It’s not impossible to see the evidence of a fashion trend, however, what’s intriguing is the multiplex ways it enters our day-to-day. With fashion week, pundits are calling out fresh trends at a dizzying rate. Though, how are we, the paltry consumer, supposed to know what will cling and what will slide off in our selective, overplayed world?
Though mostly explored within the template of fashion, trends subsist everywhere. They affect what we watch, see, read, eat and how we live. We’re not always cognizant when a trend is prevailing as they bubble up and simmer down, but these sluggish-moving swings in the manner we think and a culture’s worth system can affect our daily experience. Take meditation, for instance; once it was a fad for stressed, overworked millennials, but nowadays it’s an actual wave in the immense ocean of wellness.
Sara Maggioni, WGSN’s Director of Buying & Retail, claims: “It’s about spotting patterns and having a trained eye.” She says it is all about ‘constantly tracking what’s happening across art, product design, technology, fashion and identifying shifts, changes, patterns…be it in consumer attitudes, lifestyle or fashion trends.’ To spot the latest fashion trends, it’s suggested to study and analyze product(s) consistently. Track particular designers that are already established and newer names to see if there are patterns and similarities across their collections.
Providing you’d like to get more technical—you can use something called Catwalk Analytics, which looks at the cyclicity of certain items, details, and colors on a year-on-year basis. This will give trend-watchers such as yourself, an instant overview of the statistical decrease or increase in certain styles and shapes being given across a season. With such tools, you’ll learn that trends divide into two categories: micro and macro. “Macro Trends can have an influence for years as they are rooted in societal shifts [and] consumer behaviors,” Maggioni clarifies, “Fashion trends can also last years, but can also last a season only. I think if something has commercial potential and it is more connected to macro trends, so it’s more about a shift in mindset, then it can certainly last more than one season.”
Looking at the current fashion collections, one could observe that the movement towards tepid dressing – as shown at Gucci, Rejina Pyo, Roksanda and Erdem – is part of a switch in a commercial aesthetic that might be part of a broader behavior alteration. However, what makes a trend take flight? It needs to check three boxes commercially: ‘Is it new, but not shocking? Is it flattering? Is it affordable?’ Maggioni agrees, ‘some trends might stick around for a while because they might have commercial potential; but they are just a little too “new” and unfamiliar at first, so it takes a little while to become more palatable…therefore they are around for longer.’ Mules, for example, became universal thanks to Gucci and Instagrammers. ‘Initially, they felt fairly directional’, she explains, ‘but their heavy presence across key tastemaking publications, social media, etc., made them more palatable for mass adoption a couple of years after they first appeared.’
For a trend to take off it needs to be embraced by early adopters, who are society’s tastemakers and influencers. These folks have the power to make the ridiculously new, make sense. Maggioni furthers, “As the look starts becoming more familiar, the customer’s eye adjusts to it and slowly the customer gets ready for it. Some customers are ready before others; but generally for something to become mainstream it needs to feel familiar because people are then ready to embrace it.” But, once it’s been adopted by the masses, it hangs on an abyss of over-exposure.
A public figure can cause a trend to be adopted fast, however, those pushing the notion should be leery of ‘who is endorsing it.’ Trends no longer just dribble, they also tend to bubble up. Social media has drastically reshaped the way a trend is modeled and is seeded out; it’s distended the game. Not only are there now more players and a global forecast, but it permits Instagram-birthed brands, young designers and influencers to circumvent all the traditional channels. Hence, keep your eyes peeled on Facebook and Instagram pages that involve fashion.