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.
Let’s be real: no customer wants to pay more for clothing. Outside of celebrities who are expected to tout the latest and most expensive brands, people want their clothing to be affordable. Hence, the popularity of “fast fashion”: clothes that are produced quickly, sold cheaply, and can be thrown out without the consumer experiencing any guilt. While these clothing option may not hurt when you look at the price tag, they’re coming at a bigger cost than most people realize.
Some examples of a lack of sustainability in fashion include the water waste produced by the denim industry, and Singapore’s 150,000 tons of textile and leather waste. Fashion in Asia is growing at an impressive rate. It’s more important than ever that countries like Singapore, Japan, China, and others cut down on waste. Student Maria Cruz, a fashion marketing major, said, “You think you have to save electricity, save oil, save water, but nobody thinks about saving your clothes.” Changing this frame of mind is part of a huge upcycling project she’s a part of at Raffles College.
The fashion industry is one of the top global polluters. When people think of pollution, they think of leaking oil rigs, landfills full of plastic bottles, and factories pouring thick smog into the atmosphere. People don’t think about the textiles they’re wearing, which take tons of water to produce and often lead to that water—full of bleaches, dyes, and contaminants—getting dumped into waterways. Farmers in India “joked” that they could tell what dyes were trending based on what colors the rivers were turning. If that doesn’t turn your stomach, then you’re not paying attention.
So, what is the solution? Some brands have been turning to “slow” fashion to combat the problem. Instead of churning out design after design, they focus on making fewer, higher quality pieces using more sustainable practices. Innovations in technology have helped, such as the breakthroughs in lasers that have revolutionized how denim is weathered. Another solution is for consumers to buy less and choose better quality items from ethical brands. We need to empower customers to research who they’re buying from and also convince brands that being ethical is the best way to earn business.
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.
Trends in the fashion industry are constantly changing. It’s important to stay abreast of these developments and drifts in order to secure a piece of the ever-expanding market share. When big shifts take place, such as the ones that are occurring right now, staying ahead of the curve can mean the difference between growth and stagnation, or even critical loss. Considering how readily available the Internet has made information about sales figures and trends, it’s easier now than ever to prepare your business for the future of fashion.
Important highlights in the industry right now include the fact that expanding markets are on pace to outsell the West. A crucial tipping point appears in the form of footwear and apparel sales, more than half of which are set to take place in locations other than North America and Europe in the coming years. The gravity of this shift is already apparent but will become more so with time as it affects designs and sales. A lack of predictability has become the new norm, thanks to political and economic turmoil, so pay attention to the factors that can be controlled and accounted for.
On the topic of the Internet, online shopping is in its heyday. Every time experts think it’s reached its peak, entire new mountains of data appear. Consumers today are obsessed with their smart phones. The cruciality of having a working, digital interface for your customers to interact with can’t be overemphasized. Paying attention to what costumers want, and, more importantly, giving it to them, will differentiate winners from losers in an increasingly winner take all market. The digital obsession is here to stay. Make it work for your brand.
Tying into the above as well is the unstoppable power of globalization, which has not been curtailed by a rise in nationalism. Ideas are still changing hands across borders, and that’s not going to change. Advances in technology are also crucial, from the rise of AI, to innovations in sustainability. Customers respond to ethical practices, and going green is both a good way to demonstrate credibility and to save on production costs. Finally, personalization is on pace to rise in popularity. The customer who wants it all responds to personalization.
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.
Since the advent of the Internet, it has revolutionized fashion, industry, and the way people shop. It has changed everything from where people spend money to their standards for buying products. Another enormous effect it’s had is to inversely affect the number of online stores versus brick and mortar stores. Now is the time to make plans for how to grow in a market that is constantly changing and evolving.
More and more people are shopping online, and as a result, there’s an inverse relationship between digital and physical stores. As the former grows, the latter shrinks. What does this mean for the fashion industry and for designers? Many things. It means retailers must consider the advantages of having online stores only: there is no store front to maintain and fewer concerns about loss and liability. These are attractive options for anyone who may be considering starting up, as it can save money to sell products online. The stores that adopt an omnichannel strategy empower customers to shop however and whenever they choose.
Thanks to e-commerce, customers no longer have to put as much effort into shopping. Gone are the days when they had to select a store, travel to it, sift through products by hand, make purchases, and then bring their selections home. Now, they can see your entire catalog with a click and make their choices quickly and easily. This benefits both customers and retailers, streamlining the process on both ends.
Social media is now a part of people’s day to day lives, which makes it a part of their shopping experience as well. The most obvious way it contributes is that if a person with clout declares their love of a brand or product on social media, people will see it and consider buying it. Also, thanks to “social proofing,” people now feel like once they’ve shared their new outfit on social media, it cannot be worn again. This has led to two important shifts: people are buying more clothing, but they are spending less on it.
Whether just starting up or preparing a new business model, these changes in the market and how consumers interact with it are paramount to coming out on top.