I’m a lumberjack, and that’s ok.
This season’s men’s fall collections are signalling a return to a rugged definition of masculinity. In a complete about-face from the effete ensembles that have dominated design in recent years, fashion houses including Ralph Lauren, Gucci and Barneys’ are sending plaid shirts, fisherman’s pea coats and tradesman’s boots down the runway.
If design is the language through which we express the thinking of the times, then the “new heritage” movement can be read as design’s reaction to the downturned economy and the much hyped ‘crisis in masculinity’. The recent boom years where men and women share the workplace have seen designers collectively strive towards a minimalist, genderless and disembodied design experience. As women forged ahead en masse to redefine their societal and sexual context, men have trended towards a drain-pipe-jean androgyny, eschewing the binary in favor of a more singular modernism.
It’s easy to scoff at fashion’s dalliance with ‘retrosexuality’ and the fantasy of the idealized man. The reshaping of possibilities for both genders has had inarguably positive and healthy aspects, but this confluence into gender inspecificity robs us of what is currently an underutilized tool in our design vocabulary; the ability to speak with authenticity about our own male / female experience. Can we now take what we’ve learned from our years in the gender identity wilderness and move forward?
Article edited by M. Regan