For those of us who are dedicated followers of fashion, the announcement of London Modest Fashion Week as a new addition to the London fashion calendar is not a surprise. The first event of its kind in the British capital, the shows are scheduled for the 17th and 18th of February. The successful in the ever-changing fashion industry are those brands that act instead of react to trends; innovate instead of replicate.
Burberry 2016 . Burberry 2018 . Burberry 2018 RTW Runway
Burberry came out with their first Ramadan collection in 2016. The structured black high necked crepe dress with topstich detailing, introduced in 2016 is still available for sale on their current website. The enchanting gold metallic lamé silk dress, also by Burberry, is not specifically identified as modest fashion. Yet with a high neckline, long sleeves and a below-the knee hemline, many women, regardless of their religious beliefs could consider this a modest garment. The pretty ruffle details and fitted silhouette make this a flattering style as well as modest. Yesterday, February 17th, (as of this writing), Burberry showed their Spring 2018 Ready-to-Wear collection in London. Irreverent, wild, bursting with color, energy and nostalgia, this was Christopher Bailey’s final show for the brand. Did he have modest fashion in mind when he created this joyful collection? We will never know the answer to that question, but we did spot a number of ensembles which were covered up, yet immensely beautiful. So many top designers have chosen to offer garments which could venture into this category. And for good reason.
“Muslim consumer spending on clothing was estimated at $243 billion in 2015, or 11 percent of the global total on apparel, according to the 2016 State of the Global Islamic Economy, from Thomson Reuters,” as reported by cbsnews.com.
DKNY first introduced a Ramadan collection in 2014. Simplified and sleek, devotees of all cultures could have applauded the minimalist designs. Remove the hijab head scarf and this modern ensemble could move from the office to a dinner engagement. Add the hijab and women who cover their head for religious reasons could be comfortable as well as stylish. Donna Karan continues to offer modest dresses in 2018.
DKNY 2014 DKNY 2018
Dolce & Gabbana introduced their first collection of hijabs and abayas targeted to Muslim customers in the Middle East in 2016. The offerings were lovely, feminine and iconic D&G. The most recent Dolce & Gabbana Spring/Summer 2018 collection also offered long feminine dresses and jumpsuits, flowing florals, long sleeves and high, demure collars. Were they specifically focusing on the Muslim customer? The D&G business plan we don’t know. What we do know is that more and more important designer brands are offering an alternative to being exposed.
Dolce & Gabbana 2016
Dolce & Gabbana 2018
There is one thing we can all agree on…it’s nice to have a choice.
Fashion has always been an art form that breaks boundaries. The most successful designers are continually pushing the limits of their art form, asking “Why?” and then swiftly creating clothes before anyone can even answer. It makes sense, then, as we are thick in New York’s heralded Fashion Week, we’re seeing a reexamination of not only trends, but also the format in which those trends are presented. More and more, designers are abandoning the traditional fashion show and ushering in innovative ways to send their collections into the world.
This year, American sportswear designer Derek Lam gracefully bowed out of the traditional tent setting, opting instead for an intimate, invite-only luncheon at The Pool Room of the Four Seasons. While his equestrian-inspired pieces were still the main course, the niche fashion insiders in attendance were treated to a luxurious yet relaxed experience, meant to mimic Lam’s brand and clothes themselves.
Another notable example is fashion powerhouse Diane Von Furstenberg’s recent departure from the traditional girls-all-in-a-row setup. Instead, she opts to open the doors of her meatpacking district headquarters for an immersive fashion show experience, where models mingle as guests come and go as they please. Stacey Bendet, the designer behind Alice and Olivia, has long considered theatrical vignettes a more impactful way of presenting her collections. This year’s intimate, collegiate-inspired installation leaned heavily on the idea of educating the public on equal rights while simultaneously impressing everyone with her designs.
Perhaps the most innovative fashion shows this year happened somewhere completely unexpected – in the hands of everyone with a smartphone. A complete departure from the norm, designers turned the popular app Instagram into their own personal runway. Designer Lela Rose hand selected a group of fashion influencers to “debut” her collection on their personal Instagram pages. Kanye West took a similar approach with his notorious brand Yeezy, revealing his Season 6 Collection via hashtag in a series of posts from starlets, models, and socialites, all clad in his clothing.
The reason behind this departure from the time-worn fashion show is quite simple: the Internet has cut out the middle man between creator and consumer. In an age where anyone with a phone is a model and attention spans are shockingly short, standing out in the world of fashion is more difficult and more necessary than ever before. Whether that’s done through creating a profoundly intimate viewing experience or one that’s as accessible as tapping a hashtag, stale traditions have no place in our viral universe, meaning fashion presentations now have to be as fresh as the fashion itself.
The fashion industry continues to expand, and yet undeniably, some brands are cornering more of the market share than others. Why do some brands die out while other similar ones thrive? The answer lies almost entirely in marketing. Producing a quality product that fulfills an existing need is only one part of the process. You also have to get that product in front of the appropriate consumers and convince them to buy it. The key to that is both marketing and doing it correctly.
