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Theory

The Future of Fashion

For years the world has been dominated by large corporations and multinational brands, but in recent years that has all changed. The fall of the west, economically, changed everything in retail. The focus for customers has become price since they are all tightening their belts, but in the search for cheaper products, consumers are demanding better design. This led to cheaper brands becoming more successful, but in the process, many went out of business trying without success, to balance design cost with cheaper retail costs. And so the consumer moved on. Some moved to DIY and crafts, creating their own clothes and at the same time blogs, and some, in the journey to find unique clothing at a reasonable price found unique design ideas, smaller brands, and a whole host of individual designers across the world. Suddenly those who made ”crafty” goods and were before, slightly dismissed by the general public, were suddenly popular, offering something different and new.

As I returned to London, where I grew up, last month, the shops and retailers that I always considered the leaders in design, offer only ”safe” items. Those who pushed boundaries and set trends were bland. I felt really disappointed, but in order to not make mistakes, buyers seem to be playing it safe in the designs they choose to stock. I actually updated my facebook status to tell people how bored I was wandering around the shops. Where has the innovation gone? Where is the ”I need that” appeal? Where is the beauty and design? Well it hasn’t gone, it has just moved. In London, one of the oldest historical markets still exists. Spitalfields market, set in East London, in recent years has become known for its innovative design. The area has always been part of the artist scene, and the market was always home to innovative design and creative people. Today, the ,market and surrounding area is a vibrant, creative hub for those looking for something different. I wandered down there in the hope that my belief in London’s fashion scene was still in tact. Luckily what I found was an even more vibrant, colourful and innovative fashion scene. The market was bursting with stall holders, hand-made items, unique designs and beautiful creations. What I noticed however was that there were many more smaller, individual stalls. Individuals who hand craft items for sale. The market always had this for as long as I can remember, but there was a definite increase in the numbers of people selling their goods.

From my time in London and from my observations over the past 6 years, it is becoming more and more important across the world, that either for the love of a particular passion, maybe through lack of other job prospects, or even because of the change in society, it is obvious that the world is moving back towards individual crafts. People creating their own products in some form and selling them to smaller numbers of devoted fans, rather than large multinationals selling on mass. Now don’t misunderstand. I truly believe that the large companies that exist today will probably remain, but I very much doubt that there will be a new large multinational. It is far easier today, than at any other time, to start a website, a blog or online shop and there are more and more people taking advantage of this. Through a need for creating a product, or being your own boss, the ease of technology has allowed thousands of people to create their own businesses, and this trend does not look like it will slow down. So whatever you may make, wish to design or idea that you have, it seems that now is the time to try it out.

Trends are about more than what the latest colours are or the best theme to design around. It’s important to notice the changing consumer trends around you wherever you are in the world. If you are in retail, whatever the product, the retail trends of your consumer are just as important. The difference in your location, how your customers shop and what they believe good design is, can vary and you need to know what those trends are and how they change. In countries where internet shopping is not the main way consumers shop, it’s still important to have information online, but there is no point focusing on an online shop and spending your time developing online marketing. Your time could be better spent getting your product into physical shops and in the public eye through events.

Think about your trends. The trends of consumers and their personal needs. Trends can cover many things and you need to broaden your understanding of all of the types of trends to make your venture or reason for predicting trends successful.

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