Sweet Things – Fall Fashion Power Trend

The pleasure of fashion is the ability to transport the wearer and captivate the observer. Fashion is a game, played well, by a scarce few who understand its incredible power.  Fashion choices can help one transcend mere mortal status. Think of the ability of black leather to dominate, a Navy uniform to officiate or all white to glamorize.

Nothing is so sensual, so alluring, so downright sexy as the “Sweet Things” trending in fall fashion. These girly, fitted, ruffly, lacy, pleated, cropped, sheer, sequined and embellished items have the ability to bring men to their knees.  Women get caught in their emotional web and can’t resist the impulse. Think legal nudity.

Power trend: Sweet and sexy blush items for fall.

Power trend: Sweet and sexy blush items for fall.

Most often, these trouble-making tops, dresses, handbags, shoes, sweaters, active wear, bras, panties and skirts are in delicate shades of blush pink.  Look for these delicate colors in beauty lines, as well.

Caution, there can be too much of a good thing. Wear them tonally or in single servings. Pair sweet pieces with edgier ones like jeans or leather jacket. Pair with grey, navy or maroon. Head-to-toe blush pink can lead to a matronly sugar rush.

Look to Herve Lerger, Ted Baker, Tory Burch, Club Monaco, BCBG, Zara, La Perla, Athleta, etc. for some of the best Sweet Things.

 

For color seasonal color forecasts, see COLORSCOOP.

 Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel, footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

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Fall 2014 Color Trend- Grape Escape

Purple is a color with multiple personalities. It’s fans include a huge range, hipsters, outdoor geeks and the hottest of hot femme fatales. Purple  has a rebellious streak and is the color of royalty. Not to mention, it flatters just about everyone and is endlessly feminine. This powerhouse color is taking a walk on the red-casted side for fall 2014 and will continue for 2015.

Look for soft tender and dusty lilac, purple rose, red grape and the deepest red plum in sexy lingerie, athletic wear, dresses, tops, sweaters, jeans, outerwear, handbags, accessories, jewelry and shoes. These godly shades are fabulous paired tonally, with grey, olive, navy, pinks and berries.

Red-casted purples are dominant for Fall 2014-15

Red-casted purples are dominant for Fall 2014-15

 

For color seasonal color forecasts, see COLORSCOOP.

 Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel, footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

 

Women’s 5 Fall 2014 Fashion Essentials

Stylish women seem effortlessly modern and have a certain je ne sais quoi. What’s the secret? They understand that a great wardrobe is a continuous evolution not a revolution. The fashion-savvy build upon their curated closet seasonally, with a handful of new items that have the power to change everything. Here is my round-up of five essential, trend-right items for Fall 2014, that will simply give you an up-to-the minute look:

Fall 2014 Fashion Must-Haves

Fall 2014 Fashion Must-Haves

1.  The slip-on sneaker. Sneaker style is white-hot. The not-so-humble “slip-on” in modern materials, such as metallics, leather, quilted, perforated, printed or embroidered, has my vote for the casual shoe of the season. Pair them with jeans, skirts, dresses, athletic pants, just about everything, for a comfy update to your fall footwear wardrobe. Think Vans, Steve Madden, Dolce Vita, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Joie, Vince, Prada, Stella McCartney, Jimmy Choo and just about all the usual suspects.

2. The clutch bag. There is something so elegant, so fresh , “clutching” a bag when everyone else is schlepping a sack over their shoulder. The clutch is a sure glam-slam.

Clutch bags come in envelope or clasp styles or and the more user-friendly wristlet clutch; either way it is an instant fall 2014 style update. I particularly like them in a pop of color, textural metallic or animal print, paired with neutral clothing. Check out Valentino, Alexander Wang, Marni, Proenza Schouler, Smythson, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Ted Baker, Kate Spade, BCBG and many more.

3. The athletic jean. Jeans are down-trending as women are wearing athletic or “athleisure” looks in and out of the gym. The trend has gone beyond basic yoga pants to spandex blend and nylon pants in 5-pocket jean-styling, cuffed sweats, boyfriend shapes, cargo details, etc.

Pair fitted pants with an oversized sweater, layered tops or sexy top for the gym. Pair baggy sweats, boyfriends or cargos with smaller, close to the body tops. See some of the best at Athleta, Carbon 38, and Net-a-Sporter.

