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Sun, Sep 01, 2013
Urban, The Straits Times
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More choices for men
by Stacy Chia


Women who walk into the new Coach boutique on Level 3 at Takashimaya are in for a surprise.

They will find nothing for themselves there.

Instead, they will find the American brand's full range of men's products, such as bags, small leather goods, outerwear, footwear, watches and sunglasses. Prices start from $100 to $4,680.

The first stand-alone men's Coach boutique here opened yesterday at Takashimaya's men's department.

The 53.4 sq m space will also carry exclusive collaborations and occasional special-edition pieces.

Next month, it will launch a series of bags and accessories designed in collaboration with American designer Billy Reid.

Coach has 11 boutiques here and all except its Isetan Scotts boutique carry the men's range.

The Coach Wisma Atria and Paragon stores will carry the same range of products as the men's stand-alone store at Takashimaya. The rest will carry a smaller range.

Mr Andrew Stanleick, vice-president and general manager for Coach Singapore and Malaysia, says a dedicated boutique for men will offer male customers an "alternative shopping experience to that of the dual-gender stores".

Coach entered the Singapore market in 2006 and introduced men's products to its range in 2009.

While Coach is better known for its women's handbags and accessories, it started off as a men's brand in 1941.

But between the late 1990s and early 2000s, it focused on its women's range, which was flourishing.

The opening of a men's boutique here is part of the brand's plan to rebuild its men's business.

The United States, Hong Kong and Taiwan also have stand-alone Coach boutiques for men.

The men's business contributed to 12 per cent of global sales for the 2013 financial year, as compared with 3 per cent in the 2010 financial year.

Mr Stanleick says: "The growing men's market presents a promising opportunity for Coach globally, especially in Asia. Opening a dedicated men's store allows Coach to cater to the region's growing demand for men's products and accessories."


In 2009, FitFlop introduced its first men's design - a style that looked similar to its iconic women's sandals and which was stocked alongside its women's range.

Today, there are more than 11 men's styles - a number big enough to warrant dedicated men's FitFlop corners at various department stores here.

The first two opened in November 2011 in the men's shoe departments at Tangs Orchard and Tangs VivoCity.

This month, the British footwear brand opened another corner within the men's shoe section at Takashimaya.

The full men's range is available at Takashimaya, while the Tangs corners have a smaller selection. Prices range from $139.90 to $279.90. Women's FitFlops range from $109.90 to $399.90.

The men's designs include sandals such as the Trakk II ($139.90), which looks similar to the women's range of sandals, to dress shoes and casual shoes, such as the Flex Loafer ($239.90).

All are designed around the FitFlop micro-wobbleboard technology, which claims to provide a "workout while you walk" by slightly destabilising your walk, so that your muscles have to work harder.

The brand entered the Singapore market in 2007. Aside from Tangs and Takashimaya, it is carried at Metro, Robinsons, OG and Isetan - all of which carry a selection of men's designs in their ladies' shoe departments.

Isetan Orchard and Scotts have the full selection of men's products in its ladies' department.

Mr Jonathan Gabler, director of Spirit Sports which distributes the brand here in Singapore, says that he is in discussions with Isetan and Robinsons to have dedicated men's areas as well.

He says the brand is still more popular among women, with just 15 per cent of its sales coming from men's shoes.

"As our female customers were the brand's greatest ambassadors, we were very happy to keep both collections together," says Mr Gabler. But he expects that to change as FitFlop continues to expand.

He says the brand will roll out more men's designs next year and the first FitFlop boutique carrying both men's and women's designs will open within the first half of next year at an undisclosed location.


French brand Longchamp is best known for its women's handbags, in particular, its iconic Le Pliage (French for folding) tote bags. But it now wants to highlight its offerings for men.

Afterall, its founder Jean Cassegrain started the company in 1948 targeting male consumers. From leather-covered smoking pipes, he went on to make wallets and pouches for men in 1955. It was only in 1975 that he launched the brand's first women's handbag and, from that point on, women's bags and accessories dominated the brand.

Last month, Longchamp opened the first stand-alone counter for men in Singapore at Takashimaya's men's department.

The brand has two boutiques at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and Paragon. Its boutique at Ion Orchard, currently undergoing renovations, is slated to reopen at the end of the year.

The stores carry both its women's and men's ranges. Its women's range makes up about 80 per cent of the merchandise. There are also two counters at Takashimaya and Isetan Scotts.

The new 32.5 sq m men's counter at Takashimaya has the brand's full selection of men's bags, such as the Travel Trolley bags ($430 to $1,000), which are not available at its two boutiques at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands and Paragon.

Prices for the men's collection range from $166 to $1,600.

Ms Claudine Foo, brand manager of Longchamp, says: "In a department store environment, men might not be comfortable shopping within the ladies section. So with a dedicated men's section, it gives them a better shopping experience."

She says that in the past two years, sales for the men's line has been growing steadily, although she declined to reveal exact figures. She adds that they have no immediate plans to open another men's stand-alone counter.

New men's stores

The men do get it - stand-alone stores and counters, that is. Here are some other brands that have recently opened, or plan to open, retail spaces just for the guys.


The Italian label opened its very first stand-alone men's store here at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands in July. The store, which is about 232.25 sq m, is located above its two floors dedicated to women at L1-37-38A Bay Level.

Previously, menswear shared the same retail floor space with womenswear at Prada boutiques at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Ion Orchard and Paragon.


Next month , Italian menswear brand Brioni will open its first stand-alone boutique in Singapore at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.

Known for its made-to-measure suits that start at $9,000, the store will also carry its ready-to-wear collection, which starts from $8,000 for a suit. At 167.2 sq m, it will be the brand's largest shop in Asia.


In April, the French beauty brand opened its first free-standing men's store at Ion Orchard. The 16.7 sq m store is divided into a self-service area where products are categorised by solutions to skin problems. It also has a consultation area and a lounge for quick grooming services such as mini-facials. Facials cost $45 for 30 minutes.

Lab Series

American men's skincare label opened its first flagship store at Ion Orchard last year. Standing at 25.5 sq m, it offers skin analysis and free quickie facials.

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