The Measure of a Man

Posted on Sep 26, 2011 in Suits, Trends | 0 comments

The Measure of a Man
by Jean Palmieri, WWD
Sep. 26, 2011

Made-to-measure clothing—a close cousin to bespoke tailoring, which has been around for centuries—is suddenly on the fashion industry’s hot list. Despite global economic malaise, the category has made a quantum leap as male luxury shoppers turn from trendy indulgence to individuality and value.

In a sense, these consumers have come full circle. Until the Industrial Revolution, all suits were custom made. But by the mid-1800s, with the introduction of the ready-made suit, men began to embrace the ease and convenience of off-the-rack garments. And, for the most part, they never looked back—until now. For some of the most celebrated suit labels, the current decade appears to mark a turning point. At Ermenegildo Zegna, made-to-measure sales grew 31 percent in 2010, accounting for 9 percent of the company’s total volume, which recently passed $1 billion. Hickey Freeman’s made-to-measure business, now 20 percent of the brand’s total, is up 38 percent year to date. Even Giorgio Armani, a more fashion-driven designer brand, saw a 10 percent spike in the category during the first half of this year.

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