Men’s fashion: the new influencers

At Dolce & Gabbana’s FW17–18 runway show, some of the most famous influencers of the moment graced the catwalk, headed up by the likes of Luka Sabbat, Lucky Blue Smith, and Presley Gerber. These young men have become a new type of idol for brands seeking to catch the attention of their thousands of followers. Here we focus on the profiles to keep a very close eye on.

According to Michael Jais, CEO of Launchmetrics, ‘influencers are becoming ever more important in the worlds of fashion, luxury, and beauty. Brands are telling us that they’ll invest 70% more next year — and probably double that — in influencers and social media’.

The latest study published by Launchmetrics reveals that 82% of brands surveyed (a sample size of 600, made up of fashion, beauty, and luxury professionals) pay the influencers they work with. So we’re talking about a real communication budget devoted to influencers. And yet the Launchmetrics study highlights the still-low return on investment: only 0.016% of brands’ fans and followers on social media crop up in client files. So we’re talking about a long-term investment.

Among male influencers, it’s not all about fashion or beauty, as with their female counterparts. Rather, they’re promoting a real lifestyle, garnering interest from watch, car, and new technology brands.

THE AESTHETES

Fans of well-cut suits, beautiful cars, and fine wines, these ‘aesthetes’, with their very classical — or even in some cases traditional — looks are exploding all over social media.

In France, the four most popular male influencers got together in June 2016 to create « Les Ringards » (‘The Uncool Guys’). By bringing together their profiles and fans, Romain Costa, Nicolas Simoes, Raphaël Simacourbe, and Nicolas Plamondon offer brands a ‘gang of mates’ image, with a very French vibe.

They pose in the streets of Paris, or luxury hotels, wearing suits or more casual outfits. Strength in numbers, while each of the men retains their own identity. Elegant and refined, they are masters of their own image and pros at product placement, hashtagging brands in the blink of an eye.

Les Ringards

This Stuttgart native and fashion obsessive, who arrived in New York and discovered fashion in the city, as well as photography and streetstyle. Since then, Marcel Floruss has created his own blog, One Dapper Street, where he posts his looks, top picks, travels, and inspirations. His photos are slick, his suits perfectly tailored, and his words carefully crafted. This young German blogger has collaborated with the likes of GQ and the Huff Post, and has already caught the eye of Barneys.

One Dapper Street

Meanwhile actor and blogger Nik Wang (30k followers), from Beijing, has managed to make his sophisticated, elegant presence felt in the Middle Kingdom. His Ralph Lauren-style looks are shot in the streets of Shanghai, Wang’s adopted home, as well as in France, Spain, Sweden, and more. His fascination for Europe comes across as much through his clothes as on his Instagram feed, which is interspersed with foodie close-ups. Wang is an aesthete whose look is Parisian dandy with an Asian twist.

Nik Wang

THE CREATIVES

Artists, artistic directors, photographers and stylists… their style and their world provide inspiration for brands.

Long hair, workwear boiler suits, and rolled-up sleeves: British blogger Karlmond Tang’s look is both casual and arty. Passionate about fashion and photography, Mr Boy (the name of his first blog) garnered attention thanks to his on-point selection. He posts less often than other influencers, as Tang opts for quality over quantity.

He’s recently been turning his hand to photo styling, and offers fashion editorials and interviews with creatives on his new site, Karlmond, which is more pared-back and grown-up. Gap, Urban Outfitters, and Harrods have already worked with him.

Karlmond Tang

Quite distant from Karlmond Tang’s pared-back look, Patrick Mason (illustrator, model, and stylist for his own Maison Mason brand) garnered attention thanks to his avant-garde aesthetic that blends street, art, and luxury. Bright colors, XXL accessories, hip hop influences, and a shaved head… This inspired Berliner wears Gosha Rubchinskiy, Balenciaga, Acne Studio, KTZ, and Maison Margiela.

The most happening brands have definitely spotted Mason, and are trying to place their products in his feeds. Highsnobiety.com often has him model for their fashion shoots. And his own brand, Maison Mason, already created a buzz at Berlin Alternative Fashion Week.

Patrick Mason

Founder of twice-yearly magazine Cakeboy, on queer arts and culture, Sean Santiago writes, takes photos, and works with big brands like Chanel, H & M, and Jonathan Adler. His photography work is showcased on his site Sean Santiago and his 78k Instagram followers can keep tabs on his looks, travels, food discoveries, and exhibitions.

Sean Santiago

THE FANS OF STREET & SPORTS CULTURE

Some influencers have managed to stand out from the crowd with a more relaxed, even sporty vibe. Blending streetwear and sports culture, these instagrammers and bloggers are drawing interest from big fashion houses and more casual brands alike.

When Travis Gumbs and Joshua Kissi launched Street Etiquette in 2008, they not only became an alternative to famous blog The Sartorialist, but also the figure-heads of a new ‘black dandyism’.

Stylists, models, editors, and artistic directors — both men have since developed Street Etiquette into a real creative and branding agency, working with such famous brands as Adidas. Their influences still come from streetwear and sports culture, re-worked with elegance and class. Their Instagram is closely watched by 220k followers.

Street Etiquette

Now we head to Japan with Kubo, an influencer/surfer/stylist/blogger and talent spotter. He is the creator of the GR8 store (a temple to street culture in Tokyo), style consultant for the Wild Style agency (LA), and an instagrammer with 16.8k followers. Kubo makes street culture a real way of life.The art of clothing comes first, as evidenced by his toned-down looks and eclectic aesthetic at Milan Fashion Week.

What he offers is an entire lifestyle, peppered with surf sessions, nights out with friends, visits to artists’ studios and exhibitions, and shopping finds in Tokyo and LA.

KUBO

There are no age limits on fashion, sports, and streetwear. This is proven by Leo Mandella, aged 14, whose look and personality are already firmly established. A real Instagram star, Gullyguyleo has attracted 71k followers in barely a year. This young Brit from Warwickshire posts almost nothing but his outfits, which are heavily influenced by 90’s sports brands and skate culture. Supreme, Bape, Adidas… brands are all over him.

Leo Mandella
Leo Mandella