Man Clothes

In German Men's Wear, Where Form Follows Function, Hopes of a Fashion Breakthrough

  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany’s market for men’s fashion clothing offers huge growth potential but pricing is crucial.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Sales of men’s clothing rose from €15.6 billion in 2009 to €17 billion.
    • Several German makers of men’s fashion clothing plan new lines to capture market share.
    • Price plays a significant role in men’s clothing.
  • Audio

    Audio

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Many German men don’t particularly care about how they appear in public.

“You often see men in worn or outdated clothing,” said Thomas Rath, the luxury-fashion designer from Düsseldorf. “They ought to buy a suit more often.”

Mr. Rath became widely known through the television series “Germany’s Next Top Model” and has written a fashion guidebook for men.

They seem to be learning, though. From 2009 to today, sales of men’s clothing rose from €15.6 billion ($21.1 billion) to €17.0 billion, according to Euromonitor.

“Germans are ready to spend a lot of money for well-engineered cars, but not necessarily for clothing and if so, then for functional clothing.”

Scilla Huang Sung, Luxury expert at Julius Bär

“For a long time, revenues from men’s clothing were only slightly more than half those from women’s clothing,” said Philip Beil, a luxury expert at the consulting firm Roland Berger. “The men’s market, however, is currently developing much more dynamically than the women’s.”

 

Sales of men's fashion clothing are increasing. Source: Bloomberg
Sales of men's fashion clothing are increasing. Source: Bloomberg
Sales of men’s fashion clothing are increasing. Source: Bloomberg

 

A number of companies in Germany hope to benefit from this development.

Jürgen Geßler, who is in charge of the Porsche Design Group, told Handelsblatt he aims “to at least double by 2018” sales of the men’s label from the current €128 million. He also sees potential for further growth in the company’s own stores, with plans to have 60 worldwide by 2020.

Luxury companies such as Escada from Aschheim near Munich are also interested in male customers. Bruno Sälzer, the company’s chief executive officer, has said publicly that a men’s collection “would fit in quite well” but must be loud to compete in the market.

Some experts question whether German men are willing to spend more on fashion. Scilla Huang Sun, a luxury expert at the bank Julius Bär, has her doubts.

“Germans are ready to spend a lot of money for well-engineered cars, but not necessarily for clothing and if so, then for functional clothing,” she said.

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