In recent years, menswear has really been having a moment as men -- especially American men -- learn to embrace more fitted looks and a sense of personal style. Maybe it started with the metro-sexual movement or maybe it was "Mad Men" that tipped the scales, but whatever the reason, the menswear retail sector has been showing steady growth, propelling department stores and designers alike to find new ways to cater to the growing class of stylish gents. (For further evidence: See Ryan Gosling's Ferragamo transformation in 2011 and designer Simon Spurr's Hollywood takeover.)
As such, it seemed only a matter of time before facial hair would start to get equal amounts of a gentleman's attention. First, there were the inspirations like Tom Ford's carefully-groomed second-day stubble to Orlando Bloom's rapscallion-inspired almost-beard abound. More recently, the mustache has been the thing, from the subtle or traditional looks one might spot on downtown streets to the delightfully waxed and twisted varieties at the Brooklyn Flea and elsewhere.
Now, it seems, the trend has become mainstream enough that grooming king Gillette has created a special product geared towards stubble fans. According to WWD, the Gillette Fusion ProGlide Styler is a shaving tool that focuses more on styling than shaving -- with multiple functionalities for trimming, edging, and more. To market the new device, Gillette recruited stylish gents (with facial hair) like Adrien Brody, Gael García Bernal, and André “3000” Benjamin to appear in a campaign.
VP and general manager at Global Gillette, Austin Lally, told WWD that the brand's research had indicated that a whopping 40 percent of men "style their facial hair." According to Lally, "It’s guys who want to create a look on their face as an expression of their identity."
If a brand like Gillette is making this big of an investment in the space -- and has the research to back it up -- it sounds like this is one trend that's set to cross the threshold from trend watching in New York to full-on trend in the rest of the country.