It’s September! Fantastic, inspiring, surprising September – at least if you are into fashion. While a considerate amount of people follow the catwalk shows on pages like Vogue.com, and perhaps even share them on social media, while considering ‘could I wear that?’ (or afford that?), there’s another and more systematic and analytical task to do, if you actually study or work in fashion. That is analysing what you see, and extracting the information of inspiration and key fashion show trends ss17 that are important. Because every new season is a follow-up of the past season, which is again building on all the ones that came before. Understanding where fashion is coming from is one of the best ways to understanding, where it’s going. If you work in fashion, this is crucial for you to have a feeling about.
So how to go about this analysis? I would recommend creating a folder on your desktop or alternatively a Board on Pinterest, where you can store all the looks, you find exciting. Perhaps Pinterest is a more fun way to work, as people will love your pins, repin them and can follow your work. If you don’t want to share your work with anyone, you can make a secret board that only yourself can see. Pinterest is indeed a great and handy tool for keeping track of your work and inspirations – and an amazing way to get lost in beautiful images.
So, what to look for in this analysis, which is fundamentally a question of trend spotting (what’s cool for the season in question – in this case ss17) and trend forecasting (what will carry on for the following season – fw17/18)? This is of course hard to predict, as the future is yet to come, but if you have an understanding of where a given trend is on the trend curve (the classic bell curve), you will have a feel of whether it’s just about to take off, peaking, or is on its way out. Depending on where it is, you will know whether or not it’s still relevant to fashion brands, retailers, buyers, the in crowd, and consumers. Needless to say, you should concentrate on the ones that are peaking, as they will lead to something new replacing them, and this will be up to you to find out, what that is, as well as you should also keep an eye on upcoming trends.
At this point, it’s up to you to decide what you want to do with this knowledge: follow blindly, be partly inspired, or march alone in a different direction… Most designers prefer casting a glance to trends, and for this there are many different reasons, which we’re going to discuss another time.
But back to what you have to look for at the runway shows and fashion show trends ss17; basically anything that feels new compared to last season in the four main areas:
- Key shapes
- Surfaces (fabrics, prints, embellishment)
- Details (layering, styling etc.)
In the beginning, it’s a good idea to be generous in your selection, and then you can always clean up later, when you start to see, how many designers will have similar inspirations, or you fall tired of certain ideas. When it only takes you a week to tire of something, it’s definitely not going to make it into a season a year from now. When all the fashion weeks are over, you can be harsher in your selection process, and have clear points of focus or even mini themes. If you select a little bit of everything, it’s like making no selection at all, and this is not a correct way of working. Cut to the bone, and get a clear picture of what’s happening. It’s hard in the beginning, and will most likely feel like working in blindness, but as most other things, it gets easier with experience.
The last thing to mention in this context is that this type of analysis is not about your personal taste. As a professional, you must be able to separate the ‘private you’ from the ‘professional you’. The two things will always be connected, of course, as they rightly should, but when you work, it should be with the glasses of a professional. Most likely there are certain influences that you will like more than others, but you still need to get the big picture.
Happy trend spotting!
Photo is from Thom Browne SS17.