What’s the Next Trend? (and other Fast Fashion Lies)
Just because people are buying a product doesn’t mean that it’s loved. People buy fast fashion mainly because its cheap and because socially (and legally!) they need to be clothed. But do they love what they are wearing? I doubt it.
The trend cycle is a bit dry at this time. Yeah, I know that the college kids are all about 90s inspired normcore. But as a 90s kid myself I’m just saying that its all been done before. And really how different is 90s fashion from 2019 fashion? Denim? Check. Exposed shoulders? Check. Sneakers worn with everything? Check. Leggings and skinny jeans became dominant when I was in college over ten years ago. They are still the dominant style. Where do we go from here?
You could pay a trend forecaster tons of money to tell you. They’ll just repackage the same trends and give them weird fashionista names. (My favorite was the “shacket” a.k.a. the “shirt jacket”).
Or designers can get from behind their desks and start observing the real world. As a designer, I was stuck behind my desk looking at trends on the web that were curated by trend forecasters and editors. For many years, my managers looked down on me citing trends from Instagram, Pinterest and Today Show for trends for my mass market customers. Well that’s where real people are. Designers need to see how real people are living their real lives.
Designers will come back with substantial information about real people’s lifestyles. This information will not lead to the safe, cheap styles that retailers have been used to peddling. People on the business side whether merchandising, sales or buying need to be open to what designers bring them. And really they should also be looking at how real people are living and buying. And that goes beyond reading WWD. It is more active than even looking at things in retail stores. Why look to places that are slowly fading anyway?
The concept of trend may need to change. Fashion will always have color and silhouette changes. But we live in a world that has gotten more democratic with people being insulated within their own lifestyles and interests. Trends don’t have to be for everyone. Some brands have already figured this out. And Republicans have totally figured it out about the country. Clothing sales may not need to be driven by trends. In the past, when strong shoulders were the trend then shoulder pads were put in EVERYTHING. Including my childhood Tweety Bird nightgown from Kmart. It doesn’t have to be that way. Maybe some of the market will embrace a resurgence of wide leg pants. And other parts of the market will stick to 1950s wasp waist styles year after year. In other words, look to clothing smaller groups of people based on their lifestyles.
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