Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Let's Talk About: Spotting Fashion Trends

Trend Spotting

Where do ideas for a popular trend come from? Designers look to many sources when researching trends. Some subscribe to predictive services that show trends based on several areas of research. Once a designer understands trend predictions, the next step is to adapt a new trend style for the their customer base.

Shopping the market:

The fastest way to see what is happening right now is to shop where mass produced apparel is sold. This is called “shopping the market”. When doing this, the designer can focus on specific apparel types. Fashion trends are often sold first by small boutiques, online stores or vintage shops. By looking at what these stores are selling, a forecast for future trends can be possible. Often, the term "cool hunting" is used to define this process.
Examples: boutique shopping in cities, flea market shopping, vintage shopping online

World Fashion and Fashion media:

New York, Paris, Milan, Tokyo and other international fashion cities present shows worldwide each season. These shows are watched by industry professionals and the media. They are looking for new styles, colors and silhouettes that could be influential to the current market. This information can be sent to designers who subscribe to trend reports by predictive services.

Predictive services package reports that show what they observed during market week or on the streets in cities around the world. This time-sensitive information is costly, but it’s often the only way that designers located outside of the fashion centers can get the latest fashion information. The consumer will see similar information in fashion blogs and later in glossy fashion magazines such as Vogue, Elle and others. Online reports happen more quickly than print media and are often the first to report styles to the public.
Examples: fashion web sites, fashion magazines, designer web sites

Regional subgroups:

Some trends develop in specific cities or global regions where apparel may be worn by those who are experimenting with fashions. An example would be that many designers of young men’s wear look at the surf and skate trends that develop along the coast of Southern California. The surf culture there is often inventive with apparel, adapting existing styles to create new ones. The climate allows this group to wear and experiment year round. These fashions are often produced first locally by small companies or individuals long before they reach the mass production stage.
Examples: Surf culture, ski culture, resort fashions

Social groups and Street fashion:

Major events are occasions for observing trends and forecasting styles. Often trend research looks at “early adopters”. These are people who experiment with fashion and want to explore new and unusual styles. Large cultural events such as Coachella, a music festival held each spring in the California desert, showcase new trends as worn by the people attending this event. Because of the normally warm weather, this event is often used to predict new trends for spring and summer. Club scenes, celebrity awards shows, and events where early fashion adopters attend are locations where designers look for trends.
Examples: the Oscars, Music awards, Music festivals, Rockabilly car culture, Club culture


Sometimes a media event can start a trend. A popular movie can create a demand for a specific style, accessory or silhouette. An early example of this was in 1933. A wildly popular formal dress was designed by Gilbert Adrian for Joan Crawford to wear in the movie “Letty Lynton”. That dress captured the public’s imagination and copies were sold in huge numbers following the release of the movie. Another example in the 1990’s was a “Y” necklace seen on “Friends”. This was a fast trend that was quickly copied. More recently, “Mad Men” as created a demand for late 1950’s and early 1960’s fashion styles for both men and women’s apparel.
Examples: movies and television, stage plays and musicals, music videos, blogs

The Arts:

Gallery exhibitions can generate new interest in styles from the past or regional costume and textiles. The Metropolitan Museum’s 2003 exhibit: the Goddess, the Classica Mode, created an awareness of Ancient Greek and Roman fashion influences. This sparked a revival of Grecian inspired gowns in contemporary fashion.
Examples: recent exhibitions on Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, YSL, the 1700's and others

Political and Economic trends:

Large political events can bring attention to the fashions being worn. Jackie O’s wardrobe during the 1960’s is a good example of how influential a political figure can be on fashion trends. But politics can also affect consumer awareness. The trend towards organic fibers and dyes has political overtones. It affects the culture and economy. This is an example of how a political concern: reduce waste and chemicals in production, can create a demand in fashion. Politics also brings different cultures and cultural types into the public eye. Seeing unusual apparel can inspire early adopters to try new styles. Military inspired trends usually arise from political events in the media.
Examples: “green” production, military wear, wearing American produced apparel

Trend Reports

Overall; research such as this requires time, expense and expertise. As a result, most designers subscribe to predictive forecasting services that do this work for them. The service will send a team to a location where trends have been known to appear. They photograph what people are wearing there. Sometimes forecasters report on what is being sold at boutiques in major urban areas worldwide. These photos are evaluated and selected to show what they feel are important looks.

