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IS HORNBILLY APPAREL THE NEXT 'BIG' THING IN MENSWEAR?

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Is Hornbilly Apparel the Next Big Thing in Menswear?

One rugby player turned self-taught designer decided to stop settling for clothing that didn’t fit him and create his own line of luxury clothing. Zain Ahmad Riza, 25 from London, an avid gym-goer and no stranger to the weights, gave up on high street clothing, finding them simply not made for men of well-built proportions, such as a broader chest, shoulders and a narrow waist. Inspired by plus-sized fashion for women and working with some of London’s top manufacturers, Zain has created Hornbilly Apparel, his own line of luxury menswear specifically for the physique of a well-built gentleman, and in turn, may have created a whole new menswear market. His mission is to shake up the menswear market and become the preferred clothier of the well-built gentleman, producing beautiful, comfortable clothing without the hassle and expense of a tailor.

In today’s world, young men no longer define themselves by just their income and career. The next vital fashion accessory and status symbol is arguably a physique as impressive as the outfit. You would probably have to be living under a rock to not have noticed the undeniable boom in the fitness lifestyle of late. Take your phone and open any social media platform and you will guaranteed find a fitness-related post faster than it takes a gym rat to tell you what his 1 rep max on the bench is.

Furthermore, it should come as no surprise that the sports supplements industry in the UK alone was worth £301 million in 2014. London alone has 1.6 million registered gym members. With today’s newfound importance on leading a healthy and, for many, a bodybuilding-centric lifestyle, it only makes sense that your clothes show off your hard work in the gym because these people care about their physical appearance. The men’s fashion market was worth £12.9 billion in 2013, even growing faster than women’s wear, which was previously unheard of. Market researchers, Verdict, believe this phenomenal growth is not a fad, as they predict the market to grow from June 2014 by ‘a whopping 27.5 per cent in the five years to 2019’. Fashion experts across the board have identified that the UK modern male is now more knowledgeable than ever about fashion and the big fashion designers are responding to this. These two enormous industries are arguably intrinsically linked, as they are both predicated on the notion of looking and feeling good. Yet, where are the brands who have successfully overlapped these two phenomena for muscular men? If, however, you have the patience and the skills of a spy, you will track down a few brands on Google that have products, specifically made for muscular men. The key word however is ‘few’.

The current solution for muscular men seeking well-fitting fashionable clothing is to go to a tailor and get clothes altered or just be satisfied with looking like a walking tent or an over-stuffed sausage. Hornbilly Apparel founder Zain argues that, ‘tailors suck. They are time-consuming, overcomplicated, very expensive, non-refundable and non-returnable.’ Furthermore, in a Men’s Health interview, top professional rugby players, Leigh Halfpenny and Dan Parks, shared their experiences: “Buying clothes can be a real challenge if you’re muscular, It’s hard to find shirts that have a big neck without being baggy; or jeans that fit around the thigh as well as having a contemporary skinnier look,”. But, so what. Why does this matter? Well, because we may have found the next big thing in fashion. This brand, which started as a project for a Master’s dissertation, may be on the verge of revolutionising menswear. As men start to give a damn about their looks, hiting the gym and becoming more knowledgeable about fashion through social media and TV, such as style bloggers and shows like Mad Men and Suits, it only makes sense that there will be a growing number of beefed up gentlemen, who want their tailored-fit Oxford shirt to taper cleanly against their V-shaped torsos, not billow in the wind like mainstream shirts do.

Hornbilly Apparel achieves an incredible fit for muscular men, producing premium shirts for the modern man, made from the finest shirting materials, with an incredible attention for detail. Each shirt took months of development to achieve their signature cut fit. Their shirts perfectly outline the muscular male physique, whilst allowing the utmost comfort and movement. The idea of their shirts is, as Zain puts it, ‘to fit, not constrict.’ He argues this cannot be said for most slim-fit clothing in the market today. He continues to say that his products have been specifically tailored for men who seek fashionable, well-fitting and comfortable clothing, without the need for a tailor. Zain adds, 'Our customers do not want to wear sportswear every day. They kill themselves in the gym to achieve these physiques and, at Hornbilly Apparel, we believe our customers deserve clothes that convey this philosophy.' Has Hornbilly Apparel really discovered a whole new untapped market in men’s fashion? Very rarely do we see body-specific fashion in the menswear game. Apart from so-called Big and Tall clothing brands, we struggle to name any brands that have sought to cater for a specific body type. We see this in abundance in women’s fashion: petite, plus-sized and so on. It’ll be fascinating to see how this brand attempts to blaze a new trail in men’s fashion.

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