My FIT adventure
This week, I am attending the Fashion Institute of Technology workshop called Fashion Forecasting. Here, we learn about the trends for next year and HOW to predict these trends. Today we covered the basis of fashion forecasting; the difference between fashion, style and design, the question "is fashion art?". We also discussed what goes into taste, a classic vs a FAD, details about clothes that make it have good "taste", fashion cycle, fashion misconceptions and fashion theories. Yes, we covered ALL of that in one full day, but it was very interesting because we connected every one of those topics to something that is relevant to today. All of these tiny pieces put the puzzle together and answer the question of "why people buy?", which is the goal of the class.
I decided I'm not going to put everything I learned into this one post because it will probably take two hours to read, so I'm going to talk about what interested me the most. What stood out at me as the most interesting detail were the theories of how fashion spreads. There are three main theories that people have of how a trend spreads around the world. The first is the "Trickle Down Theory". The Trickle Down Theory is how someone of status, like a celebrity, could be a role model for a certain trend, so their followers will buy what their wearing. I think that this theory is more commonly noticed from people as they are doing it. You can go back to my three fashion inspiration posts (celebrities, stores, bloggers) to see who mine are. With the help of this theory, celebrities are the first to be the trendsetters and inspiration for a specific look.
The second theory is the "Horizontal Theory", where a trend will move within groups of similar status, without influences from lower or higher status. A good example of this is seen in schools among students. People can get fashion inspiration from other students in their high school or college just by looking around their environment. These high schoolers and college students are targeted by mass fashion stores, such as Zara, Forever 21, etc., which expands the retailer's audience. With the help of this theory, people are working off each other to try get some sort of style.
The third theory is the "Trickle Up Theory". This theory almost always happens over time, where a whole style or trend is adopted from a street look. The Trickle up is basically how Urban Outfitters was created. Before Urban was known was Urban, it was a small store in Philadelphia, PA selling fashion apparel with the grunge and urban look. People started to catch on to that urban style and that one store became a prime store for people who wanted to go urban. I am currently reading a book called The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and he provides a perfect example of a specific product that "trickled up" within the first chapter. He introduced the Hush Puppies shoe and basically talks about how a couple of small thrift stores had them and then people on the streets would wear them because no one else would. People started to wear them more and more. He was not trying to set trend, until it was gradually noticed by someone at a New York City photoshoot from two of the executives of Hush Puppies. They were told that the shoes were seen all at bars and clubs in Manhattan. Within about a year, they were selling them in in Manhattan stores and major designers, like John Bartlett and Anna Sui, were using them in their collections. With the help of this theory, either designers or sometimes the consumers, are exposed and act upon a certain product.
All these theories get to the common goal for a directional theme. The reason is that designers are going to make something that people are ultimately going to buy for a purpose. Whether its an elegant look trickling from Gigi Handid's 2017 Red Carpet debut, down to her followers because they liked the dress hemline. Or having the small urban population trickle influence the official "urban" look up as it has been sold today. Or if they use the horizontal theory from a friend or a coworker to find out where to get an affordable off the shoulder top that has the light baby blue color that is seen at Zara. Each consumer's purpose for being attracted to that specific jacket or shirt is that it is apart of their lifestyle causing the movement to the lifestyle brands.