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All through the twentieth century with the developing large scale manufacturing of garments, patterns kept up their moderately long and unsurprising life cycles. Every season, design judging houses discharged strong books containing their forecasts on which styles and fabrics would come “in” in future seasons. Designers and brands worked with these fashion forecast books and made real into their substance for buyers when the clothes hit stores a couple of years — truly, years — later. In this business of books, evaluating patterns so far ahead of time and distributed them in printed version kept the turnover of new styles to a relentless, occasional pace.

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Today the idea of a bunch people sitting in a room and deciding what the colours are going to be in two years’ time or what materials are going to be used in three years’ time is complete nonsense. While some of the traditional fashion forecasting houses still issue their seasonal tones, some other houses still believe today’s fashion cycle requires a different approach to understanding trends.

Today patterns are conceived and passed on inside a boundlessly speedier and more turbulent environment, in which brands, famous people, magazines, bloggers and online networks all bump for impact over what’s “in” and “out” of style. Social media has made trends evolve faster. It also makes some trends stick longer than they would have. Becoming more popularly accepted. Some trends that were forecasted to die a long time ago are kept alive by bloggers or another social media fashion enthusiasts.

House of Marie collection is presented on the runway of Africa Fashion Week London 2012 at Old Spitalfields Market, London on 3rd August 2012 Image:Catwalk Capture http://www.catwalk-capture.com/gallery/206-0-AFWL2012.html

The word trend has now become tricky to define. Nobody knows where it begins or ends. It has now become harder to sell the product of the season anymore. Companies have to work to make their brand identity resonate with the consumers better than that of their competitors. Trends will just give you a way to show the world that they are aware of the changes that are occurring in the world, that they understand it and not necessarily about their ability to predict what is ‘in’ or not.

On the high street, a portion of the greatest and best brands have fabricated their plans of action around the continually expanding pace and instability of patterns coupled to shopper interest for consistent novelty: it’s less about anticipating and more about responsiveness.

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Luxury brands, to a great extent still bound to the chronologically erroneous cycle of occasional runway shows, are constrained into an exercise in careful control with regards to patterns, discharging major new styles at the pace of the customary design timetable, while keeping their image looking new between seasons with extra lines, items and digital content. All with the aid of the fast evolving social media fashion trends.

Written by Nkem Ikeh

Images: okayafrica.com, pinterest.com, blavidainc.blogspot.com

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