The forecast report may take the form of a book, online photo library or video showing people “on the street” wearing the trends predicted. These are often sent out by season. Because of their exclusivity, the public cannot buy these reports. Some services release their information after the major market week for that season, when the information is no longer top secret.

Many design houses subscribe to the same trend forecasting services and they are shown the same looks. If designers choose the same trends to follow, the customer will see this as a strong style trend when it reaches the market. This is how a fashion style will seem to suddenly appear in stores. Most likely it was a strong trend prediction, so many design businesses went in that direction.

Some designers do not use trend forecasting services because their target customer will not want to wear a popular trend. Sometimes these are avant garde customers looking for totally new looks. Other customers don’t want to wear new and unusual styles. Often they have a strong style sense that does not change. These are often termed “missy” customers. They want to wear apparel that is accepted and on trend, but not innovative or unusual. In general, missy customers shop women’s departments at moderate department stores or budget priced apparel sources such as Wal-Mart, JCPenney, and Sears.
Examples: Interfiliele, Trendstop, WGSN, and others (see Fashion Trendsetter.com for free reports)

If you were a predictive service, where would you be looking for new trends? Can you see new style ideas in any of the museum shows now on exhibit? Start a resource link list to major sources such as; museums, entertainment media, magazines, street style blogs, and other places where you can spot trends in the making.

How do designers come up with new ideas? Now that we can see where fashion trends are sourced, next week we’ll look at how original fashion ideas are formed and where designers go to get new ideas.

This original article on spotting fashion trends is part 2 of a series on fashion design that are posted weekly here at Pintucks. The contents of this article are the intellectual property of this blog. Please do not copy any content to another blog or digital media without contacting me first. I will ask that you link back to this article and give reference to this source within your feature. If you are using content for a research paper or project, please link back to this page in the traditional academic format, thank you!

Monday, July 30, 2012

A New Look at Paper Dolls

Some of the best times that I spent during summer vacations growing up was cutting out paper dolls. Eventually we would draw our own using crude crayons to create simple, but original fashion designs.

I still love looking at paper dolls and wonder if you too have noticed the current trend in new paper dolls? Some of the nicest are drawn by Danielle Meder and posted on her blog. She has a gorgeous set of Vionnet designs there if fashion history is your thing.

If you're looking for current fashion trends, check out: final fashion.ca to see more of this Naomi Campbell set.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Let's Talk About: Fashion Design

Fashion Design? Lately it seems like almost everyone has ideas for a fashion line or business. And why not, since the media showcases fashion entrepreneurs and designers for us to see up close and personal, and it looks pretty easy to do. But I think there's room for a little information here. Something to explain 'what's going on' in a way that makes the industry a little bit easier to understand.

So, I am going to be posting topics each week that relate to fashion design and merchandising. The information here will be similar to what you would get if you were enrolled in a fashion course at a college or trade school. Maybe this is something you would love to do, but don't have the access, time or money to achieve. Well, drop by each week and I'll have a new topic for you to read up on. Who knows, maybe you'll jump right in and start your own business some day, but you'll be a bit more prepared after reading these articles.

To start, I thought that we should all take a look at how fashion evolves. I hope it answers your questions about where fashion styles come from and how can you find out 'what's next' in fashion.

Fashion Cycles

How does fashion change and evolve? One of the terms used is to call a new style a trend. A trend occurs when a shoppers like a similar silhouette with the same type of details, color and fabric. When they wear this new look often, it becomes a trend.

