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."
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)