December 30, 2009

Hot Male Models Go i-tech in the New Year

If you could not get enough of them through your wireless connection, now you can download plenty of them ontp your iPhone!

ADONIS is the first iPhone male photography magazine that publishes the works of talented photographers around the world featuring male models, who can be described with one word: Adonis!

When it comes down to hot models, there is no recession here!

Have a safe, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

Photo copyright ADONIS.

December 28, 2009

Focus on China—From Ming to Qing

In yesterday’s article, Menswear Before Mao, I mentioned how the Qing Dynasty imposed the “long shirt,” or chang shan, replacing the common menswear of the previous dynasty, which was the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

In turn, the Ming Dynasty had led massive reforms concerning dress—abolishing the traditional men’s attire of the previous dynasty, which was the Mongolian-led Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).

The Ming Dynasty spent 20 years restoring and codifying the traditional dress of the Han people.

Interestingly, the Ming Dynasty was the last dynasty led by the Han Chinese, whose attire was termed the hanfu.

Menswear consisted of loose robes with wide sleeves and a round neckline. The unique item, however, was the embroidered square patch across the chest, the design and stitching of which varied with rank and status.

The headwear of the Ming officials is of particular interest, consisting of 2 winged flaps on each side and called the futou.

Throughout both the Ming and Qing Dynasties, men’s attire not only marked a man’s social class but also ethnicity.

Photo of official Jiang Shunfu, Public Domain at Wikipedia.

December 27, 2009

Focus on China—Menswear Before Mao

Although there were periods in Chinese history when men wore pants, such as in the Qin Dynasty (221-207 BC) and the Southern and Northern Dynasty (420-589), Chinese menswear has followed an interesting pattern for millennia.

The key elements include a type of robe with lapel (sometimes adjoined by a collar), waistband or belt, and sleeves. The changes in these characteristics set the trends for each dynasty. The most predominant change occurred in the sleeves, which ranged anywhere from narrow to enormous wing-like flaps.

Picking up where we left off in the last article, Han Fashion, prior to 1912 Chinese men wore the chángshān, which can be seen by Sun Yat-sen’s attire (photo left).

The changshan was originally imposed on Chinese men by the Qing Dynasty, China’s last dynasty (17th-20th centuries), replacing the traditional male dress of the previous dynasty. Changshan simply meant “long shirt.”

Eventually the changshan became the formal dress of Chinese men, who sported it with the magua, or ‘riding jacket’. First called the “victory jacket,” the magua has also become known as the “mandarin jacket” (photo left).

As for grooming during the Qing Dynasty, Han men adopted the practice of shaving part of their heads, braiding the remaining hair into a ponytail.

The men then sported different types of conical caps, depending on the occasion. Color and shape, however, was determined by the man’s grade and social status.

Interestingly, the Qinq Dynasty was founded by the Manchu clan, which was actually not Han but rather Tungus. Manchu menswear differed entirely from that of the Han (photo top).

Today, the Manchu have been completely assimilated and are nearly extinct, although many Han can claim Manchu ancestry.

Photo Sun Yat-sen Public Domain at Wikipedia.
Photo Outu GNU Free Documentation License at Wikipedia.

December 26, 2009

Han Fashion—Focus on China

(Guizhou, China 1986) As you can see by the photo above, when I lived in China many Han Chinese still wore a traditional form of dress, whereas I dressed in what the Han men considered modern Chinese clothing. But, before we get to their clothing, who are the Han?

Most Chinese are descendants of the Han majority, which is actually the largest ethnic group in the world, sometimes referring to itself as “Descendants of the Dragon.”

The name Han comes from the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD), which was preceded by the Qin Dynasty (221–206 BCE). Some southern Han Chinese even call themselves “the people of Tang,” referring to the Tang Dynasty (618-907).

Nevertheless, most Han Chinese today label themselves “the Hua people” (húarén) or “the Middle Kingdom people” (Zhōnggúorén).

As for dress, almost all Chinese Han men have adopted modern western clothing; but this was not always the case. As a matter of fact, when I was living in the more remote areas of China in the 1980’s, men were just beginning to make the transition from traditional to Western looks.

For decades, the attire for men was what Westerners have come to term the “Mao suit,” which was still being sported by the majority of men in Guizhou, where I was living. Despite the name, however, the Mao suit did not completely originate with Mao Ze Dong.

