C o l o u r
Designers, whether offering a high-summer pre-fall collection, or a wintery one, chose to communicate a very colourful and positive message. Purple hues were everywhere, especially with Pantone® announcing Ultra Violet as the colour for 2018. Take note: Pinks and Reds are still around. However, these beautiful terracotta, earthy and sepia colours stole the show for me. They are moody and perfectly different from the brights that will be on sale when these collections hit the shops.
This year will go down as the year that initiated things. We might not know right now what exactly the result will be, but we can all feel that something is brewing. This feeling of uneasiness has to do with socioeconomic changes; on paper, global economy might be doing OK, but peoples’ personal experiences are different. Average Joe was paid less (in value) than their parents did, and are now depending on their immediate social circle for support much longer than before, and are struggling to save money at the end of each month. Let’s not even touch the subject of class progression…
2017 is the year we all had to deal with what 2016 introduced to the world; the rise of populism, Trump, Brexit, a general disruption to the established order. A vague memory, a misguided reminiscence of “greater times”- when the sun would never set in the empire, or when America was “great”- acted as a security blanket for a fast changing world. This new world with emerging economies, vague political ideologies, and new forms of participation, terrified the non-participants. Nostalgia for something that never was became the torch in the search for answers. Even if it is a plaster attempting to fix a knife wound, a power nap before having to wake up and continue what you were doing beforehand.
Industry experts reject the redundant way with which retailers and brands define their end-consumers; based on their age or lifestyles. For example, to define a client by a very narrow age group (e.g. 25-35) clearly is too short sighted. Does it mean that when one turns 36 must look elsewhere for dresses?
As the argument goes, we humans are more than a number and definitely much more than our “nurture”. Especially with regards to the latter, the rise of internet and social media meant that one cannot be restricted to their immediate environment and narrow space of country boarders. Hipsters for example are not only found in the UK, and they definitely don’t call themselves ‘British Hipsters’. Maybe the time has come to let consumers define themselves, and for brands to start understanding them, instead of attempting to define them. Shocking prospect…
The future looks more democratic. The end-consumer’s influence on product development and design is intensifying, and will eventually challenge to extinction current top-down approach to design. I will not venture, yet again, into how this challenges creativity and aspiration, and how it hinders creatives’ freedom to create. On the contrary, I will flip it on its head and ask a question: in a world where gender, race, and lifestyle boundaries are constantly blurring, does it really make sense to pigeonhole a customer?
There are two concepts you should keep in mind: longevity and self-expression. Going forward these two will inform fashion and product creation. As conscious consumers, we should all think twice before spending; think of investing instead of blinding consuming. The same advice goes out to fashion brands; create instead of reproducing. Build a future instead of only worrying about the end of the year’s bottom line. Growth does not have to equal profit.
So, use this holiday season to buy a piece you will fall in love with, invest a bit more in it and treasure it for life. Wear it over and over again. No more hiding party-outfit disasters at the back of your wardrobe. No more, “I will wear it only once” excuses… And this is the last rant of the year…probably…
Yellow is the new pink
Colour experts are predicting that yellow will become a new favourite, and put an end to pink’s reign. It is an evocative colour; in most cultures it has positive connotations of wisdom, happiness, openness, and brightness. And Lord do we desperately need a bit of that in our lives! Too scared for a yellow coat? What about yellow sequins?
(L-R clockwise) House of Holland wool and viscose mix coat; MSGM viscose sequin blouse; Jacquemus tote with chunky chain straps; Marco De Vincenzo pleated skirt with applique and lace underlayer; Vetements leather ankle boots