A look at the rise of womenswear brands launching men's lines

A look at the rise of womenswear brands launching men's lines

Boy meets world

Image: BoF

Today, men's interest in buying luxury goods is stronger than ever before, prompting a myriad of womenswear brands such as Michael Kors and Tory Burch to foray into the menswear scene...

In today's day and age, streetwear labels and high fashion houses are slowly and stylishly starting to blur the lines between womenswear and menswear. With famous labels that were menswear-first brands moving into womenswear for some while now – for example Band of Outsiders and Rag & Bone – however this year, the tables are turning and womenswear labels are trying to successfully cross over into the territory of menswear.

This December, Michael Kors will be opening a 22,000-square-foot flagship at 520 Broadway in New York, where there will be floors dedicated to accessories and fragrances, women's fashion and shoes, and one floor entirely stocked with menswear – marking the multi-billion-dollar brand's move into the men's market.

The American fashion label projects its men's business to generate $1 billion in revenue by 2017. "From there, we will begin to test free-standing men's stores next year and believe that there may be the potential for as many as 500 men's stores worldwide over the long term," said Michael Kors chairman and CEO John Idol back in August.

Other popular labels have also responded to the trend, including Tory Burch – which will launch a men's accessories line in 2015 – and Coach, who reported that its sales of men's bags and accessories increased in the most recent quarter despite a decrease in general sales.

Across the Atlantic ocean, British label Christopher Kane launched a men's range in 2011, with — excuse the pun — Richard Nicoll and Jonathan Saunders following suit in 2012. This year, Whistles – known for its contemporary womenswear line – also debuted its first-ever menswear line. According to Euromonitor, the global sales of men's luxury good are projected to reach $110 billion by 2019, 36 percent from $81 billion USD in 2014.

And, while fashion houses like Ralph Lauren and Tom Ford successfully release collections for both genders, the question that still needs to be asked is whether brands mostly associated to women can make a smooth transition in creating iconic designs for the opposite sex...