Karen Alberg Grossman
by Karen Alberg Grossman

Portrait of Karen for MR Magazine

This issue of MR, with its focus on the contemporary/denim markets and European runway fashion, is a reminder of the importance or staying fresh: merchandise mix, store design, special events, marketing concepts, all aspects of our business must be reassessed frequently as today more than ever, ideas age virtually overnight. Already, or so it’s been said, bloggers/influencers, pop-up shops, tight pants, shrunken suits, celebrity ambassadors and other recent industry innovations are starting to feel tired.

But fortunately for menswear merchants, the streetwear trend that’s been so popular for the past few seasons is now penetrating beyond contemporary to inspire both mainstream and luxury markets. That’s not to say that luxury merchants should run out and fill their stores with voluminous pants or bold graphic tops and matching bottoms but clearly, streetwear (e.g. sneakers!) is bringing new energy to menswear and sophisticated elements of the look can add much-needed excitement across the board.

As for the denim market, it might seem relatively quiet in terms of fashion innovation but think about it: so many of the lighter-weight stretch fabrics we now wear year-round did not even exist a few years back. Nor did the sustainability efforts that much of the industry has embraced with enthusiasm. I strongly believe that if guys knew they could buy lightweight, perfect-fitting jeans that are sexy, comfortable and eco-friendly, they’d run out and grab an extra pair or two. So why aren’t more retailers shouting about these important advances in their marketing and promotional outreach?

But as much as magazine editors love to give advice, it’s often hard for us to follow our own. So I must admit that when it comes to MR magazine, any change that was not part of our original vision has been difficult for me to implement. Fortunately, as part of Wainscot Media, MR now welcomes Shae Marcus as our new publisher. We’ve just begun to work together but already I can see that her energy, enthusiasm and passion for the menswear market is generating great ideas and inspiring our entire team. We’re truly excited about our new vision that you will soon see come to life both online and in the pages of our print magazine in issues to come.

Finally, a retirement message to my colleague and great friend Stu Nifoussi, MR’s publisher for the past three decades: It isn’t just your selling expertise, knowledge of the menswear industry, genuine love for its people and creative ideas that have sustained MR magazine for so many years. Rather, it’s your generosity of spirit, your willingness to share what you know with industry colleagues so that they too can benefit from your wisdom and experience. Along with everyone in the menswear industry who knows you, I wish you tremendous happiness and fulfillment in the years to come.