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DETERMINANT: A Tale of Body Positivity in Menswear

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Representing almost 30% retail value share of apparel in Hong Kong, local menswear is experiencing steady growth in 2023 and is projected to rise by a value CAGR of 8.8% over the forecast period, driven by the growing fashion-consciousness of male consumers in the country. Like their female counterparts, male consumers are increasingly influenced by social media and are investing in their looks and the image they want to project to the world.

Source: Euromonitor International Passport Database, Apparel and Footwear 2023 Edition

Future menswear opportunities in Hong Kong

Male consumers in Hong Kong are becoming increasingly fashion-conscious and seek diverse options to express their personal style, thereby driving the future growth of menswear. With greater time spent at home and more casual dress codes, male consumers are prioritising comfort and fit for apparel items. While some corporations have relaxed their office dress codes since the pandemic, in Hong Kong, there are still major businesses, including financial institutions, that largely expect their employees to adhere to more formal office attire. Therefore, there is a growing need for office wear that is comfortable and fitted for individual body shapes among male office workers.

Comfortable, value for money, high quality, durable, and perfect fit are the top five most influential product features in purchases for apparel and personal accessories

Source: Euromonitor International’s Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey 2023

Influential Product featuresHowever, for professionals in Hong Kong, it is not easy to find perfectly fitted office wear. For office wear such as shirts, consumers usually have different preferences in terms of collar width or fit. Affordable apparel brands are usually made for all, and lack personalisation. Therefore, consumers must visit tailors or bespoke shops for personalised consultations if they want to find office wear that fits their requirements, but these locations tend to be more expensive.

DETERMINANT’s success in Hong Kong highlights the opportunity in inclusive menswear collections

Identifying demand, an increasing number of apparel brands in Hong Kong are trying to balance both comfort and fit. DETERMINANT, a Hong Kong menswear brand, has responded to the evolving demand from male consumers, and successfully capitalised on growing menswear sales in recent years. Initially launching online, DETERMINANT opened its first offline pop-up in Hysan Place in 2022, and later expanded its offline retail footprint to nine stores in key commercial districts over the past year to capture the return of tourists.

The successful expansion of DETERMINANT is its ability to fill the gap in local menswear. Addressing the “back to office” trend, DETERMINANT leveraged its extensive apparel supply chain capability, supported by its parent company Esquel Group, to launch THE61S product capsule collection in 2022. Believing that “everybody deserves a well-fitted, comfortable shirt”, the collection was developed through extensive research and body size data analysis, to offer 61 sizing options based on collar wide, sleeve length, and slim/regular fit. With a more precise selection of the three measuring dimensions, DETERMINANT’s customers are able to find a better fit in shirts based on their preferences within an affordable price range of between HKD350 and HKD600. The success of DETERMINANT’s retail expansion is greatly attributed to not only the brand’s thorough understanding of local consumer demand, but also its supply chain capability. To ensure adequate stock levels for each outlet, DETERMINANT requires a lean supply chain and logistics model to fill inventory requirements.

Inclusive sizing in menswear shows untapped opportunities in the rest of APAC

Underlined by the success of THE61S collection, there is growing opportunity for inclusive menswear. However, the definition of inclusive sizing can vary market by market. It is important for apparel brand owners to have a profound understanding of product features behind “inclusive sizing” that consumers are looking for. The origin of plus sizing from Europe and North America is driven by relatively high obesity rates. However, the obesity rate is lower in APAC markets due to consumers’ eating habits and lifestyles. For Asian consumers, embracing comfort with fit is another form of size inclusivity.

Chart showing influntial product features

Source: Euromonitor International Voice of the Consumer: Lifestyles Survey 2023 Edition

The research data from Euromonitor International’s Voice of Consumer: Lifestyles Survey has indicated that, compared with China, one of the region’s largest populations and similar culture, and Japan, one of the most fashionable markets, consumers in Hong Kong place a stronger emphasis on “comfortable” and “perfect fit” for apparel and personal accessories purchases in 2023. The importance of these two attributes continues to grow.Chart showing Apparel and Personal Accessories - % of Respondents selected "Comfortable" and "Perfect Fit" By Gender 2023

It is also noticeable that compared with female consumers, male consumers in Hong Kong have a stronger preference for these two product attributes. 

Therefore, as consumers increasingly search for a better fit of outfit, there will be a growing focus on size fit and comfort for apparel players in Asia. For example, giant apparel retailer Uniqlo and sportswear specialist lululemon are also offering in-store size tailoring services to fulfil the customisation demand. Consumers in every market have different requirements in terms of fit and inclusive size. As the attention of inclusive sizing continues to rise in APAC markets, brands need to have a better understanding of size inclusivity for product innovation and marketing strategy to resonate with the new demands of male consumers.

To learn more about the importance of size inclusivity, and how fashion players are rethinking their environmental and social strategies, read our briefing titled Sustainability in Luxury and Fashion: Time for Action, published in November 2023. 

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