Runways, Malls and Stores: Where the Boys Are

Discussion
Jul 01, 2011
George Anderson

There’s some kind of rule of events happening in threes. We’re pretty sure it doesn’t have any application for coverage of retail events and trends, but as luck would have it, this week three stories popped up with a common link — male shoppers.

A blog by Raquel Laneri on the Forbes website reported that the recently completed fashion runway shows in Paris included men in skirts. No, we’re not talking manly kilts here. Male models doing the runway stroll were wearing skirts: "Long, short, narrow, baggy, pleated, fringed — they came in all shapes and styles."

Since we’ve started in Europe, the next story moves eastward to Prague where a developer has opened a mall targeted to upscale male shoppers. The new mall called Pánská Pasáž, which translates into "Gentlemen’s Arcade" in English, has 19 shops including "Ralph Lauren, famed Austrian tailor Knize, a gourmet food market, a shoe shop, a parfumerie for men and traditional barbershop," according to a report on Springwise. (Photos of the mall and products sold in its stores can be found on Facebook).

The male emphasis continues closer to home with reports this week that Ulta Salon Cosmetics and Fragrance was adding in-store boutiques for men.

Ulta’s CEO Chuck Rubin told attendees at the Reuters Consumer and Retail Summit that the company has previously offered products for men scattered throughout its 389 stores. By focusing on the category in a dedicated space, Ulta is hoping to become a destination for men seeking personal care products.

The rollout of the men’s boutique concept will be completed by August. Stores, according to Reuters, "will feature products from Procter & Gamble’s The Art of Shaving line, as well as other products such as electronic razors, cologne and hair care" products.

Discussion Question: Does the increased attention being paid to male consumers by fashion and beauty brands and retailers suggest a change is taking place in the approach men take to shopping in these categories? Are men and women becoming more alike in their shopping habits?

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11 Comments on "Runways, Malls and Stores: Where the Boys Are"


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Liz Crawford
Guest
9 years 10 months ago

Just because someone is trying to sell it, doesn’t mean someone will buy it. For example, men may be expanding their purchases of skin and hair care products, but it doesn’t mean that they will necessarily go to Ulta to buy them. It could be that they will take that extra moment in CVS waiting for their prescription to buy a styling product.

Further, men may be more open to wearing sarongs (especially at the beach), but it doesn’t mean they will necessarily rush out to buy a mini skirt.

This men’s movement seems to be at the stage where brands are “throwing it out there to see if it sticks.” Some will, some won’t.

Bob Phibbs
Guest
9 years 10 months ago

Guys are gregarious. If you can, make a place they can meet whether that is a mall, a store or a breasturant. The question too is how to make it not a novelty–like guys in all sorts of skirts on the runway for PR–but an extension of maybe a Yankees or Mets outing.

Dan Gilmore
Guest
Dan Gilmore
9 years 10 months ago

And we wonder why Europe is in decline….

Steve Montgomery
Guest
9 years 10 months ago

I agree with Liz. Success comes from providing what someone will buy not what you want to sell.

Having men in skirts on the runway generates discussion and free publicity–two things designers crave. I don’t see men showing up at the office in skirts anytime (soon or otherwise).

Cathy Hotka
Guest
9 years 10 months ago

Men like male-oriented grooming products, but for now, that’s as far as it goes. Things you will NOT be seeing any time soon:
* groups of middle-aged men hanging out in the mall food court
* Victor’s Secret
* guys rocking a skirt while grocery shopping.

Roger Saunders
Guest
9 years 10 months ago

If retailers/manufacturers are to pursue this approach, best to break it into smaller segmentation–i.e.–selected cities/neighborhoods around the country, Males and females who are single/never married, specialty stores, etc.

With shifting demographic patterns (a quarter of the population is “Single/Never Married,” “1% are living formalized Same Sex Union,” “9% are living with an Unmarried Partner,” “12% are divorced at any point in time,” etc.), a market is being carved out for metro-sexual shoppers.

However, males trend toward being a “Mission Shopper,” they pay for items like HBA in a different pattern (more cash than credit or debit), and they are more likely to get to the department store for their clothing and shoes, but not get their as frequently as females.

We may see men in Paris wearing skirts, but don’t bet multiple store chains making it work in the U.S. “Runway Drama” doesn’t always translate as a trend.

Bill Emerson
Guest
Bill Emerson
9 years 10 months ago

It sounds to me like some luxury brands that are desperate to drive more revenue. Liz has it right; media coverage does not guarantee sales. Some years ago there were menswear vendors trying to revive Nehru jackets. Seen any of those lately?

I am kind of disappointed that I have to throw away my “Victor’s Secret” business plan. Bummer.

Jerry Gelsomino
Guest
9 years 10 months ago

I think this is wishful thinking. Yes, men are more conscious of their looks and good grooming habits, but I can’t see this being a huge new market. And yes there may be a popular male-oriented shopping center opened as a destination, but I’d be surprised to see any major mall developer starting a major roll-out strategy.

Lee Peterson
Guest
9 years 10 months ago

Even if men wear skirts (about time!), they’ll still shop differently than women. You can’t change DNA with some displays and a few cool ideas.

Having said that, there have always been similarities as well as huge differences. Men still target shop, women browse–but both groups have shown an ability to traipse over to the other side at times (e.g. men in fashion, women in grocery). Men react best to direct truths (usually via humor) and women respond well to more information, but again, doesn’t mean those are not flexible if your product mission (skirts) is unique.

So all in all, men are from Mars…just kidding. Ultimately, in terms of marketing, the 80 – 20 rule applies: use most of what you know is true, but be flexible and creative when necessary. (Who’s carrying skirts anyway? I want one!)

Kai Clarke
Guest
9 years 10 months ago

Men in skirts compared to men’s clothing stores are not a favorable comparison. Men don’t (and probably won’t) wear skirts, now or any time soon, whereas men’s clothing stores are a standard in malls around the world.

Yes, men are a key demographic. Can they support men-only malls? Perhaps, but very doubtful. The large percentage of shoppers, historically, were women. Clearly, that is different if we are discussing a Home Depot store, or an Apple store, but with few exceptions, shoppers tend to be women. That is why the majority of retailers cater to women, even for men’s stores…this is not going to change in the future, any time soon.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
9 years 10 months ago

I guess men’s skirts are not much different than baggy basketball “shorts,” which we used to call culottes when girls wore them. Will the hip-hop versions be worn at half-mast, like baggy jeans? Interesting picture. But hey, I used to work in S.F. and currently spend bidness time there. Men in skirts? Old news. Metrosexuals with hair products dripping down their necks? Almost as bad as Jheri Curl. I think we may be surprised by the success of one or more of the three developments described by George.

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