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Personal trainers

The trainer is shedding its classic look, with 1980s-inspired styling heralding bright colours, high-shine finishes and painterly graphics for spring 08

Recent trainer trends have mostly stuck to classic and retro themes, with round signature looks and clean colours, forcing retailers to look to canvas and vulcanised styles to inject colour and interest via prints. But with the rebirth of 1980s fashions, rock 'n' roll tattoo prints and intricate graphics, all that is changing.

Such trends, first seen at Converse and Vans, have paved the way for more adventurous styling. Strictly speaking, none of the three trends here are new, but they were the strongest directions seen among the broadest number of brands at Bread & Butter.

The use of graphics is becoming more sophisticated. Althoughgraffiti-inspired styles are still prevalent, there is also an illustrator look emerging, which features tattoo-style art and gothic-inspired imagery.

Neons are integral to the 1980s look and British shoppers may feel more comfortable wearing day-glo colours on their feet than on their body. The choice ranges from solid blocks of colour with contrast trims to more abstract modernist-inspired prints, with patents and punched leather mixes also making appearances at Bread & Butter.

According to the trend forecasters, metallic fabrics will finally take their leave in autumn 08. But they are unlikely to disappear altogether from footwear. Spring 08 saw most brands taking the trend to the max with embossed contrast fabrications and all-over looks.

Ghassan Hodeib, buying director at footwear chain Office, believes the best way to approach trends such as these is to know your retail outlook and stick to your DNA.

"The look is much less safe than it has been for quite some time, which makes the footwear scene more interesting," he explains. "We are already selling neons, graphics and metallics, but for spring 08 most brands have piled into these trends. As a retailer you have to work out the best way to represent a particular brand and think carefully about the job it does for your offer. The brands that did these trends first will be the brands that continue to be the most credible and successful with them."

Asos.com's men's footwear and accessories buyer Oliver Tezcan says: "Reebok, Nike and Onitsuka Tiger had the strongest neon stories, all of which had reissued shoes from their 1980s archives. But neon clothing is likely to be short-lived, which doesn't bode well for trainers."

METALLICS

Many brands are again backing the metallic trend for spring 08, mixing it up with graphics and embossed fabrics. Gold is a tough colour to sell to retailers, but subtle pink-bