We have seen various types of fashion around us. How does it trend in the market? Who influences the trendy fashion and how does it spread around the world? Fashion trends are influenced by several factors including cinema, celebrities, climate, creative explorations, political, economic, social, cultural, and technological. Examining these factors is called a PEST analysis. Fashion forecasters can use this information to help determine the growth or decline of a particular trend. Fashion trends change daily, it can not stay unchanged. Different people in a different part of the world have different choices so fashion is someone’s choice, dream, and it is a cultural expansion too.
Not only did political events make a huge impact on fashion trends but also the political figure played a critical role in forecasting the fashion trend. For example, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy was a fashionable icon of the early 1960s who led the formal dressing trend. By wearing a Chanel suit, a structural Givenchy shift dress, or a soft color Cassini coat with huge buttons, it created her elegant look and led a delicate trend.
Furthermore, the political revolution also made much impact on the fashion trend. For example, during the 1960s the economy had become wealthier, the divorce rate was increasing and the government approved the birth control pill. This revolution inspired the younger generation to rebellion. In 1964, the leg-baring miniskirt has become a major fashion trend of the 1960s. Given that fashion designers began to experiment with the shapes of garment, loose sleeveless, micro-minis, flared skirts, and trumpet sleeves. In this case, the mini-skirt trend became an icon of the 1960s.
Moreover, the political movement built an impressive relationship with fashion trends. For instance, during the Vietnam war, the youth of America made a movement that affected the whole country. In the 1960s, the fashion trend was full of fluorescent colors, prints patterns, bell-bottom jeans, fringed vests, and skirt became a protest outfit of the 1960s. This trend was called Hippie and it is still affecting the current fashion trend. Rasta (3 colored striped bell-bottom) pants, caps were in the trend which has currently surfing to the market again.
Modern Technology plays a large role in most aspects of today’s society. Technological influences are growing more apparent in the fashion industry. Advances and new developments are shaping and creating current and future trends.
Developments such as wearable technology have become an important trend in fashion and will continue with advances such as clothing constructed with solar panels that charge devices and smart fabrics that enhance wearer comfort by changing color or texture based on environmental changes.
The fashion industry is seeing how 3D printing technology has influenced designers such as Iris Van Herpen and Kimberly Ovitz. These designers have been heavily experimenting and developing 3D printed couture pieces. As the technology grows, the 3D printers will become more accessible to designers and eventually consumers, which could potentially shape the fashion industry entirely.
Internet technology such as online retailers and social media platforms have given way for trends to be identified, marketed, and sold immediately. Styles and trends are easily conveyed online to attract trendsetters. Posts on Instagram or Facebook can easily increase awareness about new trends in fashion, which subsequently may create high demand for specific items or brands, new “buy now button” technology can link these styles with direct sales.
Machine vision technology has been developed to track how fashions spread through society. The industry can now see the direct correlation on how fashion shows influence street-chic outfits. The effects can now be quantified and provide valuable feedback to fashion houses, designers, and consumers regarding trends.
Military technology has played an important role in the fashion industry. The camouflage pattern in clothing was developed to help military personnel be less visible to enemy forces. A trend emerged in the 1960s and camouflage fabric was introduced to streetwear.
The camouflage fabric trend disappeared and resurfaced several times since then. Camouflage started to appear in high fashion by the 1990s. Designers such as Valentino, Dior, and Dolce & Gabbana combined camouflage into their runway and ready-to-wear collections. More effective technological fashion wares are continually introduced in the market day by day and it won’t stop creating some differences in the days to come.
Clothing is much more than fashion, it is a style of life an expression of one’s self. Social media is one of the biggest platforms to exhibit and connect fashion trends with millions of people all at once worldwide. Fashion trend goes beyond the aesthetic values, it emerges as an expressive tool for designers to deliver their message about society.
With the influence of social media, celebrities, and bloggers, their voice is easily being heard and have an impact on fashion and trend at any time. Fashion and music are inseparable. Prabal Gurung highlighted the importance of music to his shows, saying “each season we want to tell a story for 10 minutes…. the perfect harmony between cloths and music allows this”. Music is a representation of fashion that expresses the abstract design concept into relatable harmony for viewers.
Fashion relates to the social and cultural context of an environment. According to Matika, “Elements of popular culture become fused when a person’s trend is associated with a preference for a genre of music…like music, news, or literature, fashion has been fused into everyday lives.” Fashion is not only seen as pure aesthetic values; fashion is also a medium for performers to create an overall atmosphere and express their opinions altogether through music video.
