Trend analysts, fashion editors and brands can forecast trends all day long, but without relevant numbers and data to back their predictions, it’s somewhat of a guessing game for store owners and buyers. That’s why Loree Lash-Valencia, vice president of WGSN InStock, a business intelligence platform that delivers real-time analytics, urges retailers to explore what technology can do for their day-to-day decision-making.
Lash-Valencia emphasized technology’s role in keeping abreast of the industry during a Magic seminar held Tuesday, titled, “Real-Time Trends From the Retail Floor.”
Using e-commerce data gathered from the beginning of Q4 through January, she presented key womenswear items from the Fall/Winter 2014 selling season and the details that will take them firmly into Fall/Winter 2015.
Skinny silhouettes continued to dominate jeans during the analyzed period, a consistent winner capturing 49 percent of the category. However, Lash-Valencia pointed out that this was 5 percent less than the same period last year. “The skinny will still remain important in Fall ’15, but I urge [retailers] to diversify the silhouettes they carry,” she said, noting that “mom jeans” (or slim, high-waist, five-pocket styles) experienced 6 percent year-over-year growth.
Not ready to embrace this polarizing trend? Lash-Valencia said skinny jeans with higher waists and shorter legs will be important, while patches and patchwork look fresh, as well as shredded, destroyed or embellished knees.
Joggers firmly took their place in wardrobes in Q4, with 6 percent of the trouser category. “We’ll see an overall more sartorial look to the jogger in Fall ’15,” she noted, citing leather, denim and chino options and narrowed legs softening the athletic reference. “Additionally, waists rise up and we see pleats and tucks replacing elastic waist bands in many cases.”
In outerwear, the parka’s popularity prevailed, at 6 percent of the overall coat mix (but a drop of 3 percent year-over-year), and Lash-Valencia predicted that next fall will see the emergence of a clean, minimalist parka, featuring quilted lining and fur trims. The bomber took up 5 percent of the jacket category (up 1 percent from the year-ago period), re-imagined in a whimsical way with plaids, embroidery, patterns and pattern blocking. “As we move into 2015/16, we see the classic MA-1 flight jacket interpreted in a modern, minimal way, either shortened or lengthened, in the classic heavy nylon that it’s known for,” she said, pointing to navy, blush and olive as key colors.
Surprisingly, the classic white button-down reigned supreme in shirts, holding 56 percent of the category, an increase of 4 percent, with elongated sleeves, nipped waists, peplum details and pin-tucked bib fronts. For Fall ’15, longer silhouettes are likely to win out, featuring side slits and covered plackets. “It’s a great vehicle to dress up or down,” she said.
Elsewhere, there’s no end in sight for the fashion sweatshirt. After anchoring 8 percent of tops from September through January, up 1 percent, the trend is set to continue. According to Lash-Valencia, “Grown-up appliques as well as bonded fleece are predominant at the designer level and should easily filter down to the mass market.”
Mini and midi silhouettes alike were strong in skirts, both growing to hold 21 percent and 13 percent respectively. High-waist A-line minis, a clear nod to the ‘70s, will look fresh, flirty and fun in Fall ’15, while full dirndls will dominate midis.
Sweater dresses emerged on the scene in a predominantly cocoon shape, longer and over-sized with an exaggerated round neck, and Lash-Valencia disclosed that WGSN’s trend forecasters believe in the style’s strength next fall/winter. “Longer length column dresses will gain momentum, representing simplicity and minimalism, and we love the V-neck cricket sweater dress — it’s a great vehicle for patterns and graphics,” she added.
Speaking of patterns, Fall ’14 exploded with reworked classic plaids and Lash-Valencia said brushed and muddled checks as well as graphic windowpane checks will offer feminine yet graphic appeal next fall.