It’s all about having friends in high places, right? Well, me and Lauren don’t have any of those, but we do have our friend James.
I jest, of course; James is a person of huge importance and fashion knowledge. Part-time stud muffin and full-time Visual Merchandiser for the Coventry branch of Outfit, he’s in charge of pulling trends together to create the key looks that you see as you walk around the store. Luckily, I knew him back when he was 15 and would spend his weekends getting drunk in the park, so if I ask him to help me with stuff then he basically has to oblige.
Last night, then, I roped him into talking me through all of the latest trends that they’re currently promoting in store, and in particularly what boys should be wearing this summer. So, if you have a boyf who’s a bit of a Screech Powers and you want a Zack Morris, you can just print this out and give it to him. Useful, right?!
What does a Visual Merchandiser do?
A Visual Merchandiser (VM if you want to be fancyHUH) is an important job in retail. James describes it as ‘dressing mannequins and living the gay dream’, but it requires a little more thought than that. What the customer sees from the moment they enter the store to when they leave is basically the responsibility of the VM. James receives a ‘trend pack’ at the start of each season and then has to pull together key looks from the stock that he’s given, and display these around the store.
James says the key is to make looks that are wearable for the customers. It’s his aim that if you walk into the Topshop section of your local Outfit and see a look on a mannequin that isn’t your style, then the next look you see will be one which definitely is. It’s all about being accessible and not alienating any customers’ styles, but still building imaginative outfits that can inspire consumers.
Key trends this summer
As me and James sat in my living room eating McFluries, he explained to me it’s currently an exciting time for both menswear and womenswear as it’s one of the first seasons where the key trends have been completely wearable for both genders. As he said, “gone are the days of disty floral tea dresses for girls and humour motif tees for the boys”. Now, trends are crossing the sex divide and there’s no reason why both parts of a couple can’t rock the same trend (though please, for the love of god, don’t do it at the same time and look like total planks).
Here are the key looks that James says are strong in store right now:
Tip: modernise this 1980s, ‘Breakfast Club’-inspired trend with iconic pieces such as skinny jeans
Tip: wear with snapbacks, skater shorts and high-tops to give tie-dye a more urban edge than its traditional hippy vibe. Play with different shades – incorporate acid brights to create an exciting look, or tone down with pastel shades.
Tip: this was seen last year, but has finally come through strongly in male fashion as well as female. Team with bright colours for interesting tonal looks: think watermelon red with mint ice cream.
Tip: Airtex is set to become big news in fashion. An extension of the sports luxe trend, you can expect to see Airtex paneling and also full Airtex pieces such as this tee from Aqua by Aqua. Bright, acid colours are going to be key to keeping this look young and fun, as opposed to bringing up memories of PE in school.
We hope you enjoyed this slightly different post on male fashion! Huge thanks to James, who you can find at @Juh_ames on Twitter. What do you all think about men’s fashion this season?