The original name of the Mao suit is the Zhongshan suit, from Sun Zhongshan or Sun Yat-sen (1866-1925), the revolutionary leader who pioneered the Republic of China in 1912 by overthrowing the last of the Chinese emperors.

Previously, Sun Yat-sen had worn the clothing of the Qing dynasty, the last dynasty of China. At that time, men sported the chángshān (‘long shirt’). But due to the unpopularity of the Qing Dynasty with the masses, the “long shirt” was already being combined with Western jackets and the like.

When Sun Yat-sen established the Republic of China, he united elements from both Eastern and Western fashion. He demonstrated Eastern sensibilities in the new suit by placing 4 symmetrical pockets to portray balance and 5 buttons, which later came to symbolize the branches of the new government.

When Sun Yat-sen permitted the Chinese Communist Party to join his Nationalist Party, Chinese communist men adopted the new look as a symbol of their adherence. Later under the leadership of Mao Ze Dong, the suit emerged as symbol of proletarian unity.

Although considered formal attire by some older men and a casual outfit by the so-called peasants, the Mao suit was largely replaced in the 1990’s by Western suits and styles.

Photo top center Copyright Men's Fashion by Francesco.
Photo middle left, Sun Yat-sen, by Militaryace, Public Domain at Wikipedia.
Photo bottom, Hurley, Zhang, and Mao, Public Domain at

December 23, 2009

Santa—Naughty and Nice

Probably one of the most popular men, at least at this time of the year, who is immediately recognized by his unique clothes, is none other than—you got it!—Santa Claus.

In my article yesterday entitled Santa Sizzles, I described the traditional dress of the jolly ole’ plump Santa; namely, in red pants and coat with a white collar and cuffs, black boots and belt, and a red conical hat.

This image was largely popularized in North America by the “Father of American Cartoon,” Thomas Nast (1840-1902). Call him what you may—Father Christmas, Saint Nick or Nicholas, Kris Kringle, or just Santa—the image has stuck!

Historically, this legendary figure did exist as a 4th- century Greek bishop, Nicholaos, from Lycia, which is part of modern-day Turkey. So how did he wind up in the North Pole on a sleigh wearing a red costume?

As most societies interpret their new found faiths in light of their previous beliefs, so too Saint Nick has been interpreted and reinterpreted over the centuries, from the ancient Germanic holiday traditions of Yule to modern-day advertising of Coca Cola.

We’ve come a long way right up to the song, “I Saw daddy Kissing Santa Claus.”

Well, you may not feel like kissing Santa, but if you are a modern urban male and in the holiday spirit, there’s a menswear line for you: 4Boys Gear.

Photo Copyright 4Boys Gear.

December 22, 2009

Santa Sizzles

Santa Klaus used to be from the North Pole. Well, that’s when he was a bit chunky, carrying a little extra weight around the middle.

But Santa has finally gone on a diet, joined the local gym, and agreed to a complete makeover. Yes, he has followed the ways of the world!

Ripped and buff, Santa is now steamy hot—and he’s moved to Los Angeles! Well, we wouldn’t want those ice caps to melt, would we?!

N2N Bodywear was founded in Los Angeles in 1997 by Andrew Makay, who designs swimwear, underwear, and other apparel for the traveling men, ranging from the “guy next door” to the metrosexual—oh, and yes—for Santa himself!

For centuries Santa dressed in baggy pants and an oversized coat with plain black boots. Ungroomed and unshaven, Santa didn’t pay too much attention to his outer appearance. But how could he, when he was taking care of so many others?!

I think more men should emulate Santa’s example, not in moving to Los Angeles, but at least in tidying up their act! (Oops, did I express an opinion?!)

Anyway, getting back to the story, the only thing Santa really had going for himself was his boldness in color—bright red! Well, that’s about all he’s kept! But, why red?

Stay tuned for the next holiday article!

Photo Copyright N2N Bodywear.

December 21, 2009

Yi Fashion

Numbering over 7 million, the Yi people possess several names, such as Nuosu in China and Lo Lo in Vietnam and Thailand.

In China, the Yi people live mostly throughout Yunnan, Sichuan, Guangxi, and Guizhou, where I lived for 4 years. Typically, they are farmers, herders, and nomadic hunters.

