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Out of Fashion: How Men Could Fall off the Catwalk | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A model presents a creation as part of the Giorgio Armani Fall/Winter 2010/11 Men’s collection during Milan Fashion Week in Italy January 19, 2010. REUTERS/Alessandro Garofalo/File Photo

Menswear shows are being gradually airbrushed from the fashion industry’s calendar and combined into the women’s events, mostly as an accessory.

For instance 10 designers have decided not to showcase their collections this year in Milan, in shows that began on Friday for men’s fashion week, including Calvin Klein, Ermenegildo Zegna and Kering’s Brioni and Bottega Veneta.

Other brands, including Burberry, Gucci and Tom Ford, have announced in recent months that they plan to stage combined events in future, to take advantage of time by displaying both collections to buyers and customers.

However some industry insiders and analysts say separate men’s fashion shows cost thousands of dollars by the time they are not worthy of the money for luxury brands, especially that menswear make less money than womenswear, despite the hit by the global sales slowdown.

“They (brands) are focusing on what has the highest return on investment,” said Bernstein analyst Mario Ortelli.

On the other hands, celebrities such as George Clooney and Beyonce are usually front rows of women’s shows draw attracting crowds of news photographers and broadcasters while men’s catwalk don’t turn as many heads with their low-key guest lists.

In the market, annual designer menswear sales are expected to reach more than $40 billion in 2020, up 6.8 percent from 2015, according to Euromonitor International, while womenswear sales are expected to rise 7.7 percent to about $75 billion in the same period.

Threats on male models rushed four months ago when both Burberry and Tom Ford said they would hold combined shows. Italian luxury brand Gucci followed suit in April, announcing it would merge its collections and shows starting next year.

“Although menswear has acquired more of a standing over the years, the women’s shows are still the most important … with many more brands focusing on women,” said Vick Mihaci, President of Elite Management, a leading model agency.