot of that is because of the pandemic,” Owens says. “I think a lot of people have worked on themselves in a lot of ways and feel more comfortable standing out and less attached to societal norms for lack of a better phrase. I feel like people ask a lot of questions, so it’s less about fitting in. As far as trends go, I think Gucci has had an impact on that 60s and 70s vibe and people are interested in a wider lapel and a generous fit.

Owens moved to New York to study at Parsons School of Design and apprenticed with a tailor who worked with Thom Browne and Duckie Brown, among others. They launched the Grandpa Style website and Suited Magazine for the past decade before launching Suited Atelier this year.

Adapted workshop

Adapted workshop
Dominik Tarabanski

“As far as gender, especially gender expression, it’s evolved so much in the last few years because we’ve legalized same-sex marriage,” Owens says. “There are a lot fewer rules and a lot less conservative style. When it comes to weddings, you can make a colorful tuxedo in different tones. I’m working on a costume for a client who wants a goth cowboy vibe and I think it’s just creativity in these spaces, because you’re already challenging the norms and now you feel like you can really have fun with.

Owens produces suits for men and women, transgender and non-binary customers and encourages customers to opt for a tailored suit for a more precise fit.

“Thinking about queer bodies is totally different in so many ways, because of how people want to present themselves,” they said. “What do they want to present and how they want to do it. It’s an important part of working with queer people when it comes to costuming. Someone with a larger chest might want to look more masculine, so we leave the waistline looser or go closer to how you want people to see it.

Owens found that their customers were looking to stand out by wanting suits, patterns and textured prints; wider lapels; longer, looser cuts and unique colors, like champagne pink.

“The sage, tan, and softer pastels were a surprise hit,” adds Handspiker. “You see a lot more of it in wool/linen and silk/linen blends.”

Jenkins adds, “Our weddings and events business, while not the lion’s share, is an important part and for which we are grateful. We don’t see the men saying I need a navy suit or a black tuxedo, but the style guardrails do stretch a bit. They are stepping out of their comfort zone for her wedding and integrating that into her work environment.

Jenkins wore a navy and royal blue seersucker jacket with mother-of-pearl buttons in the Zoom phone interview for this story, and said the style is a way for men to extend those bodyguards. Most buyers are adventurous but dive into the water in different ways.

For example, some opt for custom liners for personalization, matching team colors if the groomsmen played together on a team, and loose rules like following a color scheme but being free to wear jackets at lapels or lapels and different suit cuts and linings. Other men are bold in royal blue tuxedos, dark red and burgundy jackets and brightly colored tuxedos.

“There’s more movement towards double-breasted jackets,” adds Jenkins.

Allon Lane

Allon Lane
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Alton Lane is currently the exclusive partner of Anthropologie’s Bhldn destination wedding. “The male side of the wedding industry has long been an opportunity for expansion,” says Jenkins. “The bride has such a goal and few magazines are just for the groom.”

Handspiker and Jenkins also found opportunities in groomsmen, seeing the party as a way to introduce more men to their businesses. Handspiker adds that he’s upbeat this year and he’s continuing his pace and expecting the groomsmen to return for more formal, casual looks.

But does this increased demand for couture mean a change in menswear? The male guests of the Met Gala in May 2022 were much more expressive than in previous years. There were far fewer classic black tuxedos than the capes worn by Kid Cudi and Gunna; kilts on Oscar Isaac, Travis Barker and Russell Westbrook; new models from Bad Bunny in Burberry, Alton Mason in Prada, Odell Beckham Jr. in Cactus Plant Flea Market, Evan Mock in Head of State, Sebastian Stan in Valentino and Jordan Roth in a Thom Browne dress, among other looks.

Even on the NFL Draft red carpet, new recruits experimented with bright colors, patterns and autobiographical details to celebrate the momentous occasion.

“The Met Gala is interesting and celebrity culture in general in terms of its effect on menswear,” says Owens. “I think back to when the American vibe was all over the place and the Italian dapper style, but now I feel it’s a bit more vibe and less classic and traditional and feels more person specific.”

They also mentioned the style and expression of musical artist Lil Nas X, saying, “There is such a range and influence of queer culture and an influence of how people want to be perceived and people can be perceived differently and people don’t have to look the same, and I really like that.

Jenkins acknowledges that his client primarily prefers a more fitted suit, but also sees that comfort has changed the way men want their suits and shirts to fit.

“I don’t expect taller waists and wider legs for our client, but I think in menswear it definitely means broadening acceptability,” he says. “For the Met, it’s been a while since we’ve had this – it’s a welcome return moment. In this environment, it’s normal to surprise and delight. We never focus too much on traditional fashion The style of the red carpet doesn’t affect much of this, but where it does take effect is that it widens the margins in which our client feels they can comfortably perform.

He mentioned David Beckham, football star and one of menswear’s longtime style icons, as an influencer for tattoos and how many men see tattoos as less taboo and more acceptable because of Beckham.

“If he’s 10% more open to going a little bolder, you get more compliments, and that compliment is a cycle of making you more aware,” he says.