Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Fashionable, yes, but is it trendy?

Last week at a session to discuss development ideas for necklaces, we talked about potential designs and styles for 2015.  Our designs are a collaboration between the design team, buying team, and our artisans.  We take into account upcoming style and color trends but largely focus on designs and styles that have durability for several seasons and do not take big risks on future trends that may be fleeting or find a fickle consumer base.  We also strive to retain the cultural authenticity of the artisans who create these pieces, focusing on traditional materials and methods.  During our discussion, we were struck at how quickly large chains are able to jump on trends driven by movies, celebrities, bloggers, pinterest, or even a well-timed youtube video.  Historically, jumping on short-lived trends is not an expense that fair trade producers could afford and, unlike large corporations who can take bigger price cuts and sacrifice labor costs, (see Rana Plaza) we and our artisans have more to lose if we guess incorrectly.

The good news is that with increasing technology and more accurate trend forecasts, even fair traders are able to supply pieces which reference trends to their customers.  In certain instances, they've even been ahead of the trend.  Like, WAY ahead.
The recent trend that has shoes, bags, jewelry, and sweaters sporting cat faces is hitting it's peak.  The $600 Charlotte Olympia "Kitty Flat" loafers sported by celebs in fall 2012 are now available in knock-off form for as low as $16 online where they are all now discounted.  Although beginning to decline, cat faces continue to grace sweaters, bags, and jewelry., made in India, $10

This stamped leather (also a trend) coin purse has been produced by Ten Thousand Villages since 1999, and made by the artisans of Craft Resource Center, with whom they've had a relationship since 1993.  Did this design inspire the trend?  Who knows?  Fair trade continues to be fashionable by stylists, designers, and models, but now it is also hitting trends left and right.  Graphic Tribal?  Yep.  Boho Gypsy?  Yes, and then some.  (And more coming in the July collection.)  And the vintage trend inspired by a summer blockbuster?  Well that one requires a whole new post.  Until then....

No comments:

Post a Comment