All too often the focus in fashion falls on the raglan shoulders of womenswear, which sees a lot of sartorially conscientious guys frequently bemoaning this lack with cries of ‘What about me?‘ In order to correct this balance, and because I’ll do anything to prevent Australian men from slipping any further into more than a passing resemblance of Shannon Noll, we took five minutes to chat with Stefan Pesticcio, the menswear fashion director at the place guys are more frequently doing their shopping, ASOS, to talk shop online, wardrobe essentials for the stylish gent and why we can expect to see a whole lot of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air lookalikes now the e-tailer has launched an Oz-specific venture ‘In Your World.’
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The ASOS mainlines, and especially ASOS Black, are all about fast, directional fashion but with an emphasis on building a wardrobe of seasonal essentials. What do you think are the key pieces trend-savvy guys should look to have in their wardrobes for our Spring/Summer?
We are backing five panel caps, bomber jackets and printed shirts this season – items like jackets are coming in lighter weights, which will still translate to the Australian summer, at least as transition items.
What are five wardrobe essentials that you couldn’t live without?
Great shoes, great denim, great shirts, a great suit and a key fob and lanyard for my jeans.
We’re obviously seasonally inverse to the Northern Hemisphere and its retail patterns, but the launch of ‘In Your World’ seeks to rectify that problem. What can we expect from the ‘House Party’ menswear component?
The trend we have exclusively designed for the Australian exclusive references ’90s street, surf and skate culture – think Fresh Prince of Bel Air for the modern guy. It is very bold with colour and graphic print played across key categories of chinos, polo shirts, t-shirts, sweaters, backpacks, plimsoles and high tops and five panel caps. We launched the product through an event at Freda’s in Sydney, with a bit of a house party theme – basically just some beer and good music – where those in attendance were able to shop the collection through a scan to shop app and an interactive wall of product.
As menswear director, how much of a hand do you have in the design process? Where does it begin? Is there an ASOS man you have in mind when you’re designing?
I oversee both the design and buying departments, so the design team work to present trends for the season ahead – we work about 6 months ahead. I work with the teams to develop the trends until I am happy they are both directional, yet commercial and we work with both the design and buying department to then bring the trends to life through all product categories. The sampling process then goes through a series of sign offs, before final approval. During this process, we aren’t considering one man, we are considerate of all our global customers.
What was the first thing you ever designed?
A suede bomber jacket for River Island 22 years ago!
Where do you source design inspiration? The Internet? Tumblr?
A lot of our inspiration comes from travelling and the street, however Tumblr is definitely a brilliant source of inspiration.
How do you balance creative with commercial and quality constraints?
Without too much difficulty to be honest. Being an online store, we are not limited to floor space and as such we can stock commercial designs we know are going to sell and in contrast we host designs for the more adventurous customer.
More often than not, if I have something really important that I need to do online, I just end up shopping instead. Considering the online nature of your job, I don’t imagine that’d be too relaxing. What’s your Internet/time-killing vice?
My favourite site for killing time is the BBC. I like to know what’s happening in the world.
Obviously timing is a huge part of both Fashion and ASOS’ success. The oft-quoted “someone purchases from ASOS in Australia every six seconds” always comes to mind. What’s the turnaround time on a garment from its design to purchase?
It depends on the product and where it is sourced. It can be 9 months, it can be 2 weeks. It’s mostly somewhere in the middle!
Big quesiton, but where do you see menswear headed in the next year?
At ASOS, I would like to see it grow to become at least 30% of the business in 2013. In general I would say it is headed online. I think in the future you will see more dedicated menswear activity, and a stronger identity coming from the menswear brand.
If you could collaborate with any designer, style icon, musician, or anyone living or dead, on a capsule collection, who would you most want to work with?
A Mick Jagger tailoring colab!
Do you think the Internet, social media and the ubiquity and pace at which we consume fashion online, from e-tail to street style, has helped or hindered personal style?
Depends, I guess. It has definitely homogenised style on a global level.
Finish these sentences:
You’ll never see me wearing…
I can’t wait to…
To visit Australia. The last time was 8 years ago.
The last thing I bought online was…
Batten sweatshirt – a cool Japanese label.