Today Mansur Gavriel has shared some “big news.” The minimalist brand best known for its leather goods announced its first men’s accessories collection and ready-to-wear line, that latter of which will launch at the September see-now buy-now show. This all sounds really exciting. But after seeing the collection, this actually isn’t a huge deal.
Here’s why: Essentially, Mansur Gavriel took a uniform line marketed to women, changed a few details, and repackaged it as a separate collection made for men. The label didn’t even need to reverse-engineer the classic “pink it and shrink it” tactic, since, well, the stuff is more or less the same-same anyway. Sticking so rigidly to its templated design language, the brand relied on the premise of something new to keep itself relevant, rather than actually delivering on it. As fans of the brand, we were hoping that an announcement like this would mean we had something novel to covet.
But what really gets my goat is how they’ve been marketed. What does it say that these styles—which share so much with their “feminine” progenitors—use the most basic gendered stereotypes to signal to men that these items are for them. Take, for example, the “Technical” backpack, which is the one we all know with the addition of a pocket, or the fact that a briefcase shows up now that the boys can have something of their own. This dog whistle of masculinity feels cheap and tone deaf.
To demonstrate how little the line has evolved with the addition of these items for men, here’s a side-by-side look at old versus ostensibly new.