Fashion Confirms Broader Consumer Trends

In early January, the Wall Street Journal published an article discussing some of Tom Ford‘s key themes in fashion (re-printed here in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). His themes included some macro-trends that have been seen in other consumer markets for some time:

  • Personalization of Luxury Goods

Personalization and customization have been strong in consumer goods for some time now, although perhaps not as much in fashion luxury goods. Seeing it here is more of a confirmation than a new discovery.

  • Cheap Chic Will Stay Chic

Commonly referred to as the democratization of luxury, or in this case fashion, retailers like H&M and Target have been leading this charge as they team with designers to produce low-priced clothes, accessories, furnishings, and even appliances. This is also a macro-trend that has been around for some time.

  • Logos Lose Their Luster

It’s interesting that the article notes that Ford used logos on everything when he was at Gucci, but quotes him as saying, “I never thought logos were the way to sell products.” Logos are a way to sell products, of course, just not the only one or necessarily the best one. While we may be tired of big logos and logos on everything, most of us still like to wear and use goods with a logo. If a BMW dealer sold cars with and without logos, which do you think would sell better? Subtle logos for superior products will never lose their luster, but big, ubiquitous logos for superior products may. In luxury, scarcity, even if it’s visual scarcity, still works.

  • Celebrity Marketing Is Here to Stay

I’ll take Ford’s word on this one. It doesn’t seem like this has ever slowed down.

  • Sensual Is the New Sexy

“The reality is that while beauty standards come and go, people ‘want to look beautiful and want to look attractive in clothing.'” Can’t argue with that. This seems to fit with logos losing their luster. More subtle logos and more subtle sexiness.

We usually think of fashion as a trend leader, so it’s odd to see personalization and cheap chic listed as future trends for fashion. Both have been evident in other consumer goods for some time. In any case, this is a nice little list of trends which are applicable beyond the fashion industry.

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