Consumer mood is ever fastening on the new. Autumn Winter 2006/7 will
be no different than earlier seasons. People not only want luxury they want something novel and different
not just the latest new fashion fad and trend.
Some of this is driven by worship perfection and emulation of celebrity
lifestyle. On my fashion forum ordinary girls tell of how they want
the very hat as worn by that very star, or the look alike dress worn by
another for their prom.
What the feted 'A' celebrity 'has' becomes a 'must-have' or 'want it.'
This can be anything from a dress 'just like that', an accessory, an
expensive beauty cream or treatment, to the type of exclusive holiday or
home and style of furnishings the said star enjoys.
as influential are the WAGS. As soon as WAGS (sporting, footballer and
'D' list celebrity wives and
girlfriends) have adopted a fashion item, that fashion
item can plummet in terms of cachet and do harm to a brand.
Geena Davies (left), Reese Witherspoon above and Eva Longoria
(right) seen here attending the Golden Globe Awards, are all fashion
influencing film stars of today. Within minutes of being taken, such
images fly around the world. What they and other famous women
including politicians like Condoleezza Rice wear, how they wear their
hairstyle and how they exercise and keep looking good becomes a template for
those wanting modern glamour.
For the alpha shopper, shops, online stores and companies are migrating to upscale looks that speak impeccable taste and are referring to it as
with minimal logos is the 21st century look of faultless taste and class and
is a new fashion trend for Autumn Winter 2006/7. Put simply this is a form
of classic dressing, but with modern cutting. The effect of the Rap Bling
look is going down as subtle stealth wealth creeps upon us.
wealth will be the strongest look in 18 months time and also fits in with a
new mood for demi-couture purchases.
According to Harvey Nichols, 'the democratisation of luxury brands and
their accessibility to a global market, means consumers are seeking out
alternatives. Fashion savvy shoppers are looking for the new much
needed injection of individuality into their wardrobes. At first they
raided vintage clothing shops, but now they are discovering a new breed of
designers - the demi couturiers.'
Harvey Nichols also note that, 'Lanvin, David Szeto, Martin Grant and Nina
Ricci are four of the new wave of designers using age-old skills and couture
techniques with modern fabrics.' This low back dress above was
designed by David Szeto one the designers Harvey Nichols now stocks.
Harvey Nichols launched its Demi Couture Boutique in September 2005.
The Demi Couture Boutique is an area in women's international dedicated to
the above designers and others including: Francisco Rosas, Giambattista
Valli and Kaufman Franco. The long black gown on the right is by
Giambattista Valli. Both these dresses are demi-couture and have been
in the Harvey Nichols demi couture range at some time in the past year.
Another designer of note is Behnaz Sarafpour and this understated
yet beautiful white dress shown to the right is one of her designs.
According to Harvey Nichols '...the Americans are mad for her. Open
any glossy, uptown mag and her clothes are everywhere. It's almost a
surprise they've not been available until now....'
Online shopping is breaking new
barriers with consumers as it reaches a record high for women who browse.
Good broadband connections speed this experience up no end.
As I type this webpage I am using a broadband connection of 100Mbps, an
inconceivable speed compared to my first use of the web in the early 1990s
when we watched images slowly crawl down a page, willing the page to
complete over several minutes. It is broadband connections such as this, that are making
shopping online a more successful operation for the majority of consumers
compared to just a few years ago. As more and more 'potential' customers
upgrade their internet connection the rapidity of interaction with shopping
websites becomes a smoother, more enjoyable and repeat experience. As
broadband gets faster each year so shopping online will become an even
This is important for online sellers, as it is the woman who often
dictates consumer mood, as she is the
decision maker for purchasing household textiles and family apparel.
Despite 'wanting' goods, shoppers saturated with imagery everywhere they
turn, are becoming choosier, fussier consumers. Now, if it's not an easy come, easy go
low cost throw away item, they are frequently super selective, often knowing
more about a well researched product than the seller. Internet consumer review
sites, forums, blogs and infomercial blogs are everywhere. Consumers are using them
to grasp the news of latest products, compare and
comment on their perception of the desirability or worth of an item.
On my fashion forum members ask of other members in other countries is
this item/style 'in' or 'out' of fashion. They are so aware of fashion
racing they can't bear the thought of having missed its demise. They seek
reassurance that a costly item is still safe to wear just a couple of months
after its purchase.
There is desire to become an early adopter. They know the cachet of
the object will fade and be lost as it rapidly becomes obsolescent in terms
of status, or added value as it is superseded by the next best thing.
