Looking at today’s circumstances regarding the local menswear fashion industry, the quantity is rapidly increasing at an unprecedented rate. However, based on our personal observations, the rapid rate is not quite in line with the evolution of local menswear. Some brands are constantly keeping up with the tougher competition by gradually trying to step up their games with fresh concepts and more matured approaches. These include several of the original players, established and highly recognizeable Indonesian brands, which can be acknowledged as the early kickstarters on the industry. We gather and compile their opinions to discover their takes on the growing Indonesian menswear scene.
Since I founded LOCALE in 2012, I notice the development of male customers. Today’s male customers like shopping and brand oriented. Despite the decline of retails and Rupiah’s rapid depreciation towards US Dollars, I still see growth in many menswear brands of different genres. One issue to be discussed is definitely sustainability, there are a lot of local menswear brands now, but why there are many brands which can’t sustain their existences? I constantly speculate about their lack of hope for the industry and instant mindsets, but even now I still look for the answers. Nonetheless, today’s circumstance is the exact momentum to radically increase the promotion of Indonesian brands and menswear brands need to compete fairly and support each other for a stronger industry.
As far as I am concerned, there is a slight decline in the industry as brands are unavoidably follow the current trend of streetwear. Creatively, it can be considered as an problem, but when you see it through the business perspective, we did what we have to do in order to survive. If you want to survive, you must follow the trend.
A common misconception about menswear is it is oftenly associated with a particular style (dapper or masculine), where actually it is a broader term of ‘clothing for men’. There are a lot of styles choices on today’s saturated Indonesia’s menswear scene. A lot of brands offer diverse characters and styles, hence customers can choose from the wide variety of brands and they can represent themselves well. Many customers dare to fuse various contrasting styles to discover their signature styles. For example a combination of tailored clothing and street slouchy style. There is no boundary to explore different styles and dressing up.
Local menswear scene is thriving and getting diverse. More and more brands are pushing their own identities through their unique and distinct aesthetics. More genres can be chosen from local menswear brands compared to a couple of years ago, where practically everything started based on denim and workwear. Now we can see workwear and streetwear brands going side by side, outdoor-inspired brands pushing it to a more technical approaches, while traditional process-powered brand mixing old process with new style and genres, and we can say that most are gearing towards urban-outdoor adventure and functionality. I think now it the perfect time for menswear brands to flourish and pushing it to the next level.
For me, Indonesia’s menswear industry is growing, where there will be more thorough fashion statements as people from different communities dare to show their characters, passion, and culture through personal styles. These dynamics are affecting our fashion senses and these diversity will start cross-culture collaborations among brands and create a larger opportunity to break into the market. Big brand names wouldn’t be the main factor to buy clothes anymore, because people will buy clothings that represent their personalities.
Today’s local menswear brands are divided into several segments such as casual basic, streetwear, workwear, and tactical. AYE puts itself in between these segmentations as we create everyday wear with consistent yet different concepts on each product. All in all, concept and idealism respectively are two of the most crucial aspects of a brand, which can’t be meddled with. Fashion is constantly evolving and every Indonesian brand needs to have strategies to face the unpredicted changes, while preserving their initial concept and ideal values.
Based on my 17 years experience at the local garment industry, mens department is growing and the local menswear scene is a land full of promises and opportunities, particularly for streetwear with the rise of sneaker culture over the last few years. Many males take good cares of their looks now and fashion has become an inseparable lifestyle to them, even bikers are now pay good attention to their looks. The girls like to look good and fresh on social media, so the guys have to keep up with them. However, a side note is fashion is evolving super quickly, so in order to keep relevant, brands not only need to improve the quality, but also the designs. Responsiveness to the ever-changing market and collaborations are the two weapons to survive in the harsh competition.
Compared to the neighbouring countries of Singapore and Malaysia, I am confidently say that our menswear industry is leading the path. Even in Asia Pacific, as Japan and South Korea start to pay more attention to our fashion. Many local brands of different genres (workwear, streetwear, and technical) offer their authentic characters and identities and a good portion of them managed to be recognized globally and broke into the global market.
Today is the era of radical changes. The world moves very fast today based on the development of social media and all kind of Internet of Things. Back then, people didn’t know what’s going on somewhere at every moment, not like today. We see thousands of new products everyday, we absorb many information without any real physical attachment to the products. Things can’t remain cool for long time now, but there are always room for quality designs and quality products. Disruption is important today, but quality is always the key.