25 Aug 2016
Putting the glocalisation of fashion aside for a second – for the designer, stylist and buyer alike, the fashion industry is currently being shaped by a number of competing trends that, at different times, converge and contradict one another. With so much going on, we have taken a look into the need to know trends for current and future entrants into the fashion field.
No, this has nothing to do with active wear (we’ll touch on that later). ‘Fast fashion’ is where new complete looks and individual pieces are available from one week to the next. Effectively, brands will create sub-collections that act as minor deviations from the core season look to allow for greater variations and more consumer appeal. There are a number of consumer benefits to this model – lower prices, greater choice – that keep brands such as H&M returning to the fast and well-fitted well.
This a trend very much defined by the term ‘economies of scale’, where larger fashion houses have the resources to churn out large volumes of clothing on a regular basis. In other words, this is not a trend that readily adapted by the smaller proponents of the fashion industry.
Sustainable products are becoming a hot commodity across a wide number of product categories, fashion included. Research firm Mobium Group says the Australian market for such products has more than
doubled since 2007, from $12 billion to $26 billion.
This trend in a number of ways is the counterpoint to fast fashion – sustainable fashion is moving very, very far away from fast fashion’s low-cost items that can be readily replaced. More to the point, this is a trend aimed at consumers seeking ethical, long-lasting garments that (with proper care) can remain in their wardrobe season after season and year after year.
This approach is even yielding some rather intriguing choices when it comes to fabrics. Researchers have recently stumbled upon what they are dubbing ‘vegan leather’ – an entirely cow free leather alternative made from the fungus typically used to make kombucha.
This is potentially a rather smart move for small and new labels in the broader fashion industry. If you have the time to create individual pieces, you have the room to piece together longer lasting items of clothing. Consumers will love you for it, especially if they buy into your style and ethos.
Alternate Active Wear
Yes, active wear is very much defined by the likes of Nike, Lululemon Athletica, and Lorna Jane, but there is a growing demand for practical and stylistic versatility. Not everyone wants to look the same when taking a jog or want activewear that looks like nothing else. Furthermore, recent research has highlighted a high demand for activewear that perfectly balances fashion and function.
On the more ubiquitous level, this push has resulted in brands such as Uniqlo launching “joggers” – running appropriate pants that look like pants/chinos. In broader terms, there is now activewear aimed at specific markets – faith-based (burqa incorporated items), pregnancy, older, and even corporate.
When spoilt for choice by ubiquitous labels, standing out is becoming a harder ask. It’s this quandary that has given rise to ‘alt-fashion’ – where niche brands and left-of-centre designers create distinct wears and custom pieces with individuality sewed into every seam.
Much like the alternatives in activewear and even the sustainable options, this is a matter of giving consumers something is more than a look – it’s a statement.
Consider Kristy Power, the creative mind behind budding label Harpi. Kristy’s wares have been sported by burlesque dancers, circus performers, cosplayers and goths looking for something edgy to wear in their day jobs.
“We [Harpi] make high-end goth and alternative wear, so it’s a lot of black, brocades, pleather, lace, some velvet, wet-look jersey, and stripes,” she said.
“I try and do a bit of corporate wear so people can feel themselves at work and then they can wear their outfit to the pub afterward.
“It doesn’t have to be in your face. It’s just a way of letting people express themselves subtly. That’s the power of fashion.”
Where to Go From Here
Going from here might appear quite the feat, but there’s hope. As Kristy and others like her have proved with the right training and guidance, you could own these trends or even start your own.
It’s never too late to take ownership of your future in fashion. Discover our full range of fashion and millinery courses today.
Read more of Kristy’s story here.