So Male is a design-ethnographic trend study about the styles of men today and the gender understanding on which they are based either side of the inflexible dichotomy of male versus female. The study at ZHdK that arose from a Master’s dissertation discovers the needs of or values held by modern men specifically and in a market-oriented manner. It is therefore geared to decision-makers in business, politics and society, who are involved in structuring the change. The research is based on the visual-phenomenological analysis of over 2,000 images from fashion and street style. The photos document pre-theoretical actions such as the selection of clothing and body poses. They are analysed systematically and contextualised with the help of cultural, scientific research findings. The study records the change in masculinity in this way. Within this process of change, three main trends can be identified: Upgrade masculinity, disrupt masculinity and beyond masculinity. Recommendations for action can derived from this categorisation for designers, strategists or advertisers.
Comments of the nominators:
An extremely well-structured research project with a wealth of material, which deals with a current social subject – gender and identity – and investigates it using the example of today’s men. The trends identified and described in this study seem plausible. The relevance of the investigation results for design, but also for business and society, is presented here convincingly.