Sunday, 27 November 2011

Matinique: Understanding the Success of Fashion


More often than not, fashion critics and journalists tend to overlook garments and accessories usually described as practical and commercial. If the influence of high fashion and experimental designs is undoubtedly seductive in that it reveals the constructive potential of creativity, there are numerous designers and brands that ought not to be overlooked just because of their focus on the important principle that fashion is essentially about providing clothes that consumers will want to wear.

Matinique is one such brand that has been doing exactly this with great aplomb for decades. Founded by Niels Martinsen in Denmark in 1973, the brand’s vision has remained resolute and successful: to create comfortable, high-quality and fashionable clothing for men. Despite a repositioning of the brand in 2002, Matinique has remained focused on providing clear and simple choices to male consumers of fashion.


With creative and business headquarters in Copenhagen, Matinique has developed a successful model through the years that has allowed it to expand into 18 countries and being available in 850 retailers across the world. In order to try to understand the sustained success of the brand, The Style Examiner set out to look into what remains at Matinique’s core: providing clothes that men want to wear. In order to do this, we started by researching the clothes that the brand produces, a process that we expect to conduct over a series of articles. For this first instalment, we concentrated our experiment on analysing a pair of trousers, a t-shirt, and a jacket designed by Matinique.

The Ronson jeans, made of light cotton in a subtle denim shade, proved to be ideal for summer. The tailoring is conventional with a regular cut that is concerned essentially with comfortable movement. In the context of a fashion world where (mostly unflattering) skinny jeans refuse to abandon centre stage, one could not help but wonder if the Ronson jeans were the answer to the requirements by most men whose bodies do not fit into undersized trousers.


Equally evoking carefree and warm days of summer through its faded image of the California sky seen from the point of view of a street lined by palm trees, the Fillmore t-shirt in 100% cotton also came across as an essential item of clothing for men. Its basic design reminds us that, ultimately, t-shirts started being worn as outer garments precisely because of their functionality and comfort.


Of the three pieces we tried, the Aiden blazer in midnight blue was the one that stood out the most. Made of a cool cotton and ramie mix, with a discreet pin stripe, and fastening in front with two buttons, the jacket proved to be a success. Its lining, with Matinique’s signature airmail pattern for this season, revealed a hidden modish side to what came across, on a first sight, as a conventional blazer.


As we finished our initial examination of Matinique’s garments, we became convinced of the reasons for their success over nearly forty years: while keeping in mind that fashion has a practical function, Matinique addresses the needs of a vast majority of male consumers who are far from being oblivious of style in their lives.

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