The Yi language is closest to Burmese, even though it can be divided into a half dozen dialects. Some scholars claim that the Yi are descendants of the Tibetans.

Throughout history, the Yi people adhered to a matriarchal form society and government. In several areas, they practiced a complex version of slavery.

Yi men traditionally dressed in black with narrow sleeves and loose-fitting pants, often with a handkerchief on their head.

Photo by Sariw, Public Domain at Wikipedia.

December 20, 2009

The Song of the Dong

The Dong people number about 2.9 million and make up one of China’s 56 minority groups.

Some trace the appearance of the Dong to the Song Dynasty (960-1279) when they migrated southward due to the advancing Mongols; but other references place them as far back as the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC).

Referring to themselves as Gaeml or Kam, the Dong have become renowned for their skillful carpentry and architectural creativity as with their preponderant towers and the covered bridge.

The Dong live mostly in Hunan, Guangxi, and Guizhou, where I lived for 4 years, and speak a language that belongs to the Kradai family, which has some commonality with Sino-Tibetian languages. The Dong language has 9 tones.

Dong dress is traditionally rich in silver jewelry, dyed woven fabrics, and embroideries of plants, animals, and legends with a color palette of blue, black, white, and purple.

Music and song plays a major role in the village life of the Dong people.

Photo by Jialiang Gao GNU Free Documentation License at Wikipedia.

December 19, 2009

Yao Men, Yao Women—the Differences Pervade Them All

One of the most striking differences between contemporary men and women of many minority groups throughout Southern China lies in their dress. This picture of Yao men and women demonstrates the point.

When I lived in China, minority women tended to dress in bright-colored garments that were highlighted with intricate embroideries and accents of silver, gold, and horn. The men, on the other hand, had adopted a type of recent Han clothing, which was drab and boring.

Traditionally, the Yao men wore belted jackets that were buttoned to the left and knickers—usually blue or black in color. In some regions, they curled their hair into a bun, which they wrapped with a red cloth, adorned with several pheasant feathers.

What’s more, the Yao have accumulated nearly 30 different names for themselves, all of which are based on their types of dress, accessories, and lifestyle. Historically, the Yao were experts in dying, embroidering, and weaving.

The Yao people are one of the 56 minorities in China, numbering 2.5 million people in all, living mostly throughout the mountainous regions of southern China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand.

The Yao can trace their origins back 2,000 years to northern China where they were known as the “savage Wuling tribes. Since that time, they have undergone migration from China between 15th-19th centuries due to revolts, persecution in Laos, and refugee status in Thailand, which entitled them to UN aide and refugee status.

Interestingly, the Yao people do not adhere to one language group but rather speak one of 4 completely different languages. The Yao people are now scattered across 130 nations.

Photo by Takeaway, GNU Free Documentation License at Wiki Commons.

December 18, 2009

Zhuang Fashion

Numbering about 16 million, the Zhuang people have lived throughout southern China longer than any other civilization and, now, constitute China’s largest minority.

Known as Bou Shung in their own language, the Zhuang people migrated southward into Southeast Asia in about 1100 AD to avoid conflict with the Han Chinese.

With 8 major dialects and 50 sub-dialects, the Zhuang language belongs to the Sino-Tibetian family and possesses 6 tones.

As for their music, the Zhuang lay claim to an immense copper drum, which, a half ton in weight, was developed over 2,000 years ago. Also dating back 2,000 years are the rich and colorful frescoes of the Zhuang people that have been discovered in 50 locations.

Sometime during the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the Zhuang developed a cotton fabric with raised designs of dyed velvety twisting and weave. Traditionally, Zhuang men wore long collar-less shirts girded at the waist, cloth shoes, and head cloths.

Photo by Rex Pe Copyright at Flickr, used with permission.

December 17, 2009

Miao People—All about Fashion

One of the largest minority groups with whom I had the most contact in China was with the Miao, who have dwelt in the Guizhou province for the past 2,000 years.

The Miao total about 9.6 million people, who are scattered not only throughout southern China but also Southeast Asia, where they arrived in the 18th century.

Outside China, the Miao are known as Mèo or H’Mông in Vietnam, Maew or Mong in Thailand, and Mun Lu-Myo in Burma. Although the Miao prefer to call themselves Hmong or Mong, their names do not end there.