4. The graphic top. “If you see something, say something”. The lowly graphic tee or top has been elevated to fashion status this season. Words have the power to express something about the wearer, simply amuse, suggest or confuse the audience. Text is powerful and playful, a small investment for an instant seasonal update. Look for intarsia sweaters and printed sweats and tees from Madewell, J Crew, Zara, Pam and Gela, Haute Hippie, Free People, Current/Elliott, Alexander McQueen, etc.

5. New outerwear. Outerwear is daily wear and more people see us with our coats on than off. An investment in an updated trench, parka or jacket can change-up your current wardrobe and attitude in an instant.

Look for down-filled, shine, quilted, luxe leathers, pop colors and metallics in puffers, 3/4 styles and cropped moto jackets. I particularly like casual styling in upscale materials. My favorites include Moncler, Burberry, Barbour, SAM., Mackage, Via Spiga and Uniglo.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel, footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

 

Fall 2015 Fashion Colors for Women

Are you a little bored with the same old color trend services year after year? Any design director who has been in the business for while starts to recognize the color service without seeing the box. A bigger problem is that many pricey forecasts come out about 18 months in advance. How can they be right? Fashion designers should strive to work closer to season.

Check out a new women’s color trend service for sportswear, active wear, dresses, accessories, intimate and footwear called COLORSCOOP. What sets it apart, is it comes out closer to the season (about 12 months in advance) and is chock full of beautiful, current images to support the forecast. This exciting service comes as a wired-bound book, with Pantone textile references and understandable commentary. Created by a design director for design directors and an economical $495 per season. Get the scoop now, SEE COLORSCOOP for immediate delivery.

Colorscoop is easy-to-use, salable and economical.

Colorscoop is easy-to-use, salable and economical.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel, footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

Bloody Truth- Why Hot Entrepreneurs Start to Fail

Three, five maybe fifteen years ago, you were a hot entrepreneur in the consumer, fashion or tech space. You were the cool startup, the one getting tons of attention, calls from VCs and interview requests. You were growing rapidly and could do no wrong. Things have started to slide. Now the fresh-faced startups are getting all the press.

There are real leadership reasons, I see them every day. They are painful and bloody revelations. Do you have the courage to read on?

Here are the 12 biggies:

1. Numbers don’t lie. There are reasons for your slide or stagnant sales. When sales dip there is always a reason. You can blame the economy, the weather or currency fluctuations, but there are always other painful reasons that leaders often don’t want to face.

2. You surrounded yourself with friends in key leadership roles. When people start companies they often surround themselves with friends, relatives and available people who will take a lesser salary to work with other friends. You often chose talent on price not quality. These early managers aren’t necessarily the ones to lead a company through growth or tougher times. It is also very hard for entrepreneurs to hold them accountable for poor performance. This is one of the most damaging of the biggies.

3. You aren’t focused on the priorities. Many companies start to lose focus on the core business or model that created their success. Lululemon lost sight of their “fashion driven” model, while edgier competitors sprouted up.

Sales lagged as Lululemon lost sight of their "fashion driven" model.

Sales lagged as Lululemon lost sight of their “fashion driven” model.

4. You have no strategic business plan. Entrepreneurs get distracted by personal or rewarding side projects, instead of the mundane day-to-day. Your employees see this and lose focus as well.

5. You are frequently absent. Human nature hasn’t changed for thousands of years. When the boss is away, the mice will play. You are more interested in your trip to France, building a new house, or just losing daily discipline. Your tardiness or absenteeism is taking a toll on momentum.

6. You isolate yourself. You have started to believe your own self-importance. You surround yourself with gatekeepers who thrill in protecting you from information. You hide your email address and cell number, like state secrets. Your ear is “no longer on the ground” and have created your own reality. You stop communicating and are now the Emperor With No Clothes.

7. You tolerate bad behavior. You want everyone to like you so you never set any standards for office discipline. You allow lateness, texting in meetings, inappropriate behavior and outright fighting. Does Dov Charney at American Apparel come to mind?  You fill the office with perks like beer on Fridays, games and free food; but hesitate to set a tone that everyone’s time is money and the business is why everyone is here, in the first place.

8. You micro-manage. You feel your input and decision-making are critical in every area. You never heard one of your own ideas you didn’t love. This takes accountability from the players, slows down the business and demoralizes everyone. Are you deciding on the brand of coffee for the kitchen?

9. You lose the pulse of the market. When you started you were front and center with customers and on top of the competition. You now live in your bubble and rely on second-hand input from subordinates.

