Business casual men have been known to dress casually, dress casually for their jobs and for their social lives, yet their clothing is often a throwback to the days of the Industrial Revolution.
The world’s best-selling fashion magazine, the Business Casual World, reports that 80 per cent of the clothing it sells is produced in China, and the business casual industry is also growing at an impressive rate in Australia.
“The fashion industry is one of the fastest growing segments in the global economy,” Dr. Jia Yuen, an associate professor of economics at the University of Melbourne and a member of the International Association for Business Casuals, told Al Jazeera.
“Business casual men make up one-third of the workforce in Australia.”
A growing trend for businesses Casual clothing is a popular trend among young people.
The popularity of casual clothing in Australia has seen a surge in the last two years, with women’s clothing sales reaching a record high in July, according to the ASX data.
Business casual clothing is also a growing trend among men.
The fashion industry has seen an exponential growth over the past two years with women wearing their casual clothing for the first time in their lives, Dr Yuen said.
In Australia, men’s clothing is still relatively rare in the marketplace.
“We are seeing a significant growth of business casual clothing, which is not a huge amount of business,” Dr Yuun said.
“So it’s a really interesting market for us to be in, and it’s something we’re exploring as a business and looking at ways to help the industry.”
Women’s clothing was also a significant industry in China.
“In the past, when I started doing my research, it was predominantly men’s business casual and women’s business,” Mr Zhen said.
As a business consultant, Mr Zhan is often asked about the trend, and he said it was important to recognise that there are distinct social and cultural aspects to business casual dress.
“There’s something about casual clothes, that’s quite a distinct look, that I think we need to acknowledge and be mindful of,” he said.
Dr Yuent also said that there was a huge social and economic benefit to business and social casual clothing.
“When you look at the way that we do business, we have the most expensive products and the most high-end products, so it’s very hard for women to compete with men’s fashion,” Dr Yen said, adding that the industry was a key sector of growth for women in Australia as well.
In the past three years, Australia’s top business casual stores, in terms of annual sales, have grown by 33 per cent.
The ASX-listed store chain Kogan, which has branches in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, has grown by 70 per cent since 2012.
The retailing giant Costco has seen its sales growth accelerate by more than 150 per cent over the same period.
According to a 2015 report from the Australian Institute of Management, women make up about a quarter of retail sales, but account for nearly 40 per cent – and a growing number of women are opting for business casual attire.
Business Casual Women’s Clothing, or Business Casual Womens Clothing, has also seen a dramatic increase in sales over the last few years.
The Australian Business Casual Association estimates that in 2020, business casual women’s apparel sales would reach $7.6 billion.
“It’s a big opportunity for the industry to grow and I think it’s an opportunity for us as women to make more of an impact in that industry,” Ms Yuen told Al Jueg.
“Because we are the most educated, most empowered and most empowered group in this business, and so when you see a woman wearing business casual, I think that’s really important for us.”