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

 

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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

Motor Trend

Every season has a defining fashion item or two, for fall 2013,  it’s the moto jacket. Moto is slang for the omnipresent motorcycle influenced jackets, taking to the streets on every level of the contemporary market. Be it buttery or faux leather or some sort of coated twill, they are cleanly urbane or encrusted with industrial zippers and studs. There are biker, bomber, baseball, denim, quilted and draped jacket styles.

Leather and leather-looks have been gaining speed since last year, for women and men. Items include jackets, vests, jeans, dresses, tops, skirts and leggings. Leather details, trim, fronts or sleeves are found on sweaters, tee shirts, jackets, jeans and leggings. A touch of leather adds bad-ass sass. The moto-jacket is the must-have piece!

Get your moto on with fall 2013's must-have leather jackets!

Get your moto on with fall 2013’s must-have leather jackets!

These easy riders are found in almost every fashion collection including Burberry, Vince, Theory, Helmut Lang, Elie Tahari and most other contemporary and designer lines. They also are also found at democratic prices in places like Forever 21 and Zara.

Leather up and take control, these power pieces have a way of taking the air out of the room. Moto jackets are worth the investment as they have classic attitude and the life span of a denim jacket. Pair with jeans for play or cashmere for the boardroom. Show who’s boss at work or throw over a sequin dress to edge up the night. They rock with camo jeans for tough-as-nails chic or soften the blow, by pairing with a feminine pastel skirt or top. Get your moto on and hit the road!

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

French Dressing – Summer 2013

We live in a global market of micro fashion trends. Apparel brands create their own reality to serve their fans. There are few really big trends that are so salable, so wearable, that they bubble up all over the market simultaneously. A tad nautical, combined with a pinch of early sixties ingénue, French Dressing is summer 2013’s most enchanting big fashion trend.

French Dressing is reminiscent of the endlessly chic style of French women, who are masters of remixing classics in fresh combinations. The contrast of gender-neutral graphic stripes and dots with full-blown feminine styling, delivers an irresistible knock out punch. The combination of sport and sweet is modern and ageless.

French Dressing is summer 2013's most chic and wearable trend.

French Dressing is summer 2013’s most chic and wearable trend.

The colors are summer’s most versatile neutrals, deep navy and pure white, sprinkled with a touch of bloody Mary and periwinkle blue.

Dresses are especially important including fit and flares, halters and shifts. There are both 60’s structured woven dresses and simple knit sheaths. Bottoms include white denim, boyfriend jeans and shorts, printed and lace shorts, pencil, short-flared and 5-pocket skirts. Tops include boat, cowl and crew necklines. Retro looking swimwear includes flattering under-wire bikinis and 50’s style one-pieces. Fabrications are very casual, such as twill/spandex, seersucker, cotton and linen knits.

The footwear is casual, with platform, tie and flat espadrilles, smoking slippers, pointy-toe flats and vulcanized sneakers. Slouchy straw totes, retro and aviator sunglasses complete the look.

Parlez-vous Français?

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

Fashion Faux Pas-Stereotyping Older Consumers

For decades fashion retailers rode the Baby Boomer purchasing wave as they started, advanced and continue their careers. They were the first generation of educated women who fully intended to join the professional ranks, often putting off child-rearing to later in life or never at all. Consequently, they are the most-travelled, wealthiest and most independent women ever in the westernized world.  Retailers are always looking for unmet consumer demand and opportunities.  This large demographic still offers opportunity for companies that don’t fall in the trap of underestimating her, by addressing her with one broad brush.

There is unmet demand for age-appropriate, forward fashion for a 45+ contemporary customer.

There is unmet demand for age-appropriate, forward fashion for a 45+ contemporary customer.

This is the misconception. As all women age, they no longer want to show their figure and take fashion risks. They want cheaper quality and want to disappear into a decorative tunic. I won’t name names, but you all know the colorful, “soft” retailers that subscribe to a stereotypical formula and have hit a ceiling in an aging market. The customer for this type of merchandise is already well-served.

How could brands that target an older customer fail with a burgeoning aging female population? There are many lifestyle and niche markets in men and women of all ages from extremely conservative to fashion-obsessives. It is critical to understand the lifestyle and persona of the target audience and have realistic expectations of the demand.

Many 45+women still have great bodies, a sophisticated fashion sense and plenty of disposable income. They care about their appearance. Many customers don’t want to identify as old and reject the brands that imply it. The designers and retailers who subscribe to a one-size fits all image of this age group are having their matronly hat handed to them.

I know many stylish women in their 40-80’s, that won’t set foot in the well-known specialty stores and sites that target a “so-called” aging consumer with their floaty tops and frumpy pants. In fact, the softer the body, the more flattering structure becomes in a garment. Companies need to consider their specific target woman, values, taste, income and needs.

Of course, people’s bodies change as they age. All apparel companies in any category, have to target an age/body type for their consumer. They have to develop a standard fit, but not necessarily safe product to go with it. In some sense, the notion of a larger fit only for an aging population is becoming debatable, because of rising obesity rates in younger people raised on whipped caramel lattes.

There are fashion-forward contemporary brands such as Theory, Vince, Lululemon, Diane Von Furstenburg, AG, Joie to name a few, who are enjoying great success because they work for a wide range of body types that relate to their brand. Unfortunately the list is short. There is also a male boomer who wants stylish age appropriate contemporary merchandise. Brands like Hugo Boss, Theory, John Varvatos, Robert Graham, AG and Michael Kors are appealing to this ageless male contemporary customer. I believe the men’s business is experiencing robust sales because young men are adopting more dressed up looks for an edge in the job market, the major trend toward slimmer silhouettes and the 45+ customer who is fit, has money and doesn’t want to look old.