Being familiar with demographics is the first crucial step to getting your product seen by the people who need to see it. Sixty-six percent of active users on Instagram are between the ages of eighteen and thirty-four. If you’re targeting that age range for your product, Instagram is a good place for you to advertise. Facebook advertising, when used correctly, can garner many hits with surprisingly small budgets. Social media in general is a necessity these days for generating buzz about a brand. The more “sharable” the product, the better. Word of mouth hype can be generated by customers sharing photos of their latest buy. Free advertising is the best advertising, so it never hurts to make your ads share-friendly.
The strength of e-commerce is growing steadily. Consumers shop online more and more, so your Internet presence must be a show stopper. You also need a mobile site that’s user friendly, comprehensive, and professional looking. Clothing in particular is bought online, so if you want to start a brand identity or grow your current one, it’s essential to stay up to date with trends in online shopping. Other uses of technology that can grow your brand are as simple as having an email signature with your logo and a link to your website, and also producing an email newsletter.
Once your product has reached the correct potential consumers, there is one final important key to success: the customer has to like it. Word of mouth advertising is effective because people trust their loved ones. If a friend or family member speaks highly of your brand to everyone they know, that can be more effective than a paid ad. Customers respond to ethical business practices. Produce a great product, and the rest will follow.
The fashion industry has just taken a big step toward expanding its presence as a global entity. The Swiss, non-profit organization, the World Economic Forum, has a meeting every year in Davos in which the global economy is discussed. Academics, business owners, politicians, scientists, and other public figures arrive from around the world to attend, and the forum is considered one of the most important stomping grounds for hot button issues ranging from climate change to robots taking over the world. Fashion has landed a prominent spot on the forum’s agenda, and that means big changes are ahead. The industry has never had such strong foothold in this annual event before.
WEF organizers give fashion industry leaders an integrated presence in the overall agenda. Topics that are covered include initiatives to incorporate a circular economy that reduces waste and has less impact on the environment, as well as past talks on inclusion and disability by Irish activist and academic Sinead Burke. Previously, other speakers have included Chen Man, who is credited with revolutionizing Chinese fashion photography, and designer Stella McCartney.
The diversity of the speakers present at the forum is paramount to getting a well-rounded view of the increasingly worldwide fashion economy. Without the ability to share what’s happening right now in the industry, creativity would stagnant, profitability would be minimized, and growth would be capped. In other words: it’d be bad for business.
Truly, the World Economic Forum is a seismic event, and the fact that fashion gets to be a part of it at all—let along such an integral part—is a sign of just how much power the industry has come to hold. To be able to speak about the business and economic aspects of fashion in the same room as the world’s biggest leaders is a humongous step forward, one that can’t be overstated. As the industry continues to expand and develop, the ability to discuss its shortcomings—such as its environmental and social impacts—is essential to its continued growth. It’s also essential to tackling these issues, ensuring continued profitability and expanding market shares. Fashion is now speaking on a global stage, and it has a lot to say.
It’s no secret that the Brazilian fashion industry has been expanding. Hand over foot, it’s been gaining ground, and it’s projected that it will continue to do so in coming years. Like any business, the industry benefits from a process of imports and exports. Taking a closer look at the benefit of importing is integral to staying on the right side of this exponential growth. An increasingly global market not only demands it, but fashion itself is heavily rooted in cultural swaps and exchanging of ideas. In a sense, both products and inspiration have the potential to be imported.
The advantages of importing begin in one of the most important aspects of business: cost. Capital is the lifeblood of any industry, and having enough of it is the first and last decider of the success of a new business venture. Finding ways to reduce cost is always a wise idea, and importing from other countries can do that. Manufacturing textiles, accessories, and more at lower expenses in developing countries can offer many such cuts: in the cost of materials, labor, and production, just to name a few. Lower wages are sometimes paid to overseas workers, depending on the cost of living, so be sure to check that your production partners are engaging in ethical and humane practices.
The demand for fashion is driven by consumers, and consumers want to follow what’s trending and dress appropriately for every season. Since seasons are opposite between the Northern and Southern hemispheres, summer fashion can be imported ahead of time from countries like Brazil—which is famous for its beachwear—to supply North American demand. Conversely, the same can be said for imports into Brazil. Also, inexpensive versions of high-fashion looks can be produced abroad in order to appeal to multiple spending brackets.
Several factors are key to the successful use of imports: building a rapport with a reliable overseas partner, using intermediaries to expedite both communication and production—which in turn cuts down on losses from miscommunications—and also sourcing products from places where it is both ethical and economical to do so. This is the stepping stone that leads down the path to global trade.
