Blue Color Worker Spring/Summer 2015

Looking at 25″ of snow outside, I’m big-time craving the blue skies of spring and summer 2015. One consolation is that we will be seeing a lot of blue in fashion over the next few months. The “Blue Color Worker” is the backbone of America in deepest navy, Air Force blue, royal, periwinkle, tender baby and blue tint.

The perennial favorite color will be front and center in fashion on everything from handbags, tops, sweaters, dresses, jeans, outerwear, active apparel, accessories, swimwear, shoes, etc. There will be a range of denim washes from light to very dark as well as solid dyed twills.

As MVP of the color spectrum, it can morph sharply nautical, softly sensual or boho seventies. Versatile blue is a power player, the king of casual and an intoxicating pastel.

Pair blues tonally or use navy as a neutral foil against bright primaries, such as navy and citrusy yellow. Navy with tinted pastels are chic and sexy. Combine the spectrum of blues with shades of grey, khaki or optic white.

Blue is the hardest working color family for spring/summer 2015.

Blue is the hardest working color family for spring/summer 2015.

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 2013 Casual Shoe Fashion Trends

Will Fashion Still Drive Sports Apparel?

Active apparel has experienced significant growth over the past five years. According to Forbes magazine estimates, the global sports apparel market was worth $135 billion in 2012. It is no secret that Lululemon and Under Armour became the defacto leaders of the sports apparel industry in terms of fashion and overall growth rates. Nike, the largest player in sports apparel, upped their game significantly and their share of the overall activewear market increased from 3.9% in 2007 to 4.9% in 2012, according to Forbes.

Men's is a huge opportunity for Lululemon.

Men’s is a huge opportunity for Lululemon.

The sports apparel market was once controlled by male-dominated footwear companies that dished out low quality, masculine basics emblazoned with their logos. Apparel was a “foot note” in their bureaucratic shoe cultures, driven by industrial designers, on a rigid shoe production schedule with little understanding of fashion. This has been true of other shoe companies that extend into apparel as well. Apparel companies operate and think in a very different way. They tend to be more agile, trend driven, work closer to need and repeat very little season to season.

Under Armour was born from an apparel mentality. With its higher prices and slick styling, they quickly became the company to beat in men’s sports apparel. They added sex appeal and attainable luxury in a sea of dumpy poly/cotton logo tees. Lululemon came along and blew away every preconceived notion about the category. They proved consumers are willing to pay a premium for innovative feminine styling, flattering fits and exciting fashion color. They almost never discount and have trained their customers to buy now, with a  limited inventory on new styles. I see a huge future for this company. Women are introducing Lulu to their men and are a fixture in the dressing area with their female counterparts. They are currently constrained by their store count. I could see men’s growing significantly and a huge opportunity, if they did Lulu kids. Companies like Athleta and Title Nine aren’t real competition for Lululemon. They are riding the sports apparel wave, but their basic styling and “Zen-like” prints are more masculine, formulaic and old-school.

Lululemon and Under Armour brought fashion to a dead zone. The genie is out of the bottle and it is never going back. These companies offer “aspirational luxury” and consumers love wearing these comfy duds on the street, whether they participate in sports or not. Nike was smart to apply the same winning principles to their apparel without knocking off them off. These leaders are in constant forward motion. The future isn’t about commodity black yoga pants.

Flattering and feminine styles drive sales at Lululemon.

Flattering and feminine styles drive sales at Lululemon.

Brands create value with a unique vision that is consistent across their product lines and find the audience to whom it resonates. The challenge for footwear companies in apparel is their industrial design driven culture. Most athletic footwear companies apparel offerings aren’t consistent with their shoe brands. They tend to be less hip and very sports marketing driven. Women don’t care about athlete endorsements and they buy a lot more clothes than men. The market is wide open for another sports apparel brand with original ideas to grab market share.

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

Retro Sneakers-Vulcan Worship

Whatever you call them, retro sneakers or tennis shoes, the original gym shoes are on fire. They are having a huge fashion moment that has been gaining steam for several years. Vulcan was the god of fire. Vulcanized shoes (heat-treated rubber) are the original canvas athletic shoes that have been around for more than 100 years. The technique doesn’t really matter; these comfy retro kicks are the casual shoe of choice for urban hipsters, cool kids and suburban fashionistas alike. These quaintly low-tech shoes, appeal to the most tech-obsessed crowd. They offer a certain rebellious contrast to the uber-engineered athletic shoes. Retro sneakers provide hip comfort and are cheaper too, leaving  vulcanistas with more cash for their techno toys.

Shopping in Soho last week, the Converse store midday, was almost as busy as an Apple store. It was the most active store on a long shopping trek around the neighborhood. The crowd was concentrated around their custom design bar and self-serve shoe window. Customization allows the customer the ultimate in sneaker self-expression.

Vulcanized, retro style sneakers are red-hot for Fall 2012!

Vulcanized, retro style sneakers are red-hot for Fall 2012!

Sizzling fashion sneaker brands include Converse (MA 1908), Superga (Italy 1925), Vans (CA 1966) and Uggs (CA 1978). There are many other wholesale and private label brands, too. Styles include high, low tops and boot styles for men women and children. There are sexy platforms and high heels in addition to the traditional flat eyelet and slip-ons. Unusual materials and color create newness. Uppers include solid canvas, metallics, leathers, prints, dip dyes, quilting, distressed and ornamentation such as studs. These red-hot styles are featured at major shoe emporiums like Nordstrom, Finish Line, Zappos, and just about everywhere else!

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

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