Contemporary Menswear: The Insider's Guide to Independent Men's Fashion

Image of Contemporary Menswear: The Insider's Guide to Independent Men's Fashion
Release Date: 
November 12, 2014
Thames & Hudson
Reviewed by: 

If you take this book as gospel, then you might be lead astray by its contents.”

What can one say about a book that is so full of pronouncements that are based purely on opinion rather than fact? Apparently the authors of Contemporary Menswear have taken it upon themselves to rewrite history and serve as judge and jury about the present, past, and future of menswear.

This trio of authors has also decided that it is only recently that menswear has become such a recognized and creative part of the global fashion business which would have held a lot o more weight if it was in fact true.  

On the plus side, the authors have assembled a large selection of brands, blogs, and the like both well known and totally unknown to even more readers and followers of men’s fashion. The list is impressive, but it is the overstated importance of so many of the entrants that detracts from the authors’ case for the inclusion on the list.

The press release for this title claims that the authors “cut through all the PR gloss” that surrounds so many brands in today’s world of fashion, yet the authors spend considerable time and effort offering their own spin on so many brands and subjects as the means of justification for being included in their so called most influential list. Someone clearly needed to resolve whether this book is an analytical and factual accounting or an opinion based hypothesis or objective accounting of the authors’ observations and opinions.

Unfortunately, books of this nature are often billed as one thing and deliver quite another. Suffice it to say there has been extensive research done on the subject, but it is the verbiage that presents the problems as the words are far too emphatic and seemingly factual and yet there is nothing to back it all up other than opinion. What might have been far more convincing would have been presenting all of these brands etc. in a much more informative and educational manner without all the editorializing and bias.

So often authors who write in this genre take license in stating things that they perceive as truth when in fact it is strictly only their opinion. Let it be known that this is fine if the situation is presented as such and not presented as some sort of empirical study that justifies their findings.

As a point of information, the reader might take into account that fashion, while being a global affair, is not always as internationally inclusive as it seems. Whether in menswear or womenswear, the spheres of fashion are flooded with huge amounts of brands and contiguous outgrowth that many never get the recognition they deserve or warrant—which brings us back to opinion vs. fact.

If you are searching for a broad view of men’s fashion and can dismiss opinion from fact, then this is a book that will benefit your vision of fashion. If you take this book as gospel, then you might be lead astray by its contents.