How long does a trend last? That can vary. Some classics can last ten years or more. Flashy and unusual trends may be fads. These short lived trends are wildly popular for only a year or so. In general, fads are worn by younger shoppers who do not require durable, long lasting investment clothing. They are happy with very affordable styles that can be worn immediately, then discarded at the end of the season.

A trend can be viewed as a cycle that usually has a bell shape curve. On the lower left end we can see the trend when it is worn by only a few people. As it becomes popular, the curve arches to the maximum number of people who like this trend. Then as time goes by, this trend begins to fade away. This is often because it has saturated the market place and has become very cheaply imitated. A saturated market is a sign for more upscale retail buyers to stop carrying this trend. It will eventually drop to a discount price range, and be available widely before dropping from the market entirely.

Fashion Trend Stages:

Introduction: The start of new trend when it is worn by fashion innovators.

Growth: The development of this trend by fashion leaders and high end stores.

Peak Saturation: When the trend is most popular and widely available at all stores.

Decline: The trend looks tiresome and dated to most consumers.

How do fashion buyers and designers know when a trend is going to be popular? Most fashion industry offices subscribe to trend services. A trend service will complete a wide range of surveys before each season to determine what trends are gaining popularity. This includes looking at not only social scenes, but viewing other cultural effects such as the economy, politics, and current events. Technological advancements also affect apparel, introducing new textiles, colors and trims.

Traditionally, haute couture fashion in Paris was designed for a wealthy customer with a high social status. As fashion developed each year, the older clothing was handed off to her staff or servants. They would wear those second hand styles later, when it was no longer important fashion. The practice of providing new fashion styles only to the wealthy was maintained by the couture system. This was an expensive and time consuming practice for the customer. With the invention and adoption of photography, modern print media, film and television, and the internet, current fashion information has become available to everyone.

Although the traditional haute couture market in Paris is still very expensive, today styles are also derived from other sources such as media events, sports and celebrity endorsements. The traditional method was called the trickle down theory, meaning that styles would trickle down from the upper classes to the lower classes. During the late 1960’s this system was broken by a large young consumer group who designed and made their own looks, independent of Paris and New York designers. Today you will find the trickle down theory still happening when we spot high priced styles being copied and sold at lower prices. These items are called knock offs and are important styles for many mid-range and low priced retailers.

In looking at new styles, most apparel companies like to keep certain styles that will be popular with their loyal customers for more than one season. These are called staples because they are always available. Having staple products is an important feature of brand recognition.

Once a fashion designer understands the current trends in the market, the next step is to research and adopt a trend for their collection.

In thinking about this, have you noticed any new trends lately? The flip-side is to spot out-going trends or styles that seem dated and tired. Keeping an eye on these in your daily life will start to train your design sense to notice new looks when they crop up.

Next time I'll look at where these ideas can come from. What sources do designers use to come up with their ideas? That will be the focus next week. I hope you like this new series of mine on fashion and design. Feel free to request topics for future articles, I'm open to what you might want to learn about or discuss.

The contents of this article are the intellectual property of this blog. Please do not copy any content to another blog or digital media without contacting me first. I will ask that you link back to this article and give reference to this source within your feature. If you are using content for a research paper or project, please link back to this page in the traditional academic format, thank you!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

1949 - 1980 Fashion Video

Women's Fashions, Year by Year: 1949 - 1980 by Wallygreeninker

When I was a kid, old fashioned movies were shown at school on rainy days and for special events, here's a fun 'movie' that's perfect for a hot afternoon. (enjoy!)

This video is a great overview of fashion history from 1949 to 1980, slowly progressing from one strong look to the next as the years roll by. Lasting more than 6 minutes, it shows 4 frames or slides for each year during this 30 year period. The images are of popular styles and give a good overview of the 1950's, 60's and 70's.

Dagmar: Fashion Illustratior

Dagmar Freuchen-Gale, was a fashion illustrator for ‘Vogue’ and ‘Harper’s Bazaar’ magazines during the 1940’s and 50’s.

