Would you buy a $3,600 man bag?
The market for luxury men’s bags spiked 23% between 2011 and 2016,
Singer Pharrell Williams has become the first male face of the Chanel bag, due to air April 3 worldwide, Women’s Wear Daily recently reported, joining a growing number of rappers to model gender-neutral clothing and womenswear. He is pictured sporting the new-season’s “Gabrielle” Chanel tote. And the price? $3,600.
Pharrell is just the latest hip-hop artist to be featured in high fashion women’s advertising campaigns. Will Smith’s son Jaden Smith became the face of a Louis Vuitton ad campaign for womenswear in 2016 and rapper Young Thug appeared in a Gucci gown on the cover of his latest album.
The market for men’s luxury bags in the U.S. has grown 23% between 2011 and 2016, according to research firm Euromonitor International. The total market for men’s luxury bags has now reached $1.3 billion while the market for women’s luxury bags is still much higher at $12.1 billion. And of the 16 to 24 year old men who bought fashion accessories in 2015, 20% bought items from a designer store or brand, up from an average of 9% in 2014, a study by the U.K.-based research firm Mintel recently found.
“It’s a misnomer to say ‘man bag’ or God forbid ‘murse’ at this point, because most guys have a bag to go from work-to-gym-to-play.”
But Pharrell’s support of the Chanel brand shows how makers of luxury goods accessories are increasingly targeting men. The Chanel “man bag” represents the evolution of the “elevated luxury standard” for musicians and, the hope is, for other wealthy American men, said Michael Fisher, vice president of men’s creative for New York-based trend forecasting and consultancy agency Fashion Snoops. Though the price tag may be a bit high for the average consumer, the market for “man purses” or “man bags” has been growing in recent years, he said.
“By now, men carrying a bag for their daily lives is nothing new,” he said. “It’s a perennial part of their personal style at this point, but those examples are usually functional, somewhat rugged in appearance, and appropriate for many occasions. It’s a misnomer to say ‘man bag’ or God forbid ‘murse’ at this point, because most guys have a bag to go from work-to-gym-to-play.”
From the fashion houses of Berlutti to Valextra, men’s bags have replaced the traditional briefcase and can range from $3,000 to almost $11,000 for a leather bag with shark skin.
“Pharrell has been a friend of the house of Chanel for some time, and being the influencer he is, it just further emphasizes that so many designers are making a statement with gender-neutral designs,” Fisher said. “I think it’s shifted from showy logo-heavy merchandise to more classic extravagance like a Chanel bag, intended gender be damned.”
True style is timeless ― and apparently ageless, too.
There were over four times as many models over age 50 in the Fall 2017 fashion shows as there were employed for Spring 2016, according to theFashionSpot’s newest diversity report. The site tracked statistics of size, race, age and gender for 7,035 models cast in 241 shows over this past fashion month, which ended last week in Paris.
New York Fashion Week led the charge as most diverse overall, but each city contributed a little bit to making the runways more age-friendly this season. According to the report, “21 models over age 50 walked the runways of New York, Paris, London and Milan.”
While this might sound like a small number, it’s significant when compared to previous seasons: It’s a whopping 160 percent increase over Spring 2016, when only five were hired. Eleven models over 50 walked in Fall 2016, according to theFashionSpot, and 13 were employed for Spring 2017.
“Women in their 50s, 60s and onward turned up more this fashion month than during any season in recent memory,” the report authors wrote.
In Europe, age inclusivity is happening faster than other factors like size. Only two plus-size models walked in Paris and two in Milan, compared to 26 in New York.
Still, the report called fall 2017 a “banner season” for diversity, signaling that just like the models featured, fashion month just keeps getting better with age.
Check out more of the age diversity at fashion month in action below, and head to theFashionSpot to read the entire report.
Being sexy has no age limit.
The new campaign is a part of the label’s ongoing “Lonely Girls” series, which has featured Lena Dunham and Jemima Kirke.
Brewer, a self-described former punk, once modeled alongside Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss. She was a perfect fit for the brand, according to Helene Morris, one of Lonely’s co-founders and designers.
“At Lonely, we feel that it is important to challenge what we see in our media with a more authentic reflection of beauty and hope to grow people’s visual vocabulary,” Morris said in statement about the series. “The beauty and fashion industries are so obsessed with youth, but the reality is we are all aging, and there are so many wonderful things about growing older.”
Brewer told i-D magazine that she was a fan of the lingerie brand before she started modeling for them. The model describes her appearance in the ad campaign as a way to bring “recognition that older women can kick ass when the opportunity arises.”
“Forget stereotypes, if someone looks good in your gear, shine a light on them,” she said. We couldn’t agree more.