Interestingly, Miao tribes classify themselves according to the colors and patterns of their clothing—White Hmong, Green Hmong, Black Hmong, and Striped Hmong, Red Miao, Flowery Miao.

Now that’s a fashion statement!

The Miao peoples produce textiles called “flower cloth,” which features intricate stitch work and embroidery of bold designs and bright, contrasting colors.

Some Miao tribes wear batik, which is created by dripping hot wax on white cloth that is then dipped in dye.

The most common of Miao patterns are flowers, birds, fish, butterflies, and fruit—each of which carries a specific meanings.

It is not uncommon for Miao women to adorn themselves in massive silver jewelry that takes the form of immense bullhorns and ornate crowns.

Photo by Cyril Massenet Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License at Wiki Commons.
Photo by Michael Mooney Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License at
Wiki Commons.
Slideshow Copyright Men's Fashion by Francesco.

December 8, 2009

Menswear—Not Just Fashion: Focus on China

Menswear does not just stand for fashion but rather embraces so much more, such as the history, culture, psychology, sociology, economics, dance, and music of any given group of men.

Menswear does not merely entail a man’s clothing or garments but also entails how and why they wear what they choose.

As we approach the holiday season and a brand-new year, I would like to introduce a whole new series of articles that arise from my travels throughout several countries in the Far East, beginning with a focus on China, where I lived for 4 years.

We hear so much about China as a new world economic power that boasts one of the world’s oldest civilizations and a population of 1.35 billion people! But what do we know about China’s men: how do they think and what do they wear?

Like many countries, China is not homogeneous but rather home to 56 ethnic groups, the largest of which is the Han.

Besides the Han majority, there exist fascinating peoples like the Zhuang (16 million), Manchu (10 million), Hui (9 million), Miao (8 million), Uighur (7 million), Yi (7 million), Tujia (5.75 million), Mongols (5 million), Tibetans (5 million), Buyi (3 million), Dong (2.9 million), Yao (2.5 million), Bai (1.8 million), Gelao, (0.5 million), Shui (0.5 million), and Qiang (0.2 million).

I must say that I have been extremely fortunate—and privileged—to have lived 4 years in a region of southwest China where 11 of these minorities constitute 37% of the local population.

During my sojourn, I became acquainted with the men and their languages, cultures, music and dance, cuisine, and—of course—their traditional dress.

Since I lived in this minority region in the 1980’s, much of the minority life that I experienced has slowly disappeared.

So, I have done my best to reproduce it for you with the photos that I took and the memoirs that I wrote!

Photos Copyright Men's Fashion by Francesco.

December 7, 2009

A Return to Luxury & Quality by Domenico Vacca

Domenico Vacca was born in Andria of the Puglia region in southern Italy.

As a small but ancient town, for the past 1,000 years Andria has passed through the hands of numerous empires: from Normans to Angevines, Germans to Hungarians, Aragonese to Spanish, and, finally, from the Bourbons to a united Italy.

Inheriting rich traditions from previous generations, Domenico’s grandmother operated her own fashion house in Andria with over 50 seamstresses.

No wonder, Domenico grew up to appreciate the importance of sartorial elegance and luxurious couture, even from an early age!
After studying Law in Italy, later obtaining a Masters in Law from New York University, Domenico practiced law for 10 years with a leading international law firm called Baker & Mackenzie, representing over two-thirds the Italian fashion companies that did business in the US.

After founding Italia magazine in 1994, Domenico finally launched his own clothing label in 2002. Together with his wife Julie, Domenico has combined Italian craftsmanship with over 2,000 types of superb fabrics, becoming known as the “Ferrari of clothing industry.”

In a mere 4 years after his launch, Domenico opened six stores throughout Russia, Qatar, the US, the UK, and Italy, whereby magnificent collections are hand sown by 100 master tailors and 250 seamstresses in Naples, Italy.

Domenico Vacca—a man who not only inherited the tradition of luxury but also knows the value of quality.

Photo & slideshow Copyright Domenico Vacca.

December 6, 2009

Surf Crew by aussieBum

If you like bums and your are fond of Aussies, then you will love Surf Crew—a tribute to surfers around the world in 4 colors, whether brief or hipster!

