Suits you sir ....
From their earliest days of retailing, airports have been honing a men’s fashion offer, albeit one that was limited to the most basic accessories.
Men used to be the dominant travelling sex, and businessmen in particular had enormous spending power which attracted established luxury houses like Hermès and Salvatore Ferragamo, selling their ties and scarves and using airports as a shop window to the world.
Today, the passenger profile still favours men but the balance has shifted significantly with many more women in the mix and a much more varied male profile. It simply means that airports have become a bit more egalitarian about what they serve up in men’s fashion. So don’t panic if you think you will have to splurge at Giorgio Armani prices to pick up a nice fleece-lined jacket or a merino wool sweater. If you are at the right airport you can find high street retailers like Esprit, Guess, H&M, Marc O’Polo and Mango to satisfy your style demands without breaking the bank.
But it’s for male shoppers who do want to splurge a little that airports really come into their own. Brands such as the finely tailored Ermenegildo Zegna and the popular Hugo Boss can be found in many of them globally, while more quirky labels such as Paul Smith are often present in their home markets (London in this particular case). If surf culture is more your scene then Billabong has been spreading out of Australia into Asian hubs like Singapore Changi, while Puma fans will have seen its stores popping up at locations in Germany and the US.
Be aware that brands can come and go, depending on how they perform and the strategic aims of their owners. Danes who know the Sand fashion brand for example may remember it developing a strong position in European airports a few years ago but it has since taken its eye off this market. But then others are coming in. Milan’s Boggi menswear is one of them, and Pal Zileri too • both offer sartorial elegance as only the Italians know how.
Your shopping options may also be dependent on the terminal your airline is in, and that in turn is often dependent on the alliance of which it is a part. At Munich airport for example, Lufthansa flights will be in terminal 2 whereas British Airway flights will be in terminal one. So all you BA frequent flyers out there, let’s hope you’re easily pleased as your fashion choices will consist of Hugo Boss and a multi-brand store called CatWalk. Lufthansa customers on the other hand will use Star Alliance’s terminal 2 where no less than 26 fashion units are located with the like of Benetton, Boss, Polo Ralph Lauren and Porsche Design, taking their place along a two-level shopping street that among the best in Europe for men’s fashion.