Fashion is notoriously fickle. Every season has a new look and featured designer. Trends have to wait quite a while, even decades, to return to the forefront of fashionistas’ consciousness. The worst insult in the fashion world is to deem a person off-season and stuck in a decade. Luckily for those in the shoe business, with every season comes the opportunity to satisfy client demands, build relationships and initiate new growth opportunities by generating leads. The power to grow your business depends on how fashionable your product is perceived by consumers. Keeping up with the well-dressed crowd is challenging enough; if companies are on top of trends, clients will seek their products without second guessing the choices available. However, a company must take great pains to stay au courant with the fashion world. As Fashion Week came to an end recently, many new trends emerged.
A woman always leaves shoes until last while getting dressed. Shoes are the final accessory and they always make a declaration, no matter what the decade is. Once upon a time in the fashion world, red shoes were statement pieces. Now the fashion world has thankfully branched out to other trends. The new “it” shoe for the season is pointed flats. Ballet flats have dominated the market for over five years now and it is definitely time for a change.
Pointed toe flats are dressier than their rounded counterparts are and lend an element of danger to the designs. Audrey Hepburn championed this look in the 50s and 60s rounded looks were favored in the 70s, but the shoes of the 1980s celebrated all angular looks. The time for the structure/look of angular shoes to return is Spring 2015.
Adornments and materials
Designers this year are also focusing on shoe adornments and accessories. A Mary Jane strap with pointed flats will update a look to high market rather than down market. Studs are always in fashion, especially with the sleeker silhouettes of this year. However, the shoes of the 1970s should not be discounted. Clogs are making a comeback with materials that are more stylish and streamlined. Wedge sneakers are now the look of last year as the fashion forecast calls for more feminine wedges. The trending silhouette has gone back to sleek. Gone are the days of big buckles and bows. Fringe, however, is back in a big way as are the eternal preppy staple of loafers with updated accessories such as straps.
Do I have to follow trends?
One thing about the fashion world is that it is not taken seriously by everyone. Some people are quite happy still wearing Doc Martens or strappy sandals. These customers cannot be ignored in favor over trendier customers. Ask yourself in every step of the manufacturing process whether the product will appeal to your client base. This entails being aware of whom your buyers are. If your products are beloved by teenage girls, then trends are their focal point. However, if their mothers are your biggest engagers, then perhaps have standard pieces such as loafers with one or two trends mentioned above.
For example, Chanel has introduced pointed toe loafers with a Mary Jane strap. You can use this design as a template, but offer a selection of materials such as leather, pleather or even canvas. Color, in many cases, is just as important as the design. The “it” color of 2015 is Marsala, which is a rich wine color. While it may be tempting to manufacture all products in this color, please keep in mind that black is the eternal fashion staple color.
Trends are the lifeblood of the fashion world, but your buyers are yours. Customize trends to fit their needs. Ask yourself the following questions when deciding how to incorporate trends into your upcoming lines:
- What is the age range of my buyers?
- What are their needs?
- How important are trends to their look?
- How can I meet their expectations within my price point?
Keeping these questions in mind are key to surviving the fickle fashion world. After you have created your potential products and incorporated the trends, consider which company you will use to make your fashion vision a reality. There are many offshore manufacturing sites in the business. Select a reputable company if you do outsource, and do diligent research. High quality companies include EDS Footwear, Deerway CO Ltd and Chengdu Mokai. Also, subscribe to different fashion bibles such as Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily to gauge mass style. True fashion lovers are also keenly aware that trends are interpreted differently by all walks of life. There are great websites such as www.thesartorialist.com, you can use to peek into the world of how high fashion is interpreted by people on the street in such fashion hubs as Paris, New York City, London, and Milan.
Best of luck this fashion season and may every trend be a winner.