By Frances Harder, December 6, 2016
Predicting which styles will become the next trend at any particular time can be an occupational guessing game, a game with millions of dollars at stake. The makers and sellers in fashion often have their own ways of studying trends and consumer preferences. They may spend a great deal of money for an international expensive trend service, or possibly a couple of different trend services, which predict what they feel will be the next new global trends. The cost for such services can run in the thousands of dollars per year for a subscription. Designers are taught to shop the stores constantly and visit many different clothing trade shows for what maybe the next important trend. It is the designers’ job to observe closely today’s activities for any indications of what will trend next. While some styles are at their peak, their successors are already in the growing stage and this is what a good designer must recognize. Unfortunately, or fortunately as I tend to think for the first time in the history of fashion there are very mixed trends that amount to NO TREND! Today we have trends where anything and everything goes. The art and trend today is understanding “Styling” and “Merchandising”. These days’ shifts in fashion do not occur at a given time, and it is nearly impossible to pinpoint the exact beginning or end of a specific fashion cycle. Predicting trends has almost become a sixth sense. Forecasting errors can be costly, so care is taken in analyzing the market.
Six facts that are affecting todays clothing industry:
- Aging Baby Boomers
- The Millenniums
- A desire for natural/organic products
- Casual and active lifestyles
- Domestic production
- Price point
Trends used to start with the richer sector of society and the runways of Paris and London. Then slowly the entertainment and music industry took over and they became the influences and trend setting. The fifties dictated the “New Dior Look”, which the film and television industry embraced through films and TV shows of the times. The sixties embraced Mary Quant and the Beatles that dictated the mini skirt and hot pants, the Seventies welcomed the hippie movement and free love as its theme, the Eighties was the decade of the wide shoulders, and the Nineties women were trying to be men in the ugly unfeminine pant suit. However, things changed in the 21st century with a new influence. Today a new trend can often be traced back to streetwear and the younger generation. This new century has allowed us to have a positive say in what we feel suits us and want to wear, but more importantly what we feel suits us as opposed to being dictated to. This is a reason why designers visit places where they can potentially track new trends such as Hollywood, Venice Beach and Orange County which are the ‘in-places’ to observe trends. New York boasts Manhattan. Kings Road and Soho in London are a must for observing new fashion and life style trends. These places are alive with the beautiful, the weird, and the trendy “inset” of people!
As most buyers and merchandisers know demographics are a very important factor. Each city has its own ‘look’ that gives that city a personality all of its own. The trickle up trend began on the streets of LA with its ethnically diverse demographics, entertainment center of the world, and the good weather. It used to be that Paris was perceived to be the place to predict future trends. Today, Paris and Milan runway shows are more perceived as an ‘art form’ that does not necessarily relate to any real trends that are selling. Demographics with regard to color is also very interesting. A bright pint with bling will sell in Texas and Miami but not in the north east or the west coast.
Today’s trend is far more about merchandising ourselves when choosing our daily clothing ensemble. I think I can say that for the most part we all have the tight black /legging pants and the wide leg pants, or the short skirt, or mid length skirt along with the full length skirt! All these types of styles when merchandised with any of the many top styles that are also acceptable and already in our wardrobe can be totally hip and acceptable. However, for the manufacturer when designing for the next season it has become almost impossible to predict what will and will not sell. Additionally, it has become evident that one of the major influencers for the purchase of clothing is the price point that will often entice us to buy on an impulse. We really don’t need a new top but if the price is right then “Why not treat yourself”? The other big influencer of trends is our life style. Lifestyle has created a whole new category of clothing such as the “Athleisure” trend. We can go to our workout session at the gym then throw on a nice LuLu Lemon athleisure jacket over our workout gear and off you go looking totally styled for lunch!
I really like our new free style fashion trends and I believe it will be here to stay. So, get used to it and learn what suits you and your body shape best! Don’t wear your thong showing above the rear end of your jeans unless you have a perfect shape and well cut jeans! :) But then again maybe this is your style!
Warning! Over fifties please be careful of the trend in the sleeveless top and the skirt above your knees, which is often not the best parts of your body! But what the hell! You can be whoever you want and then change to another style the next day!