New York recently wrapped its second ever standalone fashion week dedicated solely to showcasing American menswear. This sophomore season delivered some incredible talent and fresh faces breathing new life into the growing menswear market, including some unexpected menswear style influencers: women. Women writing about menswear is not new. However, menswear influencers like Sara Geffrard of "A Dapper Chick" and Danielle Cooper of "She's A Gent," together known as "DapHer Gents," are not your typical hyper-feminine fashion bloggers running today's trendy "How to dress your boyfriend" -esque sites. They actually wear the type of clothing being shown on menswear runways. They, as well as their over 60K followers on Instagram alone, are the menswear consumers. Moreover, according to legendary New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham, they are wearing "menswear" as good as, if not better than, the boys.
Here's just a tiny glimpse of Sara and Danielle's experience at New York Fashion Week: Men's (NYFWM):
DapHer Gent's audience is not just a niche market. (Even South by Southwest is hosting its first ever queer style panel this year at Sxstyle, a three-day event during SxSW Interactive that some consider to have as much importance in the industry as NYFW.) So, I asked Sara and Danielle, as the burgeoning tastemakers in menswear, to give us their take on NYFWM.
What was your favorite NYFWM16 show?
Danielle: Carlos Campos. I was really drawn to the consistency of the color palette which included tan, white and navy. I also couldn't get enough of the minimalist collection and the textures used, especially in the overcoats.
Sara: It's a tight race between David Hart's presentation and Carlos Campos on the runway. If I must absolutely choose, then I'll go with Hart. With great patterns, the throwback feel, the instruments, and the layout, the room embodied what the 70's and 80's would've looked like if they were present now. It was a fantastic presentation and the models were very much in character.
What were your favorite trends this season and why?
Danielle: Long coats and bold colors. I love a good overcoat. They are so easy to work with and extremely versatile. I was excited to see the direction that various brands are headed with the use of outerwear. Colors are fun and I am always excited to see what new palettes will be introduced each season. Brands like Nautica stayed true to their red, white and blue; but they did introduce a new yellow outwear piece that I couldn't take my eyes off of. Then there is David Hart, who mixed bold and colorful check suits and 80's inspired polos. A perfect synergy.
Sara: The evolution of the outerwear jackets and coats. It was mind blowing seeing the different executions of one specific style, the innovative approach some of the brands were taking, and the bold pattern and color choices. They delivered!
From your perspectives as women menswear influencers, what can MFW do better to reach the untapped market of women who prefer traditional "menswear" to traditional "womenswear"?
Danielle: Menswear brands and outlets should use social channels and media as a way to crossover into new territories. Not all women in menswear follow GQ and Details. So why not let alternative platforms, such as dapperQ, be an outlet to spread the word on trends, clothing, events, etc.
Sara: There are various ways they can go about that: including androgynous models on the runway, spreading an inviting welcome on social media, and targeting key influencers in our field to help reach that audience.
What do you think about the decision to divide NYFW into two separate weeks for "menswear" and "womenswear?"
Danielle: I think that is was a great idea. Womenswear can overshadow menswear during fashion week. But the new separation allows for menswear to have its own focus, not only on the brands, but also the ordinary people and street style that you get to see on the way to shows. It's almost as if an underground community has finally emerged for the world to really see.
Sara: I think it's a brilliant move. It allows menswear enthusiasts to have an opportunity to truly showcase their work to equally invested spectators. Menswear is only just emerging at this scope, and it's great that it has its own platform now to further develop.
To find out where Sara and Danielle will be next, follow them on Instagram: @adapperchick @shesagent and @daphergents