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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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

Hot Shoe Trend-It’s Good To Be Bad

“When I’m good, I’m very good, but when I’m bad, I’m better,” so goes the famous quote from May West.

A red-hot holiday 2013 shoe trend is take-no-prisoners, bad-girl shoes. This badass footwear includes moto and over the knee boots , ultra pointy flats and towering pumps decorated with metal studs. Live dangerously and watch them fall into line. Men will swoon. These power shoes mean business, I’m talking monkey business!

It's good to be bad. Badass shoes are red-hot for 2013!

It’s good to be bad. Badass shoes are red-hot for 2013!

Some of the best are from Frye, Michael Kors, Stuart Weitzman, Valentino, Christian Louboutin, Sam Edelman, Burberry, etc. Wear with caution as these shoes could get you arrested for disturbing the peace!

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 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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