Boys, adolescents, men – all love clothes associated with animals. There is an obsession in brands to link men’s clothing with the wildlife. The trend starts young; boys clothing is full of dinosaurs and monkeys, as seen in household favourites such as Next. And it does not stop there, menswear on our high street and down the catwalk is just as influenced. Every man will be able to mention a few garments they own with the print of say a reindeer on a Christmas jumper or even that classic Topman abstract animal sweatshirt. You cannot escape.
What is it that makes men love the cute, the scary and the something bizarre silhouette of an animal? Recently fashion designer Adam Kimmel showed his latest collection on magician David Blaine. His concept of ‘dressing for dinner’ takes animals in men’s fashion to a whole new extreme. It sees the pair go out to sea, just off of Guadalupe, in which Blaine jumps into shark infested waters, holding his breath and lowering his heart rate, floating amongst Great Whites dressed in a tuxedo and a Cuban outfit in this epic marketing stunt.
Innovation is at the heart of fashion and this differing take on the idea of a catwalk actively entices male attention. In doing this, Kimmel is widening his male audience, appealing not only to the fashion orientated modern man, but the gender at large by switching away from the likes of a pretty Chanel catwalk.
But would this have stunt have worked if it were aimed at women? Probably not. The stereotype of men preferring the outdoors, and getting their hands dirty as opposed to women seems to be true here. If an advert like this was to work for the female audience you can forget sharks, the preference would go to house kept pets like cuddly puppies or a micro pig, which are so humanised they risk losing an ‘animal’ classification.
Therefore, it does seem to be the danger that is alluring. Has the concept of animals being wild and free to roam strike a chord with the masculine?
It is not just the design of male clothes or in these stunts you see animals, look at the logos of Lacoste (crocodile), Lyle and Scott (eagle), or Abercrombie and Fitch (moose). Some of the strongest competitors within menswear have animals at the core of their designs.
Seemingly, animals do appeal to the modern man. They stand for freedom, a universal value that is enticing, and untamed, a feeling that men thrive under in an attempt to constantly find new challenges and test themselves. It is this which men find so attractive. In the future expect more animal prints, logos and stunts like Kimmel and Blaine’s, as it is a successful tool for attracting the male gaze.