It therefore effectively becomes worthless before its life is spent as it
gains mass approval. It no longer marks an individual out as any
different or more superior than another. A consumer commonly desires a
product to satisfy many needs. This may vary from eco values to
one-upmanship, to a sense of self esteem engendered by possession and
investment purchasing. Often now it involves going for a product
sooner rather than later.
High end looks that early adopters originally followed have trickled down to the masses. Women like brand names, the real thing rather than a look alike product. They
don’t want spectacle that look like Gucci spectacles they want real Gucci
In early 2006 top social status brands according to the Luxury
Early style adopters know
all about High End Looks and designer brands. Whilst the above are the top names at the time of writing, by this time next
year some other brand like Louis Vuitton may have won a slot whilst another
brand may have slipped.
Consumers who are early adopters are known as 'want it now' and 'must haves'.
Saks for example are focusing on the
Autumn Winter 2006/7 theme of
WANT IT Now and MUST HAVES in new fashion trends. All the items
are of course from Saks. Key trends for autumn
winter 2006/7 cover
various price points across the range of goods they sell.
They hope for good
results from Marc Jacobs and Chloe satchel bags, Stuart Weitzman and Dior
flat boots as well as coats with fur trims. Their long leather glove
promotion is sure to
be a winner across all price points as these are becoming a necessity with
shorter coat and jacket sleeves.
Brands and stores take every opportunity to capitalise on an anniversary.
The House of Burberry is 150 years old and has an ad campaign highlighting their top
items. At least it has a decent anniversary number.
This year sees the rather odd numbered 85th anniversary celebration of
the Gucci House. Gucci was founded in 1881 and so is now 85 years old. Gucci's Frida Gianni reworked the
Hobo bag at Gucci to commemorate this 85th
Didn't we just once stick to jubilees of 25 years, 50, 75
and 100 before?
However every opportunity for these design houses
becomes a marketing event and a chance to push another must have product.
On the other hand lots of people really do 'want it' and 'must have it' when
it comes to these brands with global cachet.
Now if the anniversary is one ploy to get you to desire a must have item,
then a revived marketing ploy back in fashion is that of licensing. In 2006 we
find that licensing is coming back as a trend with designers.
Currently in the
licensing is no longer a dirty word. As a sales marketing method it was out of bounds for many
years, a definite no-no. Now it's in favour again, and designers can
hear those cash till ringing, although some of us have never gotten over
the Pierre Cardin effect!
Consumers over 50 in USA for example control half the purchasing power with $25 billion
being spent on clothing. These over 50s unlike many younger women have more
free time and they want to shop in environments that are not blasting over
loud repetitive music their teenager children or grandchildren might play.
Little wonder then that online shopping has a captive audience.
High streets in UK in particular need to address environments considered unfriendly to older
consumers. That includes moderating their sound systems to make the
music more realistically appealing to the actual consumer profile, rather
than pandering to a profile that does not actually spend cash in their
store. They would do well to consider creating better, higher lighting
levels and providing occasional seating for all those bad backs and podiatry
problems older shoppers suffer. Such thoughts will be appreciated and
lure shoppers into stores that grey power considers think like them and know
Likewise packaging and instruction details need to have larger more
consumer friendly print for the over 45s. Young product designers need
to be aware that consumers get near sighted at 45+. Some manufacturers
are alienating clients who would buy products, but are frustrated by
leaflets in 10 languages. Worse, when they find their language
they often discover the print is not user friendly even with reading
spectacles. By the time the print is in focus, the print is too small.
Only older product designers really realise this yet the often long living
consumers with the most cash to spend are over 50.
The consumer is getting opinionated like never before. The internet
gives the consumer a voice to be heard on forums and in blogs.
Do remember many marketing companies use blogs as infomercials to sway you
into the belief that a brand, accessory, jeans style number or perfume or
electronic item is a 'must have'.
Before you know it, simply because you read it on your monitor in 2
different places you 'want it'. Arghhhhhh - then next week you read
how passé it is.......say no more. The moral of the story is use your
intelligence to decipher what you want because you like it for itself, not
because you learn it's a 'must-have' or 'want it' that is
ahead of itself.
Fashion-Era.com looks at women's costume and fashion history and analyses the mood of an era. Changes in technology, leisure, work, cultural and moral values. Homelife and politics also
contribute to lifestyle trends, which in turn influence the clothes we wear. These are the changes that make any era of society special in relation to the study of the costume of a period.
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