Fashion foward shoes & bags have been stand out sellers for all ages. (Valentino Rockstud Ballet Flat)

Fashion foward shoes & bags have been stand out sellers for all ages. (Valentino Rockstud Ballet Flat)

Why have shoes, bags, accessory and beauty products been the standouts categories for years? Partly because these are the democratic categories, in which all women can participate. There is a redundant oversupply of apparel in the market. Opportunity lies in forward, casual, flattering merchandise that accommodates an aging body. It may be a tad longer, less clingy and revealing, but maintain a serious sense of style, quality and sophistication. Simplicity is always in good taste. What is age-appropriate? Appropriateness, more than anything, is a flattering fit.

Some other posts you might enjoy:

Tough Retail: 7 Ways to Grow Your Consumer Brand

Why Fashion Brands Fail to Thrive

 

The Dix & Pond Blog, by Stephanie Bernier is the blog of  Dix & Pond Consulting, a Boston-based, company that consults on business strategy, trends, creative direction, brand experience, product development and merchandising. Clients include retailers, apparel, footwear & consumer companies.  CONTACT US TODAY! 

Thank you for liking and sharing this, if you enjoyed the post! 

Lululemon Pant Recall – Sheer Madness

Last week Lululemon’s stock took a hit on news of a recall of a batch of their “Wunder Under” black yoga pants. When worn by a consumer the pants appeared too sheer. This represented about 17% of their first quarter bottoms assortment and will have an impact on first quarter sales. Lululemon reacted quickly to recall the pants and in the spirit of “transparency”, notified Wall Street of the flap.

Lululemon spring gym bags.

Lululemon spring gym bags.

This sort of thing happens to all manufacturers and brought to mind an incident in my career when the company I worked for, shipped black pants weakened by overdyeing. The pants were splitting in the field and the unassuming customers were showing a lot more than a shadow of their undies! We survived and thrived. This is a case of sheer madness.

Jealous competitors will be disappointed, this incident will not put a dent in the Lululemon lovefest. The beloved Canadian active maker acted the hero, the protector of quality and the decency of their customer.  The missing inventory only represents a piece of their bottoms assortment.

Lululemon continues to innovate and delight their customers.

Lululemon continues to innovate and delight their customers.

The big winners will be those who buy the stock on the dip!

Dix&Pond is the blog of www.dixandpond.com Creative and strategic consulting for retail and wholesale apparel, shoe and consumer product companies. Follow me to get the latest posts

Coral – Must-Have Color Summer 2013

Coral - Spring-Summer 2013's Must-Have Color

Coral – Spring-Summer 2013’s Must-Have Color

Spring/summer 2013’s must-have color is pink’s fraternal twin coral. Coral conjures thoughts of beaches, bikinis and chilled Bellini’s. Fashion is on a feminine trajectory and these pinky-orange hues are found in every level of the apparel (and home) markets for tops, jeans, active wear, swimwear, lingerie, dresses, handbags, footwear, jewelry, etc.

Pale lady slipper, peach, melon to rich begonia, this blushing beauty flatters all skin tones. It is precious and precocious, tender and tantalizing. Whatever the shade, it packs a lady-like punch and says girly girl from a thousand feet.

Pair coral tonally, with pure white or soft neutrals. Expect these trending hues to bloom bigger for spring/summer 2014.

Dix&Pond is the blog of www.dixandpond.com Creative and strategic consulting for retail and wholesale apparel, shoe and consumer product companies. Follow me to get the latest posts

Feeding Frenzy – Lululemon

I admit it, I’m a dyed-in-the-Lycra, full-blown fan of Lululemon Athletica. I was one of the sharks in the holiday feeding frenzy for all things Lulu. On a visit last week after Christmas, I could hardly move around the 60 or so people I counted in the little store lusting after Lulu. They were spending gift cards, making exchanges and if they expected markdowns, they were sorely disappointed. This fashionable Canadian purveyor of athletic clothing has risen to cult status at full-price. This is a true fairy-tale ending to a lackluster holiday season for most retailers.

There are always sexy and functional sports bras and tops.

There are always sexy and functional sports bras and tops.

In a highly competitive apparel market Lululemon has proven that there is always still room for fresh design and a compelling brand experience. (I think the stores are bit dark, though). They churn out unique and creative silhouettes that flatter the athletic and not-so-athletic bodies of their adoring masses. They create demand for their feminine and tastefully sexy styles. They tout performance fabrications for real yoga and running aficionados, but the rest of us just love the great quality and are willing to pay for it. They have broken every rule of the old footwear apparel players. They make expensive, feminine, comfortable, durable and sometimes radical styles for women and men. They almost singlehandedly started the trend for yoga wear as everyday wear in and out of the gym.

Certainly upper management from the major athletic companies are sending spy drones in the stores to figure out their secret sauce. They are buying and dissecting garments and creating their own vanilla versions. This is a recipe without all the ingredients. They are missing the point; it is Lululemon’s originality that makes it special. It is getting to the finish line first. Who cares about second place?

The opportunity for growth for Lululemon is still very great, as they are still far from a household name. They could benefit from larger stores and certainly more men’s product. Girls would be a smash hit, too. If I was a Nordstrom or Bloomingdales’s buyer, I would be begging for a wholesale line.

December Lululemon deliveries included signature pink and black jackets and a unique lace print used on tops and bottoms.

December Lululemon deliveries included signature pink and black jackets and a unique lace print used on tops and bottoms.

Dix&Pond is the blog of www.dixandpond.com Creative and strategic consulting for retail and wholesale apparel, shoe and consumer product companies. Follow me to get the latest posts

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