The latest music video ‘Formation’ by Beyoncé, according to Carlos, “The pop star pays homage to her Creole root…. tracing the roots of the Louisiana cultural nerve center from the post-abolition era to present day, Beyoncé catalogs the evolution of the city’s vibrant style and its tumultuous history all at once. Atop a New Orleans police car in a red-and-white Gucci high-collar dress and combat boots, she sits among the ruins of Hurricane Katrina, immediately implanting herself in the biggest national debate on police brutality and race relations in modern-day.”
The runway show is a reflection of fashion trends and a designer’s thought. For designers like Vivienne Westwood, the runway show is a platform for her voice on politics and current events. For her AW15 menswear show, according to Water, “where models with severely bruised faces channeled eco-warriors on a mission to save the planet.”
Another recent example is a staged feminist protest march for Chanel’s SS15 show, rioting models chanting words of empowerment with signs like “Feminist but feminine” and “Ladies first.” According to Water, “The show tapped into Chanel’s long history of championing female independence: founder Coco Chanel was a trailblazer for liberating the female body in the post-WWI era, introducing silhouettes that countered the restrictive corsets then in favor.”
As we undergo a global economic downturn (when?), the “Spend now, think later” a belief is getting less relevant in our society. Today’s consumer tends to be more mindful about consumption, looking for just enough and better, more durable options. People have also become more conscious of the impact their everyday consumption has on the environment and society. They’re looking for ways to mediate their material desires with an aim to do more good in the world. A linear economy is slowly shifting to a circular one.
In today’s linear economical system, manufacturers extract resources from the earth to make products that will soon be discarded in landfills, on the other hand, under the circular model, the production of goods operates like systems in nature, where the waste and demise of a substance becomes the food and source of growth for something new. Companies such as MUD Jeans, which are based in the Netherlands employ a leasing scheme for jeans. This Dutch company “represents a new consuming philosophy that is about using instead of owning,” according to MUD’s website.
The concept also protects the company from volatile cotton prices. Consumers pay €7.50 a month for a pair of jeans; after a year, they can return the jeans to Mud, trade them for a new pair and start another year-long lease, or keep them. MUD is responsible for any repairs during the lease period. Another ethical fashion company, Patagonia set up the first multi-seller branded store on eBay in order to facilitate secondhand sales; consumers who take the Common Threads pledge can sell in this store and have their gear listed on Patagonia.com’s “Used Gear” section.
China’s domestic spending
Consumption as a share of gross domestic product in China has fallen for six decades, from 76 percent in 1952 to 28 percent in 2011. China plans to reduce tariffs on a number of consumer goods and expand its 72-hour transit visa plan to more cities in an effort to stimulate domestic consumption.
The announcement of import tax reductions follows changes in June 2015, when the government cut the tariffs on clothing, cosmetics, and various other goods by half. Among the changes easier tax refunds for overseas shoppers and accelerated openings of more duty-free shops in cities covered by the 72-hour visa scheme. The 72-hour visa was introduced in Beijing and Shanghai in January 2013 and has been extended to 18 Chinese cities.
According to reports at the same time, Chinese consumer spending in other countries such as Japan has slowed even though the yen has dropped. There is clearly a trend in the next 5 years that the domestic fashion market will show an increase.
Consumers all have different needs and demands that have to be suited. A person’s needs change frequently. An important factor to take into consideration when thinking of consumers’ needs is the key demographics of the customer. Gender, age, income, and even profession can help a company better understand the needs of their customers.
For example, a woman who is pregnant could be looking for diapers, baby strollers, and maternity clothes. Her needs would differ greatly from a woman with children that just went off to college or a teen entering high school.
Often consumers need to be told what they want. Fashion companies have to do their research to ensure they know their customers’ needs before developing solutions. Steve Jobs said, “You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work backward to the technology. You cannot start with the technology and try to figure out where you are going to sell it”.
The best way to understand the consumers’ needs and therefore predict fashion trends is through market research. There are two research methods: primary and secondary. Secondary methods are taking other information that has already been collected, for example using a book or an article for research. Primary research is collecting data through surveys, interviews, observation, and/or focus groups.
The benefits of primary research are specific information about a fashion brand’s consumer is explored. Surveys are helpful tools; questions can be open-ended or closed-ended. Negative factor surveys and interviews present are that the answers can be biassed, due to wording in the survey or on face-to-face interactions.
Focus groups, about 8 to 12 people, can be beneficial because several points can be addressed in depth. However, there are drawbacks to this tactic, too. With such a small sample size, it is hard to know if the greater public would react the same way as the focus group. Observation can really help a company gain insight into what a consumer truly wants.
There is less of a bias because consumers are just performing their daily tasks, not necessarily realizing they are being observed. For example, observing the public by taking street style photos of people, the consumer did not get dressed in the morning knowing that would have their photo taken necessarily. They just wear what they would normally wear. Through observation patterns can be seen, helping trend forecasters know what their target market needs and wants.
Knowing the needs of consumers will increase fashion companies’ sales and profits. Through research and studying the consumers’ lives the needs of the customer can be obtained and help fashion brands know what trends the consumers are ready for.
Fashion breathes on media and mediums. The media plays a significant role when it comes to fashion. For instance, an important part of fashion is fashion journalism. Editorial critique, guidelines, and commentary can be found on television and in magazines, newspapers, fashion websites, social networks, and fashion blogs.
In recent years, fashion blogging and YouTube videos have become a major outlet for spreading trends and fashion tips, creating an online culture of sharing one’s style on a website or Instagram account. Through these media outlets, readers, and viewers all over the world can learn about fashion, making it very accessible.
At the beginning of the 20th century, fashion magazines began to include photographs of various fashion designs and became even more influential than in the past. In cities throughout the world, these magazines were greatly sought after and had a profound effect on public taste in clothing. Talented illustrators drew exquisite fashion plates for the publications which covered the most recent developments in fashion and beauty. Perhaps the most famous of these magazines was La Gazette du Bon Ton, which was founded in 1912 by Lucien Vogel and regularly published until 1925 (with the exception of the war years).
Vogue, founded in the United States in 1892, has been the longest-lasting and most successful of the hundreds of fashion magazines that have come and gone. Increasing affluence after World War II and, most importantly, the advent of cheap color printing in the 1960s, led to a huge boost in its sales and heavy coverage of fashion in mainstream women’s magazines, followed by men’s magazines in the 1990s.
One such example of Vogue’s popularity is the younger version, Teen Vogue, which covers clothing and trends that are targeted more toward the “fashionista on a budget”. Haute couture designers followed the trend by starting ready-to-wear and perfume lines which are heavily advertised in the magazines and now dwarf their original couture businesses. A recent development within fashion print media is the rise of text-based and critical magazines which aim to prove that fashion is not superficial, by creating a dialogue between fashion academia and the industry. Examples of this trend are Fashion Theory (1997) and Vestoj (2009).
Television coverage began in the 1950s with small fashion features. In the 1960s and 1970s, fashion segments on various entertainment shows became more frequent, and by the 1980s, dedicated fashion shows such as Fashion Television started to appear. Fashion-TV was the pioneer in this undertaking and has since grown to become the leader in both Fashion Television and new media channels. The Fashion Industry is beginning to promote their styles through Bloggers on social media. Vogue specified Chiara Ferragni as “blogger of the moment” due to the rise of followers through her Fashion Blog, which became popular.
A few days after the 2010 Fall Fashion Week in New York City came to a close, The New Islander’s Fashion Editor, Genevieve Tax, criticized the fashion industry for running on a seasonal schedule of its own, largely at the expense of real-world consumers. “Because designers release their fall collections in the spring and their spring collections in the fall, fashion magazines such as Vogue always and only look forward to the upcoming season, promoting parkas come September while issuing reviews on shorts in January”, she writes. “Savvy shoppers, consequently, have been conditioned to be extremely, perhaps impractically, farsighted with their buying.”
The fashion industry has been the subject of numerous films and television shows, including the reality show Project Runway and the drama series Ugly Betty. Specific fashion brands have been featured in the film, not only as product placement opportunities but as bespoke items that have subsequently led to trends in fashion.
Videos, in general, have been very useful in promoting the fashion industry. This is evident not only from television shows directly spotlighting the fashion industry, but also movies, events, and music videos that showcase fashion statements as well as promote specific brands through product placements.
Public relations and social media
Fashion public relations involves being in touch with a company’s audiences and creating strong relationships with them, reaching out to media and initiating messages that project positive images of the company. Social media plays an important role in modern-day fashion public relations; enabling practitioners to reach a wide range of consumers through various platforms.
Building brand awareness and credibility is a key implication of good public relations. In some cases, great hype is built about new designers’ collections before they are released into the market, due to the immense exposure generated by practitioners. Social media, such as blogs, microblogs, podcasts, photo, and video sharing sites have all become increasingly important to fashion public relations.
The interactive nature of these platforms allows practitioners to engage and communicate with the public in real-time, and tailor their client’s brand or campaign messages to the target audience. With blogging platforms such as Instagram, Tumblr, WordPress, and other sharing sites, bloggers have emerged as expert fashion commentators, shaping brands and having a great impact on what is ‘on trend’. Women in the fashion public relations industry such as Sweaty Betty PR founder Roxy Jacenko and Oscar de la Renta’s PR girl Erika Bearman, have acquired copious followers on their social media sites, by providing a brand identity and behind the scenes look into the companies they work for.
Social media is changing the way practitioners deliver messages, as they are concerned with the media, and also customer relationship building. PR practitioners must provide effective communication among all platforms, in order to engage the fashion public in an industry socially connected via online shopping. Consumers have the ability to share their purchases on their personal social media pages (such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.), and if practitioners deliver the brand message effectively and meet the needs of its public, word-of-mouth publicity will be generated and potentially provide a wide reach for the designer and their products.
Anthropology, the study of culture and human societies, studies fashion by asking why certain styles are deemed socially appropriate and others are not. A certain way is chosen and that becomes the fashion as defined by certain people as a whole, so if a particular style has a meaning in an already occurring set of beliefs that style will become the fashion. According to Ted Polhemus and Lynn Procter, fashion can be described as adornment, of which there are two types: fashion and anti-fashion. Through the capitalization and commoditization of clothing, accessories, and shoes, etc., what once constituted anti-fashion becomes part of fashion as the lines between fashion and anti-fashion are blurred.
The definition of fashion and anti-fashion is as follows: Anti-fashion is fixed and changes little over time. Anti-fashion is different depending on the cultural or social group one is associated with or where one lives, but within that group or locality, the style changes little. Fashion is the exact opposite of anti-fashion. Fashion changes very quickly and is not affiliated with one group or area of the world but is spread out throughout the world wherever people can communicate easily with each other.
For example, Queen Elizabeth II’s 1953 coronation gown is an example of anti-fashion because it is traditional and does not change over any period whereas a gown from fashion designer Dior’s collection of 1953 is fashion because the style will change every season as Dior comes up with a new gown to replace the old one. In the Dior gown the length, cut, fabric, and embroidery of the gown change from season to season. Anti-fashion is concerned with maintaining the status quo while fashion is concerned with social mobility.
Time is expressed in terms of continuity in anti-fashion and as a change in fashion. Fashion has to change modes of adornment while anti-fashion has fixed modes of adornment. Indigenous and peasant modes of adornment are an example of anti-fashion. Change in fashion is part of the larger system and is structured to be a deliberate change in style.
Today, people in rich countries are linked to people in poor countries through the commoditization and consumption of what is called fashion. People work long hours in one area of the globe to produce things that people in another part of the globe are anxious to consume. An example of this is the chain of production and consumption of Nike shoes, which are produced in Taiwan and then purchased in North America.
At the production end, there is nation-building a hard working ideology that leads people to produce and entices people to consume with a vast amount of goods for the offering. Commodities are no longer just utilitarian but are fashionable, be they running shoes or sweatsuits.
The change from anti-fashion to fashion because of the influence of western consumer-driven civilization can be seen in eastern Indonesia. The ikat textiles of the Ngada area of eastern Indonesia are changing because of modernization and development. Traditionally, in the Ngada area, there was no idea similar to that of the Western idea of fashion, but anti-fashion in the form of traditional textiles and ways to adorn oneself were widely popular. Textiles in Indonesia have played many roles for the local people.
Textiles defined a person’s rank and status; certain textiles indicated being part of the ruling class. People expressed their ethnic identity and social hierarchy through textiles. Because some Indonesians bartered ikat textiles for food, the textiles constituted economic goods, and as some textile design motifs had spiritual religious meanings, textiles were also a way to communicate religious messages.
In eastern Indonesia, both the production and use of traditional textiles have been transformed as the production, use, and value associated with textiles have changed due to modernization. In the past, women produced the textiles either for home consumption or to trade with others. Today, this has changed as most textiles are not being produced at home. Western goods are considered modern and are valued more than traditional goods, including the sarong, which retains a lingering association with colonialism.
Now, sarongs are used only for rituals and ceremonial occasions, whereas western clothes are worn to church or government offices. Civil servants working in urban areas are more likely than peasants to make the distinction between western and traditional clothes. Following Indonesia’s independence from the Dutch, people increasingly started buying factory made shirts and sarongs. In textile-producing areas the growth of cotton and production of naturally colored thread became obsolete. Traditional motifs on textiles are no longer considered the property of a certain social class or age group. Wives of government officials are promoting the use of traditional textiles in the form of western garments such as skirts, vests, and blouses.
This trend is also being followed by the general populace, and whoever can afford to hire a tailor is doing so to stitch traditional ikat textiles into western clothes. Thus, traditional textiles are now fashion goods and are no longer confined to the black, white, and brown color palette but come in an array of colors. Traditional textiles are also being used in interior decorations and to make handbags, wallets, and other accessories, which are considered fashionable by civil servants and their families. There is also a booming tourist trade in the eastern Indonesian city of Kupang where international, as well as domestic tourists, are eager to purchase traditionally printed western goods.
The use of traditional textiles for fashion is becoming a big business in eastern Indonesia, but these traditional textiles are losing their ethnic identity markers and are being used as an item of fashion.
In India, traditional ceremonies such as weddings, feeding, and other religious festivals drive large numbers of individuals to fashionista. one’s wedding lehenga or any ornament and henna painted in the bride’s hands and feet could become trending fashion for a few days to a few years too.
In the fashion industry, intellectual property is not enforced as it is within the film industry and music industry. Robert Glariston, an intellectual property expert, mentioned in a fashion seminar held in LA that “Copyright law regarding clothing is a current hot-button issue in the industry. We often have to draw the line between designers being inspired by a design and those outright stealing it in different places.”
To take inspiration from other’s designs contributes to the fashion industry’s ability to establish clothing trends. For the past few years, WGSN has been a dominant source of fashion news and forecasts in encouraging fashion brands worldwide to be inspired by one another. Enticing consumers to buy clothing by establishing new trends is, some have argued, a key component of the industry’s success.
Intellectual property rules that interfere with this process of trend-making would, in this view, be counter-productive. On the other hand, it is often argued that the blatant theft of new ideas, unique designs, and design details by larger companies is what often contributes to the failure of many smaller or independent design companies.
Since fakes are distinguishable by their poorer quality, there is still a demand for luxury goods, and as only a trademark or logo can be copyrighted, many fashion brands make this one of the most visible aspects of the garment or accessory. In handbags, especially, the designer’s brand may be woven into the fabric (or the lining fabric) from which the bag is made, making the brand an intrinsic element of the bag.
In 2005, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) held a conference calling for stricter intellectual property enforcement within the fashion industry to better protect small and medium businesses and promote competitiveness within the textile and clothing industries.
There has been great debate about politic’s place in fashion and traditionally, the fashion industry has maintained a rather apolitical stance. Considering the U.S.’s political climate in the surrounding months of the 2016 presidential election, during 2017 fashion weeks in London, Milan, New York, Paris, and São Paulo among others, many designers took the opportunity to take political stances leveraging their platforms and influence to reach the masses.
Aiming to “amplify a greater message of unity, inclusion, diversity, and feminism in a fashion space”, Mara Hoffman invited the founders of the Women’s March on Washington to open her show which featured modern silhouettes of utilitarian wear, described by critics as “Made for a modern warrior” and “Clothing for those who still have work to do”.
Prabal Gurung debuted his collection of T-shirts featuring slogans such as “The Future is Female”, “We Will Not Be Silenced”, and “Nevertheless She Persisted”, with proceeds going to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and Gurung’s own charity, “Shikshya Foundation Nepal”. Similarly, The Business of Fashion launched the #TiedTogether movement on Social Media, encouraging members of the industry from editors to models, to wear a white bandana advocating for “unity, solidarity, and inclusiveness during fashion week”.
Nepalese Youths in Nepal have recently promoted their national identity by wearing a colorful traditional cap which was generally worn by Male only but for the cause female activists are also wearing for a day to symbolize their Nationhood and promote the identity as “Topi Diwas” on January 1st Every year since 2014.
Fashion may be used to promote a cause, such as to promote healthy behavior, to raise money for a cancer cure, or to raise money for local charities such as the Juvenile Protective Association or a children’s hospice.
One fashion cause is trashion, which is using trash to make clothes, jewelry, and other fashion items in order to promote awareness of pollution. There are a number of modern trashion artists such as Marina DeBris, Ann Wizer, and Nancy Judd.
In a brief, fashion is a trendy business which can be influenced by many factors. Nobody knows exactly when and how the new fashion trend would start and how long it will sustain in the society. What is your opinion about fashion trends? Please write your comments below.