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Fashion forcasting

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by LA Guy, Aug 19, 2003.

  1. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    I have to admit that I missed one of the biggest things to come out of L.A. recently. I'd seen Von Dutch t-shirts, jeans, and "trucker" hats at early adaptor stores like Lisa Kline Men and Fred Segal/Ron Herman, and seen similar styles at better clubs, but I didn't see it as the next big thing. Now, thanks to the adoption of the style by young Hollywood stars, the media is so saturated with images of fake truckers that even the middle-aged lady I saw buying Von Dutch for her son yesterday knew that it was the "cool" thing. I'm still kicking myself over this one.

    On the other hand, certain brands that I did peg as "hot" on the other hand, seemed to have hit their peak early, or never really peaked at all. Frankie B. Men, for example, never seems to have been picked up. I still maintain that they make the best cut corduroy shirt/jacket available, but I guess that the range was too small (no t-shirts or shirts, and only a couple of styles of jeans,) and the cut of the jeans too extreme (the rise on the men's jeans is less than 6 inches.) to appeal to most American guys - and for some reason, they never came out with a "relaxed" jean the way the other women's brands crossing over into the menswear did (Seven, Earl both have relaxed fit jeans in addition to their bootcut styles.) Of course, Frankie B. seemingly did not have the strong marketing push and sophisticated advertising strategy that Von Dutch did. I also really liked Andrew Dibben, but he seems to have disappeared, for the most part. I haven't been at this long enough to have predicted the popularity of James Perse.

    I have been more successful in the "designer" category. I predicted that John Varvatos would be quickly find a niche even before his first collection hit the shelves, and the great coverage of Varvatos in the (American) Esquire fall fashion preview of that season had him hitting the ground running. I also predicted that the group of designers associated with Pegasus (Daryl K., William Reid) would go down, based purely on the financials. Of those two designers, I liked some of William Reid's stuff - clean, simple shirts, trousers, and some outstanding leather jackets, all with a slight vintage vibe in the palette and cut - but the market was also already saturated with very well established players like Marc Jacobs who were doing similar things.

    I also predicted the whole striped shirt craze. At this point, however, I've really had enough. They have been around so long (at least 6 seasons,) and there are so many tacky and cheap looking examples (Energie and Interno8 being among the worst offenders) that the trend is long past its due date. Of course, the designers and brands that have always made striped shirts part of their collections like Turnbull and Asser and Paul Smith, are exempt from my contempt.

    I give myself a B. Overall solid performance, but some serious problems, especially in judging local talent.

    How good have you guys been?
     


  2. Nick M

    Nick M Distinguished Member

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    Awful. I get a D, maybe - I can't predict individual trends, or the success of designers, I only feel a horrible disturbance in the force when the mainstream is about to shift styles completely, usually when the market is saturated with the previous 'next big thing'. Case in point, a while back I was in the city and saw a gaggle of women passing by, and noted that everything they were wearing actually fitted and was flattering - boot-cut jeans, nice tops, and the rest... This won't last, I thought. The next week, what do I see in stores, in the magazines? Narrow-cut jeans stuffed into cowboy boots, those ugly ruched suede boots under too-short capri-style pants. And then the eighties came back. Â [​IMG] Oh, flourescent colors, I didn't miss you at all...
    Surely you're not referring to this? Â [​IMG] I'd probably wear it, if my more sensible friends wouldn't drag me away from it... [​IMG] Incidentally, where have you found Interno8? I'd pay big money for a diagonally-chalkstriped suit with a velvet collar... well, I'd think about paying big money.
     


  3. aybojs

    aybojs Senior Member

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    Well I'd probably give myself a low grade, but then again it's a skill that has no use for me. My experience has been pretty limited, but despite reading up on all these fashion trends, I have rarely seen any in practice. The multi-striped shirt thing has been around for at least the past few years, but I honestly have not seen many people wearing Etro/PS shirts, let alone knock-offs. I definitely have never seen a single person other than truckers wearing trucker hats or the like. Most of this comes from my surroundings: My home is in the south, and I go to school in a pretty isolated college town, so for the most part everything's pretty conservative fashionwise and there's no rush to keep up with the trends. The popular items I notice at school are preppy logo gear like polo/lacoste/burberry, which has been around forever, and maybe the few fashion-conscious people I know might have a few diesel or prada items. I can't think of any guys at school who would have heard of Varvatos, Etro, PS, Marc Jacobs etc. I imagine this is the case for most people (at least in the U.S.) who don't live in New York or L.A., which probably explains why the shopping situation is so mediocre outside of those cities. Since you're from L.A. (I used to live in the area, but as a kid in the suburbs), I was curious as to how valuable a skill it is there to be able to spot and predict trends. Is it a huge deal there to be able to keep up with the times? [​IMG] Or is it more of a hobby for bragging rights? [​IMG] Don't get me wrong, I find fashion trends really interesting to observe, I've just never seen people actually wearing the stuff that the magazines say is so popular.
     


