Ermenegildo Zegna, CEO of the Italian luxury men’s fashion house that bears his family’s name, declared this week that the suit is not dead, as some have suggested.

 

However, the executive said that the tie has had its day.

Speaking at the Financial Times luxury business conference (picked up by City AM), he said, «Let me be clear: the suit is not dead. But the tie is.

He noted that knitwear is the «new tie» and that demand for luxury leisurewear shows no signs of slowing.

Suit sales took a hit before the pandemic, but plummeted when confinements and working from home meant that traditional business attire was no longer needed.

Post-pandemic there has been a debate about the remaining life of the traditional suit, as companies that once focused on formal wear, such as Hugo Boss, now focus on casual wear. Many M&S stores have stopped stocking suits and they are no longer included in the UK basket of goods produced by the Consumer Price Index (CPI). However, some suit specialists have reported that sales have increased. ASOS said it sold 280 000 suits in the autumn-winter 2021/2022 season.

Interestingly, a Charles Tyrwhitt consumer survey conducted late last year found that «the timeless suit and shirt is still the best way to make a good first impression: more than 65% of men think so and almost a third feel more productive when dressed smartly.» But there is no mention of the tie.

It seems that just as people have embraced hybrid work, they have also embraced hybrid business attire, using elements other than the tie to add the finishing touch to a suit.

Zegna told FT editor Roula Khalaf that there are ways to make a suit look less formal. Pairing one with sneakers is an option that adds «color to a suit to make it more fun,» he said.

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