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Terminology, Theory, TRENDS

Trickle-Down Theory

The Trickle-Down Theory (Veblen, 1899 & Simmel, 1904):

fashion is a process of emulation by which new fashion passes from the upper class to the lower and in their descent, fashions are vulgarized and a new fashion cycle starts…..

Now at the time, we’re talking about the turn of the 20th century, the ‘social classes’ was an extremely prominent deciding and identifying factor of society. In basic English, the process starts at the top, which during this time was the rich, as clothing was made individually for each client by a dressmaker. In today’s society, many people assume that this is the catwalk designers but for colour, this is actually the Paris Colour Council.

Unfortunately not a lot is known about it other than the industry leaders make it up and they decide colours around 4 years before the actual season begins. The information discussed and created within this council is a closely guarded secret and information then starts to trickle down to luxury cloth manufacturers in order to be ready for the designers to craft. For design and theme however, this of course is somewhat dictated by a colour palette, but of course designers will create collections that they choose by selecting the fabrics and colours that are available and they want.

These are then shown on catwalk shows, department stores then stock these designer clothes and lower end retailers use their own designers to both predict the trends coming up and when the catwalk shows are released, they are also used to create ‘fast fashion’ collections.

This process is wide-spread a covers all sorts of retail, from value to mature end clothing, sportswear and of course the young and trendy shops. partly this is due to the manufacturing of cloth and available fabrics and yarn.

Have a listen to the rat from The Devil Wears Prada film in 2006. Whilst some of this film is a complete fabrication of the truth, this little rant by Gwen Close is actually pretty bang on…… click the links below.

The Blue Sweater Irony

or watch it on YouTube: The Blue Sweater Irony

If you want an example of this process, have a look at some catwalk pictures from the web. Let’s say the catwalks in February 2013. One of the major colours throughout was shades of true purple. I will make a prediction that come August/September when the new clothing ranges come out for winter, there will be purple everywhere. But you can test it now. If you are honing your trend prediction skills, have a look at what is in store right now and work backwards. Try to link the shapes, colours, prints and fabrics you see in store with the designs for SS13 (catwalks back in October 2012)

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  1. Pingback: Spotting a ‘Move On’ Skills | trend prediction - May 2, 2013

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