Fashion has an undeniable tendency to reflect the social climate in which it was produced, but not always in the way you might think. Sometimes, instead of acting as a mirror, it’s more like a fantasy, or a wish fulfillment. In the past year, while the world was being rocked by hurricanes, deadly earthquakes, political turmoil, and social upheaval, fashion decided to lift the mood. It abandoned the bleak minimalism of past trends and instead embraced all things glitzy, glamorous, and whimsical. Now, as new looks come into vogue, we see it take another sharp turn toward a brighter, more optimistic future.
While it’s not possible to predict the industry perfectly, it’s clear some trends are here to stay. Sequins started cropping up on runways all over the world, and they’ve only been getting more popular as kirakira fashion takes over. Glitter is certain to be a hot look in the coming months. Time to embrace the glamor.
In the same vein, 80s fashion has been sweeping the world, influenced no doubt by the popularity of shows like Stranger Things. This heralds the return of punk, check patterns, and ironic chunky scrunchies.
Denim may be on its way out. In a way, it makes sense. Everything that can be done to a pair of jeans has been done, several times over. While we’re certain this fashion staple isn’t going to disappear entirely, a new contender has emerged: cargo pants. After hearing frequent complaints that women’s jeans don’t have usable pockets, it makes sense that cargo pants would become popular. They were seen strutting down runways in army green, khaki, and camouflage.
The floaty pink color—dubbed Millennial pink—that was the symbol of optimism in the past year has been replaced. Now, bold colors are in. Gone are the days when keeping your prints from clashing was of the utmost importance. Plaids are mashing with florals these days, in a range of bright, vibrant colors.
As we cast an eye toward the future of fashion, one thing is clear: customers aren’t just shopping for clothes these days. They’re shopping for hope and optimism. The brighter the clothing, the better. That is the most surefire way to stay up to date in the coming seasons.
Some people think modern society is obsessed with celebrities, and that this is a relatively new phenomenon driven by the prevalence of smartphones and Internet culture. In reality, this is a trend that began in the 1920s and 30s, with the rise of Hollywood, cinema, and movie stars. As much as costume designers attempted to recreate the fashion people were wearing at the time, consumers were also influenced by what glamorous Silver Screen stars were wearing both on and off screen. It’s necessary to keep an eye on what Hollywood is wearing in order to anticipate your customers’ needs.
Recently, Louis Vuitton debuted a graphic T-shirt from the popular science fiction show Stranger Things. It was sent down a runway while they showcased their new collection, and it was a prime example of Hollywood influences. The design on the shirt was a movie poster for the show that had been modeled after a famous 80s movie, Stand By Me. In this way, movies influenced pop culture and in turn influenced fashion. It’s also apropos to the trend of 80s fashion making a comeback right now. We can expect these designs to become increasingly in demand, especially as 80s fever takes over TV screens everywhere.
Movies and their stars will continue to influence fashion in the future, and so it is important to keep an eye on trends, what films are big in the box office, and what celebrities are considered trendsetters both on and off screen. This can affect both growth in sales and decline. Clark Gable, a popular leading man in the 1930s, was seen without an undershirt in It Happened One Night, and ironically enough, almost overnight the sale of undershirts plummeted. Paying attention to what isn’t hot in Hollywood can be as important as noticing what is, and it can save you from ending up with stock that won’t move.
The prevalence of the Internet makes is so that information travels faster than ever. It can also make it easier to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to watching Hollywood trends. Following celebrity news isn’t just good entertainment anymore: it’s good business sense.
All across the fashion industry, one word keeps popping up when designers, experts, and business owners alike discuss fashion trends in 2018: optimism. 2017 was a year of transformation, especially for the Brazilian market, and while there were growing pains and setbacks, all in all, it ended in healthy, sustainable growth. Now, with 2018 right around the corner, things are looking up, and with all the optimism going around, it’s certain to bring incredible changes.
It’s been said that 2018 is expected to be a watershed for the fashion industry, and the transformation couldn’t come at a better time. It is predicted that Asia will become a huge market in this year, with fifty percent of clothing and accessories purchases coming from places other than North America. That’s just one of the many changes coming fashion’s way. And it doesn’t just mean big things for Asia. This will impact the Latin American and Pacific markets as well. For the first time in a long time, the West won’t be the global stronghold it once was, making room in the industry for other regions to stake their claim.
2018 will also be the year of increasingly-demanding consumers. Customers have no shortage of ways to discriminate between products these days. In this age of digital shopping, buyers can hunt for the best bargains and sales in seconds, without ever leaving their homes. And with the popularity of online reviewing, they can make up their minds about a product before they’ve ever tried it on. It is predicted that the market will continue its trend of becoming a dichotomy between luxury and value items, furthering the divide between consumers.
Online sales will continue to grow at an exponential rate in the upcoming year, which presents unique challenges as customers become increasingly less brand loyal. The competition is fierce, and it’s getting fiercer. Price and quality are no longer the only factors that entice buyers. They also look for convenience, value, integrity, and if a company’s values align with their own. This will be a year where some people win, and some people lose, and the ones who are willing to take risks will undoubtedly win the spoils.