Fashion Style Autumn 2019

Some people feel more strongly than others and say it more loudly in their fashion choices; others are happier going along with what’s been said and done. Obviously, this is simplified but the connection between fashion and culture is extremely strong. This is what I find to be missing when a lot of people talk about trends – the absence of context that would then explain not only why the trend is happening but where it’s heading next. I’m not sure there are any tricks outside of paying attention, really paying attention.

Fashion Style Autumn 2019 Photo Gallery

I remind my students that although they think they can find everything online, they need to see things in the context in which they exist and that their internet browsers are developed to remember what they like and show them more of it. That also means going to check things out in person and seeing them for yourself. For example, there may be something special about a new store that a magazine article missed or exaggerated. I think people can learn to do forecasting. It’s pretty much expected as part of a job in most design-oriented positions. You’re not going to be good at it, though, if you can’t learn to pull back and ask the right questions. There are a few ways that trends can come about but it’s really about whether or not they actually get picked up and seen by people; without that they don’t even really exist. There are several factors in play and when you take the different points and put them together, you start to get a picture.

Knowing where to look and being able to determine what’s actually important and not just noise is part of that too. It’s always my objective to have people at least think differently and more critically whenever they hear or see the word ‘trend’. There’s also something to be said about whether you’re looking at short-term trends or bigger lifestyle trends, where you are keeping watch on the influence of economics, politics or cultural shifts. The role of confirmation bias or self-fulfilling predictions is a really interesting point, because back in the ‘olden days’ (pre-internet) we would meet with design or creative teams and discuss trends. Back then there would be a couple of main trends; everyone did them and the customer would buy them. There was definitely some confirmation bias as we had similar conversations with multiple brands about what was coming. We trend people were the secret source of information; no one talked about using trend services publicly. I’ve been a behind-the-scenes person pretty much my whole career. The other important element, though, was that we all tended to look at similar references – strong editorial stories, art exhibits and the runway played into inspiration much more directly as we couldn’t travel the world from our phones like we can now.

Influencers play an undeniably important role now in getting the information about trends in fashion out because of their huge followings. Partnered with fast fashion that creates ‘inspired by’ looks super quickly, an item can become a huge success right away. In fact, consumer publications work four months in advance, usually, so sometimes the looks or pieces almost seem late to the party when they’re shown. If you look at when a certain decade comes back into mode, it’s usually connected to a societal mood also known as the ‘zeitgeist’. For example, a rebellious spirit may bring back the ’70s; an exuberant economic state leads to fashions from the last time we felt like that and so it goes. But this is the first time that we have had several decades back in fashion at the same time. Part of that is because trends are working differently, but I continue to be disappointed that when something comes back from the past, it’s an almost literal version. I do remember when I was a teenager and raided my mum’s old clothes, my sister and I would change them, chop them up, and alter them somehow. We would make it individual. That’s not the case now.

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