(Turn off play list below before starting video.)

December 5, 2009

The Revolutionary Romanticism of 0044 paris Marches On!

“Revolutionary Romanticism” is the general theme of 0044 paris, which, for the past 10 years, has been blending aggressive and sensitive designs—all manufactured in France.

For spring/summer 2010, 0044 paris has adjoined additional concepts to its theme of aggressivity and sensibility, such as creation, destruction, and a romantic spirit vs. the streetwear silhouette—all prêt a porter, ready-made clothes that are ready to go!

The collection highlights generous cuts, accentuated adjusting loops, and delicate fabrics, which contrast with the weightiness of a multiplicity of pins—all in a color palette of black, white, dark mauve and saturated cobalt blue.

Photo & slideshow Copyright 0044 paris.

December 4, 2009

Rootage: Learning Old & New

In Japanese, ‘onkochishinmeans “learn from the old to learn the new,” a phrase that first appeared in 1484 as a title of a dictionary in Japan, which translates as “Reviewing what you have learned and learning anew.”

The compiler of this dictionary, Ōtomo Hirokimi, dared to go against centuries of traditions concerning Japanese dictionaries and lexicography to create a more user-friendly system, which, indeed emerged as the dominant method thereafter.

Now, Rootage continues the tradition by creating footwear that is based on the concept of onkochishin; namely, learning from the past to develop new skills and knowledge.

Rootage was founded by Makoto Okuya in 2004 and, stocked at Oki-Ni, seeks to highlight the excellent quality of Japanese manufacturing and products.

Photos Copyright Rootage.

December 3, 2009

Longing for Long

Have you been searching for a super-length tee but with a skinny fit?

Bored with busy, complicated designs, longing for a something a bit more unique?

Well, it will not be long before you have your wish!

Long was created in 2002 by two young British designers, Gareth Emmett and Rhys Dawney.

From North and East London, the bold yet simple designs can now be found all throughout the UK, being featured in assorted magazines across Europe.

If things continue going they way they are, it will not be long before Long is in your area, too!

Photo & slide show Copyright Long.

December 2, 2009

“The Reddish Boy” by Georgina Vendrell

Patrick Wolf was born Patrick Denis Apps into an artistic family of South London in 1983.

After studying violin and singing in church choirs until the age of eleven, Patrick began recording his own songs, soon going on to join the pop art collective Minty and, shortly after, Maison Crimineaux.

After eight years of recording, Wolf released his first album entitled Lycanthropy in 2003.

Using a wide variety of electronic and classical instruments, Wolf composes musical pieces that range from techno-pop to romantic folk.

Patrick Wolf has exerted a tremendous impact on multitudes around the world, including Catalan designer Georgina Vendrell, whom I covered in an article earlier this year.

For 2010, Georgina has based her spring/summer collection on Patrick Wolf, entitling the collection “the Reddish Boy.”

In a similar fashion to the eclectic music of Patrick Wolf, Georgina combines a variety of classic and avant-garde fabrics and styles, composing pieces that range from techno-pop to romantic folk!

Photo & slideshow 2010 s/s collection “the Reddish Boy” Copyright Georgina Vendrell.

December 1, 2009

Alexandre Herchcovitch & His Unique Path to Fame

Oftentimes, students in the universities where I lecture pose the question, “Where and how do designers get their start!” Fortunately, there is no one answer to this question but rather each designer finds his or her niche in way or another.

Brazilian designer Alexandre Herchcovitch still reminisces of the times back in the Eighties when he found himself sitting on the floor of his mother’s closet, helping Regina choose her outfits for evening outings. Eventually, Regina found herself dressing up in her precocious son’s avant-garde creations.

The second influence in Alexandre’s life was Boy George, who, as we know, pushed the limits of gender in fashion and style. But Alexandre did not really get his start as a designer until he began making clothes for drag queens, prostitutes, and transvestites in São Paolo. In fact, he designed more than 300 outfits for the country’s most famous drag queen, Márcia Pantera.

Now at the age of 38, Alexandre has already featured his savvy designs on the runways of the most prominent fashion events around the world.

So, whatever you do in life, be inspired from men like Alexandre and discover your own unique path to success!

Photo & slideshow 2010 s/s collection Alexandre Herchcovitch.