image

LIFE

Menswear shopping boutiques on the increase

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 December, 2014, 4:25pm
UPDATED : Friday, 05 December, 2014, 4:25pm

Shopping is traditionally viewed as being monopolised by women. But things are starting to change, as men become more fashion and style conscious. To cater to the growing demand, Hong Kong has seen a resurgence of men's boutiques.

Hong Kong used to be a shopping destination because you could find unique items here. But now the streets are filled with chain stores, according to Alan See, owner of men's haberdashery The Armoury. "Entrepreneurs are stepping in by opening boutiques that offer something new and exciting," says Alan See, owner of men's haberdashery The Armoury.

The trend started a few years ago, when Landmark rebranded its basement as a male -focused section.

It features an assortment of designer heavyweights such as Valentino and Dior (which is opening soon), and grooming brands such as Kiehls, and Joyce Beauty. Luxury accessories retailer On Pedder opened their first men's only boutique there.

"Men want to have their own discoveries. They are looking for places where they can develop a relationship with the store, where information becomes reciprocal. They want to know why a product has been chosen, and how it fits into their seasonal choices," says Peter Harris, president of Pedder Group.

The 1,500 sq ft store is different to its women's boutiques, and is designed to resemble a modern apartment that will appeal to both the gentleman and the urbanite.

One side of the store brings to mind a chic living room, and carries luxe offerings such as Church's, British cobbler George Cleverley and handmade accessories from British leather goods maker Swaine Adeney.

Men are looking for places where they can develop a relationship with the store
Peter Harris, Pedder Group[

The other half of the store looks more like a gallery space, and houses new brands. It will also serve as an event space for special projects and pop-ups.

The merchandise mix of over 50 brands covers everything from fashion-forward styles by Balenciaga and Giuseppe Zanotti, to hip trainers by Lanvin and Common Projects. There are also several new brand exclusives including London based Mr Hare, which amkes super soft suede loafers and Lock & Co Hatters, which is known for its luxe felt hats.

"Hong Kong, in particular throws together menswear influences from Europe, Asia and North America. I think the Hong Kong man has become less brand driven. He is interested in expressing a more individual look, and impressed with refinement, attitude and detail," says Harris.

More artisanal brands have also popped up in the city to appeal to this more discerning buyer. The majority hail from Italy, and are known for their emphasis on tradition and craftsmanship.

Highlights include shoe brand Santoni, which specialises in made-to-measure footwear handmade in Italy's famed Marche region. The styles are crafted from untreated leather, which is coloured by hand to create a signature "patina". Craftsmen apply up to 15 different colours to the leather, making each pair unique.

Tie maker E. Marinella, founded in Naples in 1914, has also opened its first shop in the region, at Landmark. The brand regards tie making as an art form, and has been using the same techniques for decades. Its signature ties are made from heavy Italian silk, and are folded seven times.

Handcrafted accessories top men's wish lists, but tailoring is also important. Isaia has attracted a loyal following among stylish men. Its store in Landmark offers traditional suiting and casual wear.