Eli, over at Thrift Eye recently commented on the "Florals for Spring" post, and my response to her seemed to inject itself with steroids, grow extra limbs and just generally Jabba the Hut all over the place, so... naturally, I thought it best to share it here.
Eli's perfectly normal, unassuming comment:
"But you used to be or still are a buyer for a store right? That brings upon the duality of trend forecasting much like magazines do I would imagine. Magazines criticize the same hypocrisy they represent. If it's not flowers for spring it's stripes, or dots, or whatever then floral all over again! This is why I'm much more apt to wear what I like and looks good on me and not follow trends. In fact, I think the trend right now and maybe for the 2010's is to not follow a trend?
I personally love flowers...and generally think millions or billions of others do too. Why else would Liberty of London still exist?!"
My unbelievably long, ranting, tangent of a response (sorry):
I totally agree with you, Eli. I buy for stores in California, Hawaii, and Arizona- and yes, as such I am slave to the trend forecasting Gods. We're often buying more than a year out. But you know what? It's all just soooo cyclical and after a while... predictable. This gives many buyers an attitude of: "We make the trends... WE determine what will be available to the public next season/next year..." And to an extent, they're right, because often a particular style won't even go into production if the presale figures are weak. Though it can be very redundant, I have to look at each collection with a fresh and neutral palate because I'm not buying for myself- I'm buying to appeal to women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and lifestyles. I'm paid to predict, but in doing so I have to consider the woman who will ultimately see an item in a shop window and stop in her tracks. Where will she be in 12 months? WHO will she be? What editorial, celebrity, weather, or colors will appeal to her? What music will she listen to? What car will she drive? Who does she go home to at night? How does she earn her money, and (most relevant) how will she choose to spend it?
Personally, I wear whatever the heck I want, whenever I want (often to my own detriment- but happily), and in my everyday life I am absolutely immune to what's hip or trendy at the moment. To be honest, I find that the more loose and unaffected I can keep myself, the better my buying and long term trending radar (and thus next years' sales figures) will be. Also, it might seem obnoxious to say this, but when you're exposed to so many collections so far in advance, what's trending "now" really loses its impact. By the time I finally see the product on a hanger, in the store- it's old news. But it's the way this fashion machine works, and it's really all we've got in terms of steering customers down the path that will lead to the highest revenue. Through trends, the industry shoves its ominous mantra down consumer's throats: "Oooh.... Hurry up and wear your stripes while you can... polka dots are riiiight around the cornerrrr!" Ummm... Are my stripes going to self-destruct next month, or run away from home when the polka dots show up? I can't tell you how much I hate that mentality. I also hate perpetuating the gross consumerism and waste that trends produce in my occupation. It's probably the single most difficult aspect of my job, and will certainly be my downfall- which is why I'm so in love with your approach and the concept you project with your own blog.
I grew up in a really unique situation, with my mother selling vintage couture in one room, and my auntie selling ridiculously high-end contemporary apparel in the next. Under one roof! It definitely molded a unique perspective on the appreciation of quality clothing, upcycling, and care. I learned at a very young age that though trends are fleeting, they always come back. The smartest way to buy is always the very best quality you can afford- whether it's fresh from the manufacturer, or a vintage treasure. And always, ALWAYS hang on to those rare gems that fit you like a glove, flatter you, and make you feel like the prettiest girl in the room.
I'll just slip on my hypocrite hat for a sec here and say, that if I could sit a room full of customers down, I'd ask them to really consider the impact of following trends and to ask themselves before they buy: Is it worthy of the space in your closet? On our planet? Who are you buying it for- the salesgirl who says you look great in it? Your friend who mentioned it? The magazine that said you should? Anna Wintour? Unless the answer is "me", I'd advise them to just say "no". Trends are our obnoxious, money-making, way of controlling you. What's most flattering is an attitude of wearing what you truly love- what truly appeals to you, regardless of outside influence. Confidence, individualism, and knowing yourself and your body is the essence of creating a "signature" look that expresses who you really are. And that, my friend, is the one enduring trend that never goes out of style.