Karen Alberg Grossman
by Karen Alberg Grossman

It’s February and in honor of Valentine’s Day, I want to talk a bit about why, after almost 30 years of writing about menswear, I (like most of you) remain madly in love with this industry. First of all, there’s the excitement of new fashion offerings each season, and the thrill of victory when a look you’ve endorsed rings the cash register. Then there’s the joy of travel—new experiences, new friendships—and the pleasure of renewing old friendships at trade shows and conferences. There’s the challenge of learning new skills—be it technology or creative marketing —and the opportunities that arise from change, even disruptive change. And of course, there’s the amazing ability of menswear execs to turn fear and uncertainty into determination and drive, while somehow having fun in the process.

In this information-packed issue of MR, we offer numerous features to help you navigate today’s precarious retail terrain. First, meet our new Advisory Board and read what each member has to say about current challenges and opportunities (page 10). Then find out what retailers and vendors suggest to improve the frustrations of shopping trade shows (page 52). Read Nancy Prentice’s fascinating analysis of influencer marketing (page 38): is it the future of customer engagement or a propaganda-fueled bubble? And don’t miss Laurie Schechter’s close-up look at social commerce (page 48) and how to maximize your investment in the various marketing/selling platforms. (Did you know that men now spend 28 percent more online than women do?)

Also, in this issue are John Jones’ in-depth look at the flourishing outerwear business (page 42) with tips to increase profits in this category plus an MR survey and Christopher’s Blomquist’s analysis of contemporary sportswear and why the logo revival might not be the panacea

it’s made out to be (page 32). Just back from Pitti Uomo and Milan, MR’s fashion director Stephen Garner writes about designers now bullish on tailored clothing, albeit worn in modern ways (page 50). (What’s up with those tailored jackets shown with loose pants and thick-soled fluorescent sneakers? And are men really ready for Houdini-inspired leg straps?)

Also, in this issue, industry guru David Katz shares his top 10 business predictions for 2019, and MR profiles two inspiring stores (one multi-brand in Boulder, one vertical on Madison Avenue) with opposite approaches and interesting ideas to absorb.

Wishing all of our readers a successful fall ’19 buying season, whether you’re shopping in Paris, London, Milan, NYC, Charlotte, Dallas, Chicago or Las Vegas. Remember to keep on discovering, keep on innovating and keep on having fun!