Vandlist by Vandal’s 2012 Spring/Summer Preview and the Emergence of the Manskirt in Contemporary Menswear
Most would agree that we are experiencing a sort of renaissance in contemporary menswear; emerging globalization of trends and common ideas in the menswear society, thanks to communities like Tumblr, is creating perhaps the most excitement and growth modern menswear has ever had. If you’re “part of the community” and know how to properly use the menswear hashtag, then you’ve probably noticed all the major trends and general disposition that crowds the contemporary conversation. There’s the resurgence of heritage and workwear in general; the renewed emphasis on fit and tailoring; of course there’s the inconceivable amount of ivy influence and other “preppytudes" creeping up in every corner of menswear; and we can’t forget about the modern reinterpretation of classic style with a dash of irreverence best characterized by Mr. McNairy and friends.
Wait though. We are leaving out perhaps the most intriguing and revolutionary major style trend of them all: the "Rick Owens/Alexander Wang, #allblackalleverything; shapes, lines, and contours" movement.
It wasn’t until Jay-Z declared that he might wear black for a year straight that I realized that it was the classiest color in all of clothing. And undoubtedly Hov’s endorsement of black only helped its popularity, but it’s still hard to really finger the root behind this growing trend in menswear.
I have a few hypotheses; I’m convinced the Wu-Tang Clan is involved. The 9 wise clansmen from Shaolin once told us that Wu-Tang is forever. Perhaps we all limited the truth of this declaration’s scope to the Wu’s influence in music, or maybe even dismissed the statement as merely a clever line of braggadocios rap. Don’t be deceived. Wu-Tang really is forever.
Is it just me or is much of the prevailing aesthetic of the RO/AW#SLC movement (as properly abbreviated) reminiscent of classic kung-fu and samurai movies, films that the Wu-Tang Clan helped re-popularize with their music and martial arts themes. I realize that many of the assertions made here today may find difficult to prove. But I think it’s no coincidence that many of the prominent figures in today’s menswear community have an acute interest in kung fu films and classic hip hop music and culture, all ingredients that cultivate a cultural breeding ground for Shaolin-inspired garments.
shaolin vs wu tang, 1981; one of the principal wu-tang clan inspirations
Vandlist by Vandal 2012 Spring/Summer Preview
Heemin Yang’s VANDALIST by VANDAL recently showed its 2012 Spring/Summer Collection atSeoul Fashion Week, a showcase very much in the spirit of RO/AW#SLC. Yang drafted a collection that revolves around the ideas of lines and shadows. Most of the pieces are monochromatic, dark ensembles with clever hems and free-flowing fabric. The collection plays well with proportions and layering, mixing numerous fabrics in ways that create beautiful geometric shapes.
Skirts. There were a lot of skirts as well. I’m not sure what image comes to mind when somebody not involved in the fashion blogosphere thinks manskirt, but this collection. That’s what comes to mind for me. There’s strangely nothing unnatural about seeing these men in skirts. It’s not shockingly provocative the way cross-dressing can be, or even obnoxious and obtrusive. In fact, all the clothing is well-fitting and functional and complements the human figure nicely.
Folks, remember how you weren’t around when women first started wearing pants? I wasn’t either. But I imagine the idea in 1945 would be just as societally cringe-inducing as the manskirt is. I have yet to wear (or own) one, but after seeing it done well, all my brain needed to do was get past the negative mental blocks surrounding the word manskirt and I was sold.
I’m honestly overtly excited about the possibilities surrounding this trend. In 30 years, we could be living in a world where manskirts are as much a no-brainer as women in pants. And with the power of globalization, the manskirt (and this RO/AW#SLC aesthetic in general) could become an integral part of the modern “prototypical man”, the same way that a suit and tie embody that now. Still not sold? Check here, here, here, and below.
skirts by soar and thome browne, respectively
Plenty of designers have done manskirts in the past, so disregard all the ones that got it wrong. Ed Hardy’s bastardizations haven’t illegitimatized all of clothing; the same principle applies to manskirts. It’s only a matter of time before the runway is not the only location where manskirts are an unsurprising occurrence. Soon you won’t just be seeing them during your daily blog roll. You’ll go outside after spending the first 45 minutes of your day on your favorite 7 blogs and bam! There’ll be a man in a skirt sitting across from you on the Metro.