The New York Times ran a slideshow today that seemed like it would be a standard trend report: Ask a few industry insiders, like Garance Doré and Kate Lanphear, what they thought the next season's trends would be, show the styles, etc. Their response, however, was something a little more interesting.
"The trend story is passé," said Robert Burke, who used to be the fashion director at Bergdorf Goodman. "As little as a decade ago, we would gather at the Ritz in Paris to come up with trend stories, which would then be translated into shop windows and advertising. Forty or 50 of us held the keys to that secret information." Says Garance Doré, "Trends are not what they used to be. We wear what we like."
To be clear, Ruth La Ferla maintains that trends are still relevant for many who follow fashion, but consumers do not seem to be following the edicts that department stores and top-level fashion magazines give; instead, they base their shopping decisions directly from the runway, the Internet, and the streets.
Basically, since we consumers have access to the images, reviews, and historical context to make our own decisions, we don't need to tear out a page from a magazine to bring with us while shopping. This means that Bergdorf Goodman has to compete with Blogger Betty from Boise for influence. But — obviously — this doesn't mean that all trends, and trend reports, don't matter (let's all take a moment to reflect on drop-crotch pants as evidence of blind-trend following).
What changed is who's doing the reporting, how it gets distributed, and how it translates into sales. And hey — if the new "trend reporting" means that instead of bringing a clipping from Vogue to Bergdorf and buying the skirt suit shown on the page, we're spotting the Prada brocade suit while watching the livestream of a show...only to find a vintage Prada dress with a similar brocade print to pair with a new pair of Zara brocade pants we picked up on the weekend, and save up for a Prada brooch to pin on our new ensemble — that's a good thing. (NYT)