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How Men's Fitness and Fashion Has Changed Forever

How Men's Fitness and Fashion Has Changed Forever

Friday evening, finally. Reports done. Emails read and sent. To the gym. Squeeze out that last set- new personal best on the squat: 180kg for 5. No big. Contemplate chit-chatting with the instructors. Check watch- there’s no time. On the tube. Scoff down takeaway sushi because you forgot to defrost the chicken. Off the tube. Elbow and slalom through the thousand or so rush hour commuters. Arrive home. Fling off shoes, bag and jacket. Contemplate hanging up jacket and putting shoes tidily away. Check watch- there’s no time. In the shower. Lather. Rinse. The phone dings. Pause. Phone screen reads: “Jenny: We still on for tonight? :)”. Quickly dry hands on towel and type reply: “Yeah! Of course. See you in half an hour! :P (confetti emoji), (martini emoji), (flamenco dancer emoji)”. Press send. Contemplate pondering to self why, as a grown man, you text like an adolescent girl. Check watch- there’s no time. Out the shower. Put on outfit selected a week ago: slim-fit navy twill chinos with mahogany calf-leather belt; crisp and freshly dry-cleaned, tailored Oxford shirt that always accentuates your shoulders and arms like the rose gold bezel does your IWC Portofino, finished with a pair of handmade Italian Brogues. Do hair. Inspect the outfit. Relief and excitement- you know look good. Grab keys. Just before you step out of the door, check self one last time in the mirror. Pause. Crack a cheeky grin and nod to self because, even if the night is not one to remember, at least your outfit was.

As a passionate and frequent gym-goer for the past 6 years, whose sporting interests extend to rugby, powerlifting and bodybuilding, the founder of Hornbilly Apparel has what most would arguably call a V-shaped body, broad chest and shoulders with a proportionally small waist, with biceps that go 16 inches around in circumference and thighs that measure 25 inches around.

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 up any social media platform and you will guaranteed find a fitness-related post faster than Farage and Bo-Jo relinquished their duties after the Brexit vote. The fitness lifestyle, from hitting new PBs to sharing your latest post-workout meal, is as mainstream as Bieber and beans on toast. 

It should come as no surprise that the sports supplements industry in the UK alone was worth £301 million in 2014 (Birkedale, 2014). London alone has 1.6 million registered gym members (Leisuredb, 2015). 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. Therefore, we argue they care about their clothes. This is reflected in the figures. The men’s fashion market was worth £12.9 billion in 2013, even growing faster than women’s wear, which was previously unheard of (Mintel, 2014). 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’ (Braddock, 2015). 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.

Despite these two enormous industries arguably complementing each other perfectly as they are, to a large extent, predicated on the notion of looking and feeling good, Hornbilly Apparel argues that there are scant brands who have successfully overlapped these two phenomena for muscular men, in particular. For example, a Google search for ‘clothing for muscular men’, ‘muscle fit shirts’ and anything of the kind will result in How-to-dress style guides for muscular men, in which you are ultimately told to go to a tailor. If, however, you have the patience and the skills of a spy, you will track down a few brands that have products, specifically made for muscular men. The key word is that there are only a ‘few’.

Go into any gym and ask the first gym rat you see if they find it difficult to find good-looking clothes that fit them well. We found that almost all of them will respond in the affirmative. This should not be at all surprising when off-the-rack brands are made for the average man with 13- inch biceps and a 38-inch chest, not the gym rat with 17-inch biceps, 44-inch chest and 32-inch waist. For these gym rats who care about fashion, the only real solution is to go to a high street shop and buy a size too big, whereby, for example, a shirt that fits his neck, arms and chest will no doubt be too baggy around the abdomen area. Likewise, with trousers, he would also have to go up a size to fit his thighs, leaving the waist loose.

Therefore, the problem is that frequent male gym-goers/ sportsmen who have athletically developed bodies do not have an easy, high street solution for fashion-forward clothes that not only fit well but are comfortable, whilst not being overpriced.

The current solution for this problem that is monotonously repeated in the aforementioned ‘How-to-dress’ style guides for muscular men is to go to a tailor and get clothes altered. This is time-consuming, overcomplicated, very expensive, non-refundable and non-returnable. Even Men’s Health suggests to get clothes tailored if you have a muscular physique, as there simply is not an abundant ready-to-wear solution (Jones, 2012). 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,” said Halfpenny (Jones, 2012). 

Hornbilly Apparel was born, when the founder grew tired of overpriced shirts with substandard fits. He realised that the ill-fitting clothes on the high street could achieve an incredible fit for muscular men with a few simple tweaks- a bit more here and little less there. Hornbilly Apparel produces premium shirts for the modern man. Our products are made from the finest shirting materials, with an incredible attention for detail- each shirt took months of development to achieve our signature Cut Fit. Our shirts perfectly outline the muscular male physique, whilst allowing the utmost comfort and movement. Our shirts fit, not constrict.

This cannot be said for most slim-fit clothing in the market today. Our products have been specifically tailored for men who seek fashionable, well-fitting and comfortable clothing, without the need for a tailor. We understand that developing a muscular, aesthetic physique is not just about health. To these men, it is a status symbol that represents something more than aesthetics. As the bodybuilding legend Arnold Schwarzenegger put it:

A well-built physique is a status symbol. It reflects you worked hard for it, no money can buy it. You cannot borrow it, you cannot inherit it, you cannot steal it. You cannot hold onto it without constant work. It shows discipline, it shows self respect, it shows patience, work ethic and passion. That is why I do what I do.

Hornbilly Apparel strives to not only seamlessly fit into this lifestyle, but enhance it as well, as an instrument that projects to the world the hard work and discipline that goes into pursuing this passion. Our customers do not want to wear sportswear everyday.  They kill themselves in the gym to achieve these physiques and, at Hornbilly Apparel, we believe our customers deserve clothes that convey this philosophy.


**Full citations available upon request**

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