Monday, August 05, 2002

Fashion Trendoid Alert!
Being a regular fashion plate, I dove right into Retailers market low-rise pants, as part of a broader strategy to capitalize on young men's growing appetite for fashion, but was sorely disappointed:
A guy shopping for a pair of basic jeans this fall might think he's stumbled into the women's department.

Retailers and clothing manufacturers including Levi Strauss & Co. and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. are focusing on a trendier look for young men, including low-rise jeans that hug the hips - similar to the pants that a year ago became a must-have style for teen girls and young women.

At Limited Inc.'s Express men's division, 25 percent of its men's pants for the back-to-school season will be low-rise styles.

Merchants are hoping that low-rise pants, along with tighter-fitting sweaters, tinted jeans and other looks, will help fuel sales in the young men's category, which targets the 18-to-34 age group. The segment has just started to rebound after slumping for more than a year.

One of the interesting twists about these new fashions is that they look more like women's clothes than traditional men's apparel.

"Stores are recognizing that today's guy may choose to dress a lot like today's girl," said Marian Salzman, chief strategy officer at Euro RSCG Worldwide, a New York-based marketing company. "There is a lot more blurring of what is female and what is male."
We don't see many of those in these parts.
"In general, it has always been a cliche that men were not interested in fashion. But younger men are shopping now with more confidence because they have all these fashion icons to look up to in sports and music," said Mark Minsky, senior vice president of merchandising at Doneger Group, an apparel buying company, citing baseball player Derek Jeter and rap artist Sean "Puffy" Combs, lately known as P. Diddy.


Some trend trackers like consultant Irma Zandl believe the time is right for body-tight clothes, given that a new wave of rock bands, such as Phantom Planet, The Hives and The Stroke are sporting low-slung pants, the uniform of the rock rebel.
Bridget Russo, spokeswoman for Diesel USA, said, "Guys are becoming more and more daring, and open to trying more fashion-forward products."
I bought some Dayglo Orange suspenders once - still haven't lived it down.
Eddie Bencosme, 21, from Chattanooga, Tennessee, found shopping at cheap chic retailer Hennes & Mauritz on a recent Tuesday, said he is "interested in clothes", and is a fan of Prada, Banana Republic and Brooks Brothers, but is leery about buying low-rise pants.

"They don't seem that comfortable," he said.
And likely to lead to a terminal case of Plumber's Butt.
"We're using low-rise jeans to recreate what it means to be a hero again," said Anna Brockway of Levi's.
You shouldn't talk to reporters while drunk, ma'am.