  4. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Is the ability to forecast trends a useful skill? If you are in the fashion industry, immeasurably so. Otherwise, no - it's purely for bragging rights - like anything you do on a non-professional level - like running a 5 minute mile or making a really good omelette, neither of which I can do.
     


  5. aybojs

    aybojs Senior Member

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    That's still a fine reason; I was just curious because I've always lived in pretty slow-paced environments where people always seem to dress the same regardless of what's in and out.

    As a side-note, do you work in the industry by chance? I'm trying to find ways to get an internship/summer job for next year doing something related to the industry and haven't the faintest idea of how I would go about finding one.
     


  6. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    No, I don't work in the industry.

    As for internships, from what I've been told by people in design schools and fashion institutes, these are in high demand, and are generally filled by design school students looking to bolster their resumes. I think that you need a portfolio, at least. It's probably easier to get in through the business side of things - working as an assistant to a buyer, or whatever. If you visit New York, you might want to look up the FIT, and look at the employment boards there, although it may be closed except to affiliates.

    Good luck.
     


  7. vero_group

    vero_group Senior Member

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    aybojs,

    Come to Dallas -- it is the apparel/fashion capital of the South. Neiman-Marcus started here. J.C. Penney is based here. Haggar too. Fossil also (hugely successful). Rolex has a large office here. Many direct flights to and from the other fashion capitals every day. We have a huge Apparel Mart complex right next to the World Trade Center. It's worth a consideration if you want to stay in the South. Chicago is a great Midwestern alternative -- the Kennedys own the largest fashion-centered building in the world there. You can get into fashion without going to the coasts -- they're all a bunch of liberal weirdos there anyway. ;-)
     


  8. aybojs

    aybojs Senior Member

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    LAGuy: Thanks for the advice; I definitely would be trying to get in more on the business end, as both my current education path (history major, likely to do law school) and lack of experience limit me a lot. I go to school a short train ride away from NYC, so that would be where I would look to for a job. I just wish it weren't so hard to find any sort of information; everything seems to be very low profile. Would it help at all if I started going to fashion company/magazine sites and sent out e-mails/resumes, or is that really frowned upon? I plan on doing some sort of tour/visit of NYC at some point when I'm back at school, so that FIT thing might be an idea.

    vero: as I said, I go to school near NYC, so I would much rather stay there to be near friends and get a feel for what the hype over NYC is all about. However, if you know any good ways to get into the Dallas scene or have any contacts, would you mind sharing?
     


  9. LA Guy

    LA Guy Opposite Santa Staff Member Admin Moderator

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    Whaddya talkin' about? Y'all may be members of the NRA, but we exercise our rights to shoot the damn things more often, city street or no city street ;-)

    Nice to know that we can have a sense of humor here. And I'd completely forgotten about Dallas. Of course, I'm not sure that there are that many fashion internships there, are there?
     


  10. vero_group

    vero_group Senior Member

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    Fashion interships: Sure, there are internships in the buying area, given the presence of J.C. Penney and Neiman-Marcus. One could just call them up and ask the receptionist for some Senior Manager in the buying area. Do some probing, show some interest and initiative. Be persistent. They go for that kind of thing. Maybe suggest the idea of an internship or apprenticeship if they have not formally thought of it already. What's to lose? It's worth a shot.

    Generally, the companies I work with (not fashion-related in any way) like using interns because it's low cost labor and it helps the greater community at large. We just had a farewell lunch for one of them last Friday before they head back to school for the next semester. Heck, even working for free might be worth it, if one can afford to do so, just to get the experience and the resume cache. That internship experience can help you leapfrog your fellow classmates -- career-wise and financially -- at graduation time.
     


  11. vero_group

    vero_group Senior Member

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    LA Guy -- Ironically, I've never owned or shot a gun.
     


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