Under the radar – ASOS menswear

It’s no secret that ASOS.com is going from strength to strength – half-year profits are up 68%! In the early days, ASOS’s USP was based on copying celebrity outfits stitch for stitch. ASOS – which stands for As Seen On Screen – would turn around a copy of a ‘Paris Hilton-style’ jacket or dress faster than any high street store, resulting in phenomenal sales and repeat starry-eyed customers who couldn’t get enough of its affordable take on celebrity style. These days, the brand has distanced itself from its copycat beginnings and now sets its own trends. At the SS09 press day I attended a couple of weeks ago, I did a double take at the Cacharel blouses (anyone else still in shock that Eley Kishimoto only last a couple of seasons at the helm? Travesty!), denim of every description and nostalgic florals.

But while we’re all familiar with Asos’s sassy cocktail frocks and statement shoes, the menswear offering has been quietly picking up speed. A preppie Brooks Brothers look prevails for next spring with natty seersucker checks and suede boat shoes of every hue. Then I gasped at the brands – Band of Outsiders for Sperry rubber boat shoes (quirky!), YMC two-tone loafers and a flurry of new labels – Acne Jeans, Comme des Garcons Shirt…

The ASOS mens magazine is also a bit of a who-knew discovery. Not sold in the shops, this gets sent out to customers and the quality of the book (as they like to say Stateside) is pretty damn good considering the tight constraints these things are usually executed under.