The broad fashion trends I see in retail right now are defined by hipster chic, prints (bold, floral and animal) and a big active trend for women. Menswear is also carrying the Sportswear trend through along with the preppy vintage look.
For women the jumpsuit is huge right now. You can dress it up, dress it down, wear it to a work function or even a Sunday brunch. The jumpsuit is an all-round, go-to outfit that can be worn at any occasion. The versatility of this garment is mainly why women love it, and of course, it’s right on trend.
Dainty necklaces and rings also feature with ladies enjoying a more clean, refined look. These accessories add a classic feminine touch to their outfits.
With an increased consumer focus on value for money we have seen the rise of the classic tote and shopper bag. This silhouette combines the fashion element with the practical element. Lace adds a bohemian, chic look and an element of sexiness to the fashion conscious consumer look.
For men, there’s a swing towards joggers, ranging from knit denims to a more structured twill. Men are loving joggers at the moment! They are a comfortable and fashionable item that for some reason automatically appeals to a man. Another must-have item for most men is the classic cognac leather belt. This is something, in my opinion, that will never go out of fashion.
Consumers are also embracing the “out-there” look with colour blocked shirts – a timeless, wardrobe staple. Trucker hats are making a huge comeback and are my personal favorite.
The challenge for retailers and fashion brands is how to filter out the noise from dozens of fashion trends and carefully select what will sell in stores. The solution is to understand your target market. There will always be dozens of trends within the fashion industry, but you constantly need to be aware of each and every one of them. If you are observant, do your research and get to really know your customer and what they want, you can adapt the trends you see around you to suit your market. One of my biggest pieces of advice is: Never filter out that noise.
There are a handful of key features I see for the Spring/Summer 2015 season.
A major trend we will see this coming season for women 70s inspired fashion. This might manifest in small and subtle touches or fully-fledged 1970s disco. Other style elements will be palazzo pants, A-line skirts, cargo jackets, shoulder bearing tops and dresses. An abundance of denim and a whole lot of tassels should be evident in the streets this summer.
We won’t necessary be seeing a new trend in men’s fashion but rather a more polished continuation of the sportswear and preppy vintage looks. These trends have refined themselves over the past few months. Additional items and inspirations for this season are urban prints, long vests and T-shirts, baggy shorts, plaids, colour blocking, chinos, denim on denim and many different kinds of silhouetted hats.
Unfortunately, in South Africa we are always a season behind, which does have a major effect on how we react to international trends. That said, I believe the new international brands currently entering the South African market are pulling us towards being a fashion focused country that is forward-looking. We are starting to react faster and faster to what’s happening abroad and are no longer that far behind.
There is an ongoing debate about who will win the retail battle: online shopping or brick-and-mortar stores. I definitely think the latter. While there has been positive growth in online shopping within the South African market we do have a tendency here to catch onto things a little slower. South Africans still like the conventional way of shopping and most of us are still playing it safe.
Every year we seem to be striving towards becoming more forward-looking in our fashion. I think we are moving in the right direction and fast fashion is the way of the future if we want to stay 100% on trend 365 days of the year. Welcoming more and more international brands to our shores has increased the fashion knowledge of our consumers, which will ultimately serve the retailer market. The fashion buying public have now become hungrier for that trendy item.
Stuart March is the Brand Director of Guess? South Africa