Summer 2023 will see men’s clothing adapt to suit the global push towards a sustainable planet. Fashion is moving away from synthetic fibers in favor of natural and organic ones, which are much kinder to the earth and its inhabitants.
Design is also inspired by this movement, creating loose and lightly coloured collections that capture a calming vibe. This capsule design collection is comfortable without being overtly casual and will suit a wide range of men’s styles.
Can menswear be desirable and sustainable in SS/23?
Men’s spending habits are evolving and like women, they are spending more than ever before online. These changes create an avenue for more menswear sales especially through e-commerce and according to some studies, they are actually more inclined to buy clothing online than women.
Eco-conscious spending is also taking a turn. In recent years there has been more negativity towards the use of synthetic fabrics due to their fabrication with fossil fuels, which have a negative impact on the environment.
With the push from Gen Z encouraging companies to take a more eco-conscious approach to their product manufacturing, it has meant that buying eco-items has become easier, so, spending in this field is increasing.
Believe it or not, men are buying more sustainably in some areas than women. There is often a preconception that women are more eco-conscious, but according to some studies, it appears it is men that make more conscious choices when it comes to clothing. So, if you’re wondering if menswear can be desirable and sustainable, then in short, yes!
5 key capsule pieces considering fabric, color, and design
To create an organic menswear capsule for 2023, it’s essential to encompass simple designs, with loose-fitting fabrics and a calming vibe through the use of a muted color palette.
Other aspects include the avoidance of synthetic materials, even down to fastenings (such as buttons/zips), in order to focus on natural/organic fabrics such as cotton, bamboo, linen, and wool that are colored using natural/non-toxic dyes.
Equally, these free-flowing designs (some of which are found below) will be free of certain gender constraints, although aimed at the male consumer.
The box tee is a staple in the collection and can be incorporated into several outfits. It features dropped shoulders and has unusually longer sleeves that sit just above the elbow.
A jersey weave will give stretch to the fabric as it shouldn’t contain any elastane. Ideal fabrics include GOTS-certified organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, and nettle; although if using hemp and nettle, they should be possibly blended with softer yarns so as to maintain the traditional feel of a T-shirt.
When considering color, the use of natural dyes is the way to stay sustainable. Unbleached cotton and botanical dyes are the most eco-friendly. Unlike traditional dyes, they are naturally muted and soft in appearance. Moss, muted denim, dull peach, and taupe fit with the calming and simplistic style of this collection.
Once again, these should be dyed with botanical dyes or remain unbleached, giving off earthy tones. Colors include beige/cream, soft blues, mellow mustard, browns, and simple teal.
They can be woven in block colors or in subtle stripes. Different widths can be used to create varying designs. The knit is big but the fabrics are soft and light, so it can be incorporated into a year-round look.
Layering the sweater with the box tee will complement this look. The sweater can be worn alone for a lighter look.
The advantage of including a sweater in the capsule, means that you can reach more consumers who prefer to keep warm throughout the year or those who want an item that is less formal than a jacket.
The tunic is an often overlooked addition to a menswear capsule. It has recently seen a comeback in popularity and normally carried with it some hippy vibes. However, in the organic capsule it will take on a simple design, with muted colors and be free from detailed embroidery.
Being careful to steer clear of cultural appropriation with this look by sticking with the design concepts mentioned shouldn’t be a problem.
The tunic features long sleeves with some varieties containing simple collarless features and others with a collar that work well with the addition of having an opening all the way down, making them look like a long shirt.
It can be layered and worn open as a jacket, as well as be buttoned up to look more like a traditional tunic. Beyond this simple design, it has a gender-neutral approach adding to its versatility and wearability.
Linen fabric is lightweight and although it creases, it works well with this look. Alternatives are similar to the box tee and sweater and are made from organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo. Colors once again are subtle, but can also be striped (with muted and similar tones).
If wanting to create a contrast, do this with the use of distinctive buttons, for example, unbleached linen would work well with dark brown wooden buttons.
The drawstring aspect isn’t just a design feature for holding pants in place, it avoids the use of a zipper, which is neither biodegradable nor elastic and is not sustainable.
The trousers should be loose, but if cut correctly could have the versatility to be smart and more can be created by tapering the leg width. The ideal fabric would be organic cotton, as it will be more stable than linen, however, hemp and bamboo could also be considered.
The drawstring trouser is also a multipurpose item. It can be made smart when worn with the aforementioned shirt-style tunics or suitable for cooler weather if worn alongside the open-weave sweater, and it can also be made to look casual when accompanied by the box tee.
Colors are soft and dyed with non-toxic dyes. Good combinations include, brown in light bark tones, khaki, taupe, and ochre.
Utilitarian style matching set
When it comes to utility wear, it’s all about the cut and detail. Using straight and simple cuts with perfectly positioned pockets (although minimal) will be a way to devise this style. Things to watch out for and avoid are colors like traditional khaki green — seeming to have stepped straight out of an army camp, and tapered legs.
A wide leg and wide-ankle cut will give the desired look, and paired with a shirt-style jacket, will finish off this set.
The set should be one color and can be slightly deeper versions of the muted blues, taupes and browns. This will ensure that it has wear longevity and doesn’t show up stains as it can be worn over several days — this increases the sustainable aspects of the set.
Although not classically a suit, it can still be worn as such but will give off a much more functional feel. It is made in light but sturdy fabrics like undyed organic cotton denim, canvas, and hemp.
If considering linen, it would need to be a thicker weave, ensuring the set’s stability. Equally, this set should avoid zippers and any other metal fastenings. The drawstring or button should be used to hold up the trousers, and buttons can be used in the same way on the jacket, allowing this set to maintain its strong eco-friendly aesthetics.
Whom to target
A wholesaler looking to create a capsule menswear collection that seeks to be organic, simple in design, and sustainable should be aimed at independent menswear stores that have a focus on ethically made products. Other audiences include eco-boutiques and online retailers specializing in sustainable fashion.
How this design capsule is perfect for the eco-conscious man
Men who want to buy and dress sustainably will be on the lookout for the perfect eco-conscious clothing collection. The styling of the capsule encompasses the calming vibe you get from being at one with your surroundings.
Its strong ethical concept means that it will appeal to men who want their fashion choices to have a minimal impact on the environment.
These men will shop in eco-stores, look for ethical fashion suppliers, and won’t mind paying the price for products that are made well and eco-consciously.
It will be for the retailer or small business to ensure they select the right key pieces to make this collection stand out to this target consumer.