Creating an "aura of wonder" or a "transporting" experience will enable fashion brands to connect with 21st-century shoppers swimming in more information than they can negotiate — in many cases information they themselves are constantly scoping out on cell phones, personal digital assistants and other portable technologies, forecast brand image developer Cheryl Swanson.
"Daydreaming, fantasy and sleeping are things we need more of," as we move from an information age into an age of imagination, advised Swanson, principal partner in Toniq. Fashions most likely to succeed in this environment, she projected, are those that "transcend function and looking cool, and take you to a new place, almost like costuming. Not a uniform. And not all black."
Others, including futurist Faith Popcorn, think it's apparel and accoutrements that are absent logos and offer clean styling — "things you can wear year-round" — that are most likely to fly with consumers this year and she points to a renewed interest in classic brands, from Cadillac to Lego, as evidence. "The plainer brands are going to have a chance," said Popcorn, chief executive officer of marketing consultant Faith Popcorn's BrainReserve.
The interest in classics and the onset of a phenomenon Popcorn calls "life rage" — a sense things have fallen apart on us suddenly — are underpinning and foreshadowing what she sees taking shape as a "whisper" world view. Against the backdrop of a roller-coaster stock market, new job woes, a troubled housing market and the war in Iraq, she expects brands to fare well by "taking themselves out of the clutter and noise...and whispering in our ears to be heard above the roar of the mediascape."
"Classics are a bridge to that," Popcorn noted. "They have a lot of equity with the consumer and don't have to yell."
Following are some of the things trend forecasters and marketing executives think are most likely to influence fashion consumers this year.
Irma Zandl, president of trend forecaster The Zandl Group: "I expect women to add a luxurious touch to their personal style, like a luxurious fabric; things that feel a little richer, nicer in an eclectic way. I expect guys to keep getting a little more dressed up — an Obama effect. With the economy not doing so well, they may feel they need to put on a little more professional look."People are trying to search out things that are authentic — things that reflect themselves. Mallification has hit the wall. The fact [so many] stores carry the same thing has started to become tiresome. Has the day of the 1,500-store chain run its course? Is it time for the 200-store chain? It always has to start with the consumer."
Drew Neisser, chief executive officer, Renegade Marketing: "In a slowing economy, the haves will look for less ostentatious design in which the quality is on the inside, but not as visible on the outside. In other words, it's time to hide the fur. Turn the coat inside out so you know you've got fur, but the world doesn't. Burberry is among the high-end brands that might do well, since their signature plaid is often on the inside. Prada bags that don't say Prada is another example. High-style, lower-cost brands like H&M and Uniqlo will continue to do well.
"Green will move from being a fringe consideration to a priority for many fashion brands. Brands that are green and fashionable will have an advantage over brands that are simply fashionable or green. If two brands are seen as design and price equals, the tie will be broken by the brand perceived to be greener. Marks & Spencer is offering a 5-pound [$10] coupon to customers who bring in used clothes, which is a great way to get shoppers back into their stores and to make a brand statement."
Kiwa Iyobe, independent trend analyst: "Quality versus quantity. Built-to-last, collector editions versus disposables. One good pair of shoes that will last five years, versus 20 cheap pairs you wear a few times. More companies focusing on a single product or product category, like a high-quality cotton shirt or bespoke tuxedos. Pricy, specially packaged, collector editions, like Radiohead's "In Rainbows" CD, vinyl records, artwork, lyric booklets and hardback book, slipcased together for $85.
"So many fashion brands do too much these days — clothing, fragrance, beauty, optical. So brands specializing in perfecting one product category are very appealing. High-quality brands like Patagonia, which makes fairly indestructible outdoorsy gear, have benefited from consumers willing to pay more for something long lasting (a $175 fleece jacket) that doesn't necessarily scream luxury."Faith Popcorn, ceo, Faith Popcorn's BrainReserve: "I expect whisper brands, brands that become more subtle and intimate, to be a growing influence, such as Muji, a name that means unbranded [in Japanese], and Uniqlo.
"First, brands told us what to do. Second, we made certain brands our own. Now, I think we're going to get sick of being a brand person — thinking, 'I'm a Nike person' — and respond to brands that whisper."
Breaking News: @louisvuitton's men's artistic director @mrkimjones is leaving the French fashion house after nearly 7 years. Jones joined Louis Vuitton in 2011, following a three year tenure as creative director of British luxury goods brand Alfred Dunhill. Jones is to exit Louis Vuitton after showing his fall 2018 collection for the brand in Paris on Thursday. Read the full exclusive story on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
For men’s fall 2018, @giuseppezanotti drew on elements from streetwear, sport, biker, combat and rock ‘n’ roll. Pictured here are a pair of shoes from the collection, featuring zippers, rhinestones, and silver hardware. Head to WWD.com to see a roundup of the accessories from Milan’s men’s fall 2018 shows. #wwdfashion (📷: Andrea Delb)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of @ralphlauren’s snowboarding collection, the brand is mining its archives. The iconic brand is reintroducing vintage styles and dropping new designs for a color capsule that will be available in Ralph Lauren stores and @openingceremony on January 25. The capsule will consist of 10 pieces, including the Snow Beach Pullover, pictured here, which is a collector’s item that rapper Raekwon wore in Wu-Tang Clan’s “Can It Be All So Simple” video. #wwdfashion (📷: Tom Gould)
For @rochasofficial’s pre-fall 2018 collection, creative director Alessandro Dell’Acqua channeled the sophisticated and intriguing Catherine Denevue in the film “Belle de Jour.” Polished collarless coats, midi skirts, suits and ’60s graphic motifs were all featured in the collection, adding a sense of discreet luxury. See the rest of the photos on WWD.com #wwdfashion
“We tried to produce clothing of that couture quality, but the most daunting part was that we only had a matter of days [to do it],” said costume designer Lou Eyrich, who recreated Gianni Versace’s iconic looks for @americancrimestoryfx. Eyrich searched online retailers and vintage shops for original pieces from the design house and for @penelopecruzoficial, who plays Donatella Versace. Head to WWD.com to read how she created the Versace world. #wwdfashion
Only three months after her stellar debut catwalk season, @kaiagerber has inked her first big design collaboration –– with @karllagerfeld. The collection blends Lagerfeld’s Parisian chic aesthetic and the model’s signature West Coast casual style via RTW, accessories, footwear and more. The #KarlLagerfeldxKaia collection will launch in September with a series of events. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews