So when is a trend, not a trend?
It’s interesting to note that with the lifecycle of a trend, there is this wave of innovation, then uptake where others start to include it; then mass where at the top of the wave, everyone has that fabric / colour / trim etc…. ; and then the downward slant, where those who came late to the party try and squeeze the last remaining sales or use out of the trend before it finally dies or goes into a move-on stage.
Honestly, after all of these years of predicting trends I can honestly say that if you aren’t in the know, right at the beginning, then really it’s all down to gut instinct. Of course though there are ways to improve your chances of being right.
If you’ve been paying attention, then you’ll know that I’ve been encouraging you to separate out the elements of print, colour, shape, fabric, and so on but also remember, very importantly, to get rid of the styling! As we all now know, this one gets even the most experienced trend predictors muddled, but it is really important to learn how to tell if something is styling or actually part of a theme.
And how do you tell, I can hear you ask? Well separation as I’ve just said. Basically trends come down to this. Take all the information you have [and you’ll need a lot], separate it all out in into separate areas and then find your way through the mess by putting it back together again with a constant idea.
It’ll soon become clear which bits stick out or don’t belong. These will be red herrings, or styling, or someone’s idea of design that doesn’t belong. Those bit’s that don’t quite fit are bits of information thrown into the mix for fun. Forget them! They’re not part of your trend.
Now the title of this post is a little misleading or rather ambiguous. When is a trend not a trend? Well the thing is that if you are finding trends for a specific reason, a product for example, then there is no point comparing notes to the person next to you. You have to realise that although there are mass trends, the bits of information that are relevant to you, might not be relevant to the next person. They might have a different price level to you, a different type of customer, a different market level. So the mass of information is yours to wade through alone. Really only you can tell and know how to adapt them and what bits are relevant for your particular needs. You might have to tweak some colours because you tried that one before and nobody bought it, or maybe a specific shape is back on trend and again it just doesn’t work for you. The key is in the tweaking and really, this is the skill you need to develop more than anything else.
All of the tweaking and wading of information is yours to navigate. No one can tell you who your customer is, better than you, so you need to trust your gut and if you’re not sure, try it [ but maybe do it in small numbers so you don’t bankrupt yourself in the process ].
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