My colleague Christina and I work as what is loosely named "trend forecasters." We're the ones who try to anticipate the upcoming trends and then look past THEM and find the next ones. We roadtest outfits, accessories, entire color schemes and figure out what works and what absolutely does not. As part of our job, we model these looks for major stores and buyers to help them figure out their new fashion lines.
When asked about the best part of my job, I would say it's having such a direct impact on the fashion industry. Being able to look out the window and see a young gal wearing blue and think "You know, we really pushed for the blue trend this fall." The worst part? The almost daily photoshoots. The having to take photogenic-ness to a whole new level. The nerves when watching Fashion Week runway shows, hoping the designers got it right this year. It's not your average 9-5 type gig.
Enough of the explanations; that's not what fashion is about. Let me take you on a review of 2009's major fashion trends and show you exactly where they started (in the company whose name I cannot say).
Christina models one of our earliest trends for the 2009 year, which was picked up by designers worldwide and exploded in a huge plaid confetti ball in stores everywhere. We decided to push for plaid not only as a throwback to older beloved figures but as a way to make plaid new again. While I haven't seen too many models or celebs wearing plaid shirts as pants yet, we're predicting 2010 might be the year for that.
Mary-Kate Olsen got it halfway right, at least.
TREND: EXAGGERATED SHOULDERS
This was a major trend not for the faint of heart. Christina and I have always felt that if you've got big shoulders, you owe it to the public to show 'em off. And if you don't have big shoulders, well then, this was your lucky year. I'm luckily blessed with huge shoulders (there were no shoulder enhancements or photoshop in the above pic, just all natural me).
I suspect these might not be natural.
TREND: POLKA DOTS
TREND: POLKA DOTS
Polka dots were one of my favorite trends of the year. Add polka dots to any outfit and they make it instantly more fun and cuter, often invoking a vintage feel. See?
Though a bit impractical for the workplace, a well-chosen prop or accessory (I recommend life-sized ones) can make a much stronger statement than a simple neck scarf or brooch can. I hope Christina can inspire you to grab that vampire cape or decorative sledgehammer and catwalk it to the grocery store or counselling appointment.
This trend is also accessible and easy to pull off.
TREND: MENSWEAR INFLUENCE
To fully understand this trend, we studied real-life male models for a week, allowing them to enter our workspace and walk our office runways. It was then that we discovered the importance of comfort to men, of having a well-tailored pair of khaki shorts and semi-reflective running shoes, and how crucial it is to include these factors in menswear inspired items.
I think you can see how our diligent research paid off and was directly applied to the runway.
We had originally pushed for rompers to be a seasonal type of outfit, to be worn on major holidays. However, stars like Katy Perry have really taken over the romper and turned it into an everyday ensemble. While my admiration for KP knows no end, I still think that a well-worn holiday romper can steal the spotlight at any holiday party or on Christmas morn. Best worn with oversize accessories (see above) and no shame.
We noticed that blue really picked up this year, especially by some of the best known celebrities and classiest ladies around. You can't imagine how this made us feel, especially after some of the designers originally told us that blue was "too risky" for the runway.
See you in hell, Christian Dior.
The western trend was really fun for us to play around with, adding fringe and piping to anything that moved. Faux hay, faux horsehide and bleached grass were all experimented with in large amounts but proved fruitless. Sometimes in fashion you have to admit defeat.
It's a minimalist take on our idea for western. Not the best interpretation, but at least he got the giant accessory/prop part right.
Christina demonstrates the amount of confidence it takes to wear an entire outfit designed to reflect light. A medium to medium-large amount (depending on whether you wear the blue sequined catmask or not).
I actually had the pleasure of serving Adrian Brody while bartending for TIFF. While he wasn't wearing his metallic suit when I met him, it was hard to refrain myself from letting him know who I really was. I of course did not reveal my true identity and served him his vodka and water in silence, with zero eye contact. Sometimes customer service must be forsaken in the name of fashion; it's just how it goes. But how I wish I could have said "Bravo, Adrian Brody, for truly understanding our hopes for the metallic trend!" I would also have said that I enjoyed him in The Village.
TREND: RAINBOW PALETTE
A trend for those color lovers out there, we wanted the rainbow trend to include wearing a piece of clothing in every color of the rainbow in a single outfit. Special thanks to Roy G. Biv.
As usual, Fashion Week got it wrong and reduced our rainbow trend to merely wearing bright colors. We've spoken to most of these designers and expressed our displeasure. But again, this happens all the time in our line of work. You just try to not let it get to you.
Always fun, never matronly, a delicate (or bold) floral pattern is perfect for a spring day, garden party or loft conversion ceremony.
TREND: WEARING YELLOW (in everyday life)
If I'm being honest here, there's no elaborate reason we wanted a yellow trend to begin. Our skin tones both just look really good in yellow.
Sometimes fashion is vain.
TREND: FINGERLESS GLOVES
When we first started pushing this trend, many people were confused as to how fingerless gloves would keep their hands warm in the winter. To this, we suggested wearing fingerless gloves UNDERNEATH normal gloves and then removing the outer layer as soon as possible for a fun surprise. While they won't really keep your hands warm, they will make many people wonder why you have black lace on your hands. And that's what fashion is really about.
Interestingly enough, we noticed this trend was really picked up by athletes and the sports crowd. It just goes to show that you can never really predict how fashion works.
TREND: FUR HATS
TREND: FUR HATS
Fur (faux, of course) hats were something Christina and I thought could be worn by everyone, from small children to large men to mannequins alike. We were quite pleased when this trend finally caught on in the winter months. Now I can't think of a single person who doesn't have a (faux) fur hat somewhere in his or her closet.
Really, not a single one.
When I asked Christina a few months ago her thoughts about the next major upcoming trend, she didn't say a word. She just reached into her bag and pulled out these shorts. I was mystified, but trusted that the answer would come in time.
Later in the month as I watched the next major fashion shows, what did my keen and perceptive eye behold?
Oh, just denim shorts being paraded around the runways as if they were the Burlington Teen Tour Marching Band. Just another example of how Christina's eerie intuition blows me away everytime. Maybe she's born with it...
This concludes my review of 2009's major fashion trends. Where does that leave us now? The future. Please feel free to ask me questions relating to fashion, trends and my thoughts on what's going to be HOT in 2015. You'll be glad you did.