July 29, 2006
styles vs. seasons
Every once in a while a theory seizes me. A while ago one started to swirl around in my brain when I posted a question about enduring styles.
The suggestions from my readers had some things in common. It seems that persistent styles are often…
- based on menswear
- developed from sport-specific clothing
- adapted from military uniforms
- are not necessarily attractive
- are always comfortable
- are always functional
The other thing I realized is that even “basic” styles are not “trendless”. In fact, looking at these styles made me realize that “trends” don’t necessarily live and die in a single season. A trend can also last for decades. While some trends die quickly and are only worth a quick buck to the fast fashion types, long-term trends have the ability to build successful businesses on a single style number.
That’s really interesting to me. It seems like so many companies struggle to produce collections on a seasonal basis, spending huge amounts on design and development for a vast array of styles only to do it all over again in another six months. Yet when I analyze successful companies, they tend to carry over a couple successful styles season after season, and rather than introducing new styles seasonally, they develop new styles as their success affords.
Why not intentionally build a company based on the idea of creating a single style? Not just any style – a hit style. A style that embodies the essence of a long-term trend. This isn’t a new idea, I know. But this was never discussed in my fashion design education.
I’ve ranted before about how the seasonal model doesn’t serve new labels well. The great thing about the single-style-number model is that it is non-seasonal and financially attainable.
This idea dovetails nicely with my idea for branding Canadian Fashion. Stay tuned.