5 changes that shaped 2016

2016 will probably go down as the year when voters rejected a liberal approach to life. The economic recession of previous years that brought us austerity, and the fully pledged globalisation in industry and production, attacked the least prepared segments of society. It was another “industrial revolution”, this time a more silent one. Workers lost their jobs not only to technology but to other workers thousands of miles away. This time the state could not assist; austerity wouldn’t allow it…

Fashion industry wasn’t unaffected by these global socioeconomic changes. The last few years, the industry has been going through a major paradigm shift; the latter’s results becoming more apparent this year. Years of wrong investment decisions and knee-jerk reactions have slowly shaped the industry to what it is today. Either struggling to react to current needs, a great example of this are the ailing chain retailers bleeding customers, or an industry that has ripped up the rulebook in its need to survive. The brand that used to be the definitions of sexiness and turned into a geeky mash-up of lace dresses with snake appliques comes to mind.

But let me be more specific and consider 5 key changes and trends we have seen this year. 5 new directions that have defined the year but will also shape the industry; an insight into things to come.

Demna Gvasalia and the Vetements design collective

Georgian born Demna Gvasalia together with his brother Guram and 5 more friends (all met during their time at Maison Margiela), created the design collective Vetements. And in a couple of years have become the hottest and most coveted brand. Their concept is simple but extremely efficient and uncommon in the fashion world. Design for them is a democratic process of conversation. Every member of the collective, whatever their background, has an input.

Vetements show

Breaking free from the hegemony of trend, their clothes address what they believe people will like to wear. They are inspired by urban cultures and subcultures, online influences, and streetwise youth to offer season-less fashion for cool individuals. They aim at people in-touch with reality, instead of selling a fantasy. Selling a make belief has been the go-to approach for most luxury brands so far, an approach interrupted by the rise of the social media.

Vetements’ relationship with social media on the other hand, is very interesting and one to watch. They monitor what is going-on, and choose all their runway models carefully off Instagram (an ode to the real person who will buy and wear their clothes). They are never involved in a cat and mouse chase between what the people want and what a brand is offering. On the contrary, by simply analysing what is happening they can offer consumers what they don’t yet know they want. Who knew they wanted the huge angular exaggerated padded shoulders they offered? Even traditional retailers with a more conservative clientele see anti-trend, anti-establishment and uber-expensive Vetements directional silhouettes fly off the shelf.

Vetements is not necessarily creating revolutionary new fashion, but is re-thinking the methodology of fashion creation, and the relationship between a fashion brand and its end-consumers. It is all about giving them what they want but have not yet looked for. A very Steve Jobs approach, a true revolution in 2016’s Fashion.

Their success has not gone unnoticed and Damna Gvasalia has now replaced Alexander Wang as the creative director of Balenciaga. I hope that Vetements’ methodology will now influence the design giant and other brands by proxy. I hope in other words that designers will be allowed again to create.

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What will different women wear this party season? Part 2

I have had a great time, albeit a difficult one, putting together this two-part party season special. It is unbelievable how many options there are out there for the ‘festive’ season. But options do not necessarily mean one has a choice. Researching online for this Christmas special extended edit, I was surprised to see how the luxury and contemporary segments look so much stronger than the high-street.

It seems that all affordable brands were offering similar product but competing on pricing. No surprise there. But this lack of creativity, excitement, and freshness is worrying. Slavery to trends and an unnecessary involvement in the vicious circle of pricing wars is never good. I just cannot believe how many short velvet strappy dresses, and sequin shift dresses I had to go through. Unlike the more exclusive brands, high-street retailers are still targeting the same consumer, ignoring certain taste-levels and age groups.

But allow me to end in a positive note and congratulate &Other Stories for its amazing and provoking offer, and Ellery for its very special product. Happy holidays everyone and a let us all enjoy a better 2017! On with the outfits…

The meta-hipster

She is a hipster reloaded. Like Ellen Ripley in Aliens, she is readier, punchier, a hold-no-prisoners version. When the whole world has started copying her style and her life choices, she moves on. When everyone starts investing in the 90s, what she did last year, she moves on to the 80s.

Outfit 1

Holiday season outfits: hipsterFrom left to right (L-R): Acne Studios leather shearling overcoat; MSGM crepe shirt with ruffle details; Tabula Rasa hand macramé skirt with pompoms; Carven mini leather shoulder bag; Laurence Dacade platform boots.

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What will different women wear this party season? Part 1

Remember how last year I introduced you to 8 different types of women, and how they could potentially dress for the party season? Remember how I created these different archetypes of women, and tried to imagine a life for them, before trying to dress them? Well, this year, over the next two posts, I am revisiting these women and checking what they are up to.

As it is Christmas, I hope you will allow me this crude generalization, and accept, even for a moment, that women can be divided into different archetypes. I know that is wrong, and that women one day can wear a power suit and the next day a frilly pink dress. But believe it or not, big retailers divide their customers into archetypes and develop or buy collections based on the percentage of each archetype they want to cover. Maybe this can explain why a visit to the shops nowadays feels like Groundhog Day; Bill Murray I challenge you to take on the challenge that is retail in 2016…

But to the point, holiday season is upon us with its numerous parties and outfits. How does one navigate through the most challenging time of the year, putting fashion-fatigue aside, and adopt a cheerful, almost annoying happy demeanour? Fashion Anthropologist has you covered.

An eclectic approach

She is nerdy, kooky, and can show you how librarians do it better…Sometimes her outfits are so beautifully put together she puts Alessandro Michele to shame. She is a true collector of objects and garments. This is how we can summarize her style: a bit of her gran’s hand-downs and a bit from Net-A-Porter. She will wear a very intense lipstick but her efforts will end there. She hates how too much make-up dirties her glasses…

Outfit 1

Holiday season outfits: eclectic From left to the right (L-R): Tibi military double-breasted wool mix coat; Mary Katrantzou lace and tulle maxi dress with leather trims and appliques; Alexander McQueen leather and embellishment round bag; Brunello Cucinelli leather loafers.

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Spring Summer 2017 Trends Vol.3

For the last part of my Spring Summer 2017 trend analysis I choose to concentrate on bottoms and tops. The two product categories have been having a little revival lately, almost stealing dresses’ limelight. But to be completely honest with you, the reason is more personal; the last few seasons, I have been more and more interested in them. Doesn’t it make sense to invest money in a top, a skirt, or a pair of trousers instead of a dress? You will wear them over and over again, dress them up or down, and layer them depending on the weather. You will combine them differently and create various outfits.

This season, designers did put a lot of effort into reimagining these two categories, offering new shapes and quite a few surprises. Some of these surprises were not necessarily of great taste; the example of red skirts and bottoms comes to mind. This trend, if not done properly, might make you look more like a nymph du prairie and less like a trend queen. But, putting this little blip aside, both categories got me excited as to what might be coming in the next few seasons. Why don’t we check below my selection of trends and directions worth mentioning, and try to guess where these will take us next?

Bottoms

Daddy shorts

I did talk about this shape when discussing suits in a previous post. But I must admit I am getting a bit obsessed. They are partly street partly tailored, just right for what is happening at the moment. A perfect example of how Athleisure should look like. Make sure they finish just under your knees and that they are loose.

Spring Summer 2017 Trends : Daddy Shorts

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