Heritage Men’s Fashion Brands Try to Revamp Themselves, Fail to Convince

Ermenegildo Zegna Couture Show Milan. Ermenegildo Zegna Couture Show Milan. Photo courtesy of Zegna.

The increased competition means even quieter, more traditional sartorial brands have to try to grab attention. Brioni, Zegna, and Canali have upgraded from static presentations to full runway shows during the men’s fashion weeks in Milan, held every January and June.

Dunhill Fall 2015.
Another plaid. Dunhill Fall 2015.

In some cases, the brands have been showing eye-catching new sides of themselves. Canali’s Milan show featured horizontal-striped suits, pants with oversize cuffs, formalwear in nontraditional colors such as crimson, and two coats in bright yellow, a nod to one of Canali’s signature colors.

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While it sounds very positive that these heritage brands like Canali or Ermenigldo Zegna known for their traditional routes are trying to pass themselves over as young, hip, and cool brands, the presentations didn’t look very convincing. The showcases ended up looking try-hard. 

Canali Men's Fall 2015 Milan
Canali Men’s Fall 2015 Milan

Their heritage, undoubtedly, is like a double-edge sword. These brands are respected because they have the legacy but a legacy that is, nonetheless, very narrow to expand. If the solution to a rejuvenation is just as easy as adding vibrant colour or sending out a black leather bomber jacket, there isn’t a need for a plastic surgeon.

The brands need to dissect, focus on a few key DNA items of the brands, and explore new exhilarating silhouettes.