10. You build a team with no diversity. You took the easy out and hired friends from your alma mater. In fact, you thought only guys from your alma mater were worth hiring; or perhaps you hired all young hipsters, MBAs or like-minded WASPS. Congratulations, you have created a one-dimensional organization lacking creativity and divergent ideas.

11. You protect the high-performing sociopath in the office. This cancer in the company is allowed to wreak havoc on the organization, because they have big talent in some area. Their wide-reaching influence demoralizes everyone and has a serious impact on sales.

12. You have no succession plan. In fact, you have surrounded yourself with weak players. You prefer to have control and if you get hit by a bus the company’s going down the tube.

Great leadership takes continued humility, the willingness to listen, change and make hard decisions. Innovative new products come from strong motivated teams. Success of the company starts from the leadership at the top.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel, footwear, consumer products and analysts. Follow me to get the latest posts

Metal Urge for Home & Fashion

Our obsession with casual living, dressing and entertaining refuses to wane. At the same time, there is a serious trend in the “glamming of casual”. It is expressed in our urge for metal. Silver, gold and rose gold metallic looks, pervade all-things-casual… chunky sweater knits, tees, deconstructed totes, rustic espadrilles, thong sandals, outerwear, sneakers, jeans, even the ultimate hipster Birkenstock. Lustrous metal has invaded the home in rustic textiles, pillows, baskets and glamorously irregular, hand-hammered metal or molded serve ware, trays and frames. Perhaps we are craving the luxe status of metal in a sea of laid-back sameness?

Metallic is a big trend in casual fashion and home décor.

Metallic is a big trend in casual fashion and home décor.

Metallic is the perfect textural foil in home decor and elevates a neutral color scheme to royal status. Layering of low-luster metals in the home enhances their innate richness.

In fashion, metallic clothes and accessories speak a modern language, when used as a single, bold statement at a time. Metal apparel and accessories provide a similar textural contrast to sophisticated neutrals and solids. Pairing metal with casual items like jeans, spotlight the notable against the vanilla masses. Wearing more than one metallic item at a time (other than jewelry) and the wearer may slip down a steep and matronly slope.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel, footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

 

Wrong Prescription for Coach’s Ills

Coach continues its downward slide. Sales in 3rd quarter 2015, dropped 15%. Some blame currency issues and the over-proliferation of outlet stores. Note to leadership, it’s the merchandise. Stuart Vevers strategy is stodgy, European and not much fun. The sleepy handbags are more matron than Millennial. Note to pundits, Millennials love outlet shopping. I still contend that their turnaround strategy is seriously flawed and too dependent on overly competitive apparel. I wrote this post in 2014 and not much has changed except Michael Kors and Kate Spade are hitting some headwinds, as well.

Coach’s 2014 first quarter profit fell 20%, while aspirational fashion rivals such as Michael Kors and Kate Spade continue to ratchet impressive gains. Coach experienced a steep drop in North American accessories sales. Coach’s strategy for slumping sales is a planned full lifestyle assortment, to include apparel and a greater emphasis on higher priced bags over $400, the volume sweet spot.  They recently hired a new creative director Stuart Vevers, to take over for Reed Krakoff (who is resigning); his first product introductions will be in Fall 2014.

Coach spring 2014 styles

Coach spring 2014 styles

As a Coach watcher and stock holder, this strategy goes down like bad medicine. Instead of aiming to win in the sweet spot, they are abdicating to the competition. Michael Kors’ apparel is a footnote to his successful handbags, watches and shoes. Kate Spade offers some of the most whimsical, colorful, bags, shoes and accessories and apparel is secondary. Tory Burch is a shoe and bag story with apparel paling in comparison.

Accessories are the democratic categories in which women of all ages and sizes can play, women’s apparel is stuck in a highly competitive funk.

Coach was riding high, in the early 2000’s. Their then colorful, fresh, “C” logoed bags were the “it” bags for the aspirational designer masses. Over time, they became ubiquitous, as every hairdresser and soccer mom carried them. As they down-trended, they didn’t follow with renewed  innovation, instead made the critical mistake of looking back and doing a rehash of the sturdy, vintage Legacy styles. These unrefined bags, although colorful, looked like a clunky 1980’s LeBaron instead of a chic 2013 Audi. The competition was forging ahead with exciting materials, color and patterns, like Michael Kors’ glam styles, Kate Spade’s playful totes and tech cases, the silicone Furla Candy bag and styles by Rebecca Minkoff, Marc Jacobs, Ted Baker and Longchamp.

