June 14 - No longer the perennial poor relation of women's high fashion, menswear is staking a larger claim on the lucrative fashion stage as London hosts its first fashion weekend for men and online startup firm StylePilot aims to take the pain out of deciding what men should wear. Hayley Platt reports.
Sport, fast cars and beer maybe - but stereotypically men and fashion isn't a marriage made in heaven. The internet has helped changed that and a new fashion website is making it easier for the sartorially challenged male to make a decision. Jim Cruickshank set-up the fashion website StylePilot last October - his brand director is Jon Barrett. The site is for men only - it trawls thousands of retailers, finding clothes to suit the shoppers taste. SOUNDBITE: Jim Cruickshank, founder, StylePilot, saying (English): "It's a kind of an automated stylist if you like, so a guy would be able to come onto StylePilot, set his body type, his height, his colouring and then immediately get some personal free personal recommendations, so shirts, trousers and coats that suit his profile." SOUNDBITE: Jon Bennett, brand director at StylePilot, saying (English): "I think what's really important is that menswear now has a voice in the industry. It's come from four or five years of being behind ladies wear. What's really clear now is that guys are comfortable in dressing and improving their style." Globally the industry is now worth an estimated $50 billion dollars and its growing. London is hosting its first dedicated fashion weekend for men. That - says online fashion guru Sarah Bush - is because men now spend more time trying to look good. SOUNDBITE: Sarah Bush, Shopstyle, online fashion aggregator, saying (English): "In China 80 percent of millionaires are under 45 which is the complete opposite to the U.S. and Japan so I think lots of new money there, a young male audience who are looking for fashion but here at home I think it's also about tougher times and people wanting to look sharp at work, wanting to present healthy strong fit image." Men's luxury wear is growing at around 14 percent a year, nearly double that of women's fashion and top designers are keen to expand overseas. In China where just a few decades ago the Mao jacket was the only option, affluent men are snapping up designer suits, shoes and accessories. But for those who still prefer armchair shopping to traipsing round the shops, StylePilot has more than 100,000 items online. And Jon and Jim are on the look out for more. Hayley Platt, Reuters