She was born Dagmar Muller, 1908 in Denmark. Trained as an artist in Europe, she arrived in New York in 1938 where she would later find work as a fashion illustrator. In addition to her artwork, she taught for 20 years at the Art Students League until the late 1960’s when she returned to Denmark to retire.

Her first husband was killed in the Second World War. Following that, in 1945 she was famously married to the Danish Arctic explorer Peter Freuchen. The couple is captured in a well known photo by Irving Penn with her husband wearing a massive fur costume. She lived in Connecticut from 1945 until 1963 (Freuchen had died in 1957) in a house that overlooked the sea.

In addition to being an illustrator and teacher, she was a cook who prepared exotic dishes. Dagmar wrote a cook book titled “Cookbook of the Seven Seas” in 1968. The title of this book being a parody of a piece with a similar title by Freuchen. From 1961 - 1969 she was married to New York lawyer Henry Gale. By the early 1970’s she had returned to Denmark where she lived until she passed away in 1991.

Editorial illustrations, Spring 1957

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Dorothy O'hara: California Fashion Designer

“Makes women look nice and men look twice” Magazine advertisement, 1957: crepe in black, taupe, royal blue, $55
Dorothy O’hara was a Hollywood designer whose dresses were popular from the early 1940’s through the early 1960’s. During her career she designed movie costume as well as fashionable dresses that were sold a better stores nationwide.

Dorothy was part of an energetic fashion group calling themselves the “California Fashion Creators”. It included Pat Premo, Addie Masters, James Galanos, Edith Small, Charles Cooper, Tabak, and DeDe Johnson.

She was known as the “Sculptress in Fabric” for her dresses that featured artistic drape and fit. The dress styles were termed “step in”, referring to the fact that they were all-in-one with a zipper up the back, making the dresses easy to wear. She also designed crepe dresses that looked like suits, but were in fact one piece (1954).
Newspaper Advertisement, Fall 1945: crepe in blue, purple, green, sizes 10 – 16, $35

Dorothy began her career as a fashion model, a slim girl with red hair she would spend her life working with fabric and fashion. To learn pattern making, she studied at night while working as a model during the day. This training would gave her a opportunity to design for the company where she modeled.

As a movie costumer between 1945 and 47, she designed for starlets at Paramount, gaining experience in creating dramatic designs. She began her own fashion business in 1941 with her husband Hank Lunney, borrowing $800 using their car as collateral. This first venture was a line of six dresses that were produced on only two sewing machines that they bought and installed in their apartment in Los Angeles. She hoped to create couture style dresses in a production line.

By the end of her career, it was a multi-million dollar business sold internationally, producing between 400 and 600 dresses a day.

During her career she contributed numerous fashion tips that were carried in the local press. This marketing strategy would keep her name in the press and on the mind of her customer. In 1949 she recommended a slim skirt with peplum over the hips to create curves in a thin figure and conceal extra curves in larger sizes. She would produce sizes 12 through 20 to provide fashion for larger women as well as the fashionably petite.

Dorothy married to Lunney in about 1934 at the age of about 22. She lived in Orange County most of her married life and died in 1963 at the young age of 51.

“I like to think my clothes are both timely and timeless” (1960)

Movie costumes(She worked on several films with Alan Ladd): Variety Girl (1947. with Edith Head and Waldo Angelo), The Imperfect Lady (1947, with Gile Steele), Calcutta (1947), The Searching Wind (1946, with Michael Woulfe), Two Years Before the Mast (1946), The Unseen (1945), Salty O’Rourke (1945)

Television: Dick Van Dyke Show (My Husband is a Check Grabber: 1963, fashions by O’hara are seen in this episode)

Copyright, 2012: The written content and pictures in this article are the sole property of "Pintuckstyle.blogspot.com". Please do not copy or use any part of this article online without prior permission. If including information from this article in an original written document, please give credit by linking back to this article, thank you.