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Cheryl Slabber, senior buyer of casual wear at Foschini on winter 2013 trends.

The most sought-after items for women this winter are blazers and pleather (artificial leather) bomber jackets. While summer saw a riot of coloured jeans, the look for winter has gone back to plain blue in a big way. Shades of skinny blue jeans, in light, dark or textured finishes, are what will complete the winter look with a masculine-leaning blazer or bomber jacket.  The rocker-chic look, inspired by French designer Isabel Marant, has seen boots, skirts, jackets and even scarves, embellished with studs in a throwback to rock and roll and biker culture.

Without becoming too bland, black and white will dominate the fashion scene in the coming months. To keep it interesting, bold geometrics, stripes and spots have exploded onto everything from shoes, accessories, casual wear and formal attire. Understated, accent embellishments are helping to add interest to this monochrome wardrobe, with a splash of colour giving the odd lift where needed.

Globally, a clean style is emerging with deconstructed, simple lines. The fuss and clutter is gone and a simple white T-shirt with jeans and jacket will see you ready to go. However, the simplicity of this look is broken with embroidery and an attention to fabric and texture. Woven fabrics and knit tops, in particular, will add interest to the clean cut of this style, the more individualised, the better.

With South African retailers now firmly up against large global brands, the consumer is spoilt for choice and local retailers now need to keep a close eye on the needs of shoppers and how it’s presented to them. A highly analytical approach is currently taking hold within retail, driven by global giants such as Cotton On, Zara and Topshop, who have taken the shopping experience to new levels. The housing, or how clothes are presented in-store, has become a fine art, with many retailers examining their store entrances carefully. Presenting a whole look for consumers at the door has become a crucial part of the fashion trade. Displaying five key, must-have items for winter in a way that guides the consumer in their selection of clothing, is one way that retailers are helping promote current fashion trends.

Analysis of consumer needs has also become highly scientific, with some stores feeding customer requests or suggestions directly to a central data centre, that then uses it to formulate future trends. Collecting in-store data is also important as it allows retailers and manufacturers to get a head start on the planning and manufacturing of  developing trends – a crucial advantage in the highly competitive clothing retail market. While many local retailers need a six month lead time from placing the order to delivery in-store, larger, global brands are able to move new stock into shops within three weeks.

A quicker response time into stores will see consumers benefitting in the near future as highly desirable trends become available locally, not long after fashion shows around the world have inspired a certain look.

Right now we should be seeing a look that celebrates the muted tones of cobalt, teal, burgundy, maroon and deep claret, with a trusty white shirt underpinning your wardrobe at every opportunity. When not too concerned about the public eye, a more relaxed sweat top look is perfect for the weekends.

 

The Fashion Design Awards (FAD) offers the top three students from the Cape Town Fashion Academy an opportunity to intern at Foschini, with an option to apply as a trainee on completion of studies. www.foschini.co.za




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