by Anami Vakil, Moden Men’s –
It’s mid August as I write this, my notifications on my phone include “heat advisory for south coast,” and I’m hanging fleece teddy coats at the front of my store. If you don’t know what a teddy is, think of it as ill-advised attire for mid-August! But this is the way it works. Spring and summer clothes ship in January, hit the floor in February, and are picked over and on sale at the height of the season, making way for the incoming fall and winter gear. The reason for this is manyfold and rather uninteresting, having a lot to do with lead time for advertising and inventory control.
I am simplifying a bit: it’s more nuanced than four seasons crammed into two deliveries. The shipments are staggered and the seasons are divided, categorized and invented, according to the varied needs of the consumer. Big straw hats and linen sport coats sometimes appear in December in places where a lot of folks plan on taking cruises or tropical vacations in January. But regardless, you would have had trouble finding your size, in your desired shade of chino short, in my store, during the 35° weather. And, if you are the typical male consumer, you didn’t think to snap up those shorts in May because you didn’t need them just then. You would be surprised how often I hear: “I need a shirt, for a wedding, for tonight, an hour from now … .”
Think back to early October 2022 – white wine was still flowing on the patio at The Farmer’s Daughter but merino wool dominated the sales floor of most retailers. Of the many adverse effects of climate change, poorly-timed merchandise is perhaps of least importance. However, it is nonetheless sort of absurd. Am I encouraging you to consider a Nissan Leaf in order to minimize the woes of the clothing industry? Well, no. If the reason you forgo your old combustion engine is to help stabilize the arrival of “sweater weather,” that’s great. But what I’d rather you consider is a pair of swim trunks in spring.
Have a look in your closet next year around Easter. If you only have two pairs of shorts and one of them has a hole, don’t leave it until the heat dome is upon you to replace them. Get a linen short sleeve in your favourite colour early, so that you look sharp for lunch at The Chalet in late summer … and remain comfortable. Or better yet, check out your sweater situation right now. What do you need for Thanksgiving? There is nothing as classic as a merino wool sweater over a cotton button-down.
So what’s gonna give first: climate change; the fashion industry; or generally speaking, the shopping habits of men? At least one seems like an easier fix than the other two. And before you know it, you’ll be at the patch picking out pumpkins. Perhaps I could interest you in a nutmeg brown fleece teddy today?