The current assortment is sleepy at best. It feels like a lightly-veiled nod to Salvatore Ferragamo. They played it safe and sexless. There is no emotional must-have draw. Even with 25% off coupons, one is hard pressed to spend the deal. The prospect of a larger selection in the $600 plus range is a miscalculation of opportunity. They need to focus on modern, forward  materials, shapes and details in the $400 range sweet spot; then offer additional showstoppers in the $600 plus range.

Coach went too safe.

Coach went too safe.

A  key asset for Coach is their well-priced, quality shoe line. They offer slightly more wearable shoe heights than Kors and at prices lower than Kate Spade. I hope they don’t think they need to raise prices and heel heights to get a new customer. Maintain the $198 average price point and expand the selection to include more options of fashion-forward sandals, pumps, wedges, loafers and boots.

This great American brand has had a small stumble. When you take fashion risks as good brands do, you will trip-up sometimes. This brand has a cold, but certainly isn’t terminal. They just need the right prescription for renewed health.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel, footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

Great New Color Trend Service

Are you a little bored with the same old color trend services year after year? Any design director who has been in the business for while starts to recognize the color service without seeing the label. A bigger problem is that many pricey forecasts come out about 18 months in advance. How can they be right? Fashion designers should strive to work closer to season.

Introducing a new women’s color trend service called COLORSCOOP. What sets it apart, is it comes out closer to the season (about 12 months in advance) and is chock full of beautiful, current images to support the forecast. This exciting service comes as a wired-bound book, with Pantone textile references and understandable commentary. Created by a design director for design directors and an economical $295 per season.

A page from spring 2015 Colorscoop.

A page from spring 2015 Colorscoop.

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel, footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

Spring 2015 Fashion – Green Energy

Green the color of optimism, growth, renewal and happiness. Couldn’t we all use some of that right now?

Bountiful greens are the biggest trend for spring 2015 fashion. Expect the unexpected, you will see them everywhere including sportswear, handbags, lingerie, active wear, swim, footwear , accessories, jewelry and in beauty. These exuberant greens range from the palest mint, jade, spearmint to deep dark forest. They cast slightly blue. Green can be a tad retro, bohemian or classic. This is the most sustainable form of green energy. Check out COLORSCOOP, the best new women’s color trend forecast!

Fresh greens are the big news for spring 2015!

Fresh greens are the big news for spring 2015!

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel,  footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

Fashion Activewear Wins the Gold

Let’s face it, there is too much apparel offered for the North American market to absorb. Strong evidence is that most price points of casual apparel, haven’t risen in decades. Part of the deflation was the elimination of quotas. The main reason is when there is an over-supply of something, it loses pricing power.  40-60% off anyone?Fashion Activewear

Another factor is a lack of excitement in casual fashion. Year after year, we see endless commodity tees, jeans and shorts,  Big yawn.

There is a bright spot. Athletic wear, active wear, performance apparel, whatever you call it, is dominating casual fashion. These industry terms are nothing more than comfortable casual clothes, in unique fabrics that flatter the body, while taking a beating. Appearing active provides an “in” to the hip club of people who care about their bodies and wellness; even if most people will never do yoga or run a marathon.There has been fashion “risk taking” in silhouettes and fabrics in the active category. Lululemon even with their recent pant and PR foibles has dominated by offering compelling fashion in a range of technical fabrics.  They broke all the dreary rules of developing safe, cheap active apparel. Dense and constructed fabrics smooth flaws and support the body.  High prices are part of the status appeal. The offer continuous newness. Rule breakers often find opportunity in the road-less-traveled.

Who cares if clothes are anti-stink, moisture wicking or breathable, if you aren’t wearing them to exercise? They have supernatural powers to make the wearer feel sexier, current and part of the aspirational “it” club. Fashion is about emotion after all. Under Armour, the other dominant brand, born from apparel roots, understands they are selling “power” not poly. (Under Armour’s 2013’s revenue grew 27.1%) Companies with a strong “brand promise” have pricing power.

Smartly, Nike understands the trend and stepped up their apparel game compared to most footwear companies. Nike announced that its branded apparel has grown by 40% in the last 3 years!  This isn’t true for most footwear brands, creating humdrum clothing, as an afterthought. There is a mushrooming market for fashion-driven active brands like Michi, Prism Sport, Koral and Stella MCartney for Adidas. You can see others on the newly launched, active fashion ecommerce site, Carbon 38.  

Dix&Pond is the blog of Dix & Pond Consulting Creative and strategic consulting for retail, wholesale apparel,  footwear, consumer products and branding agencies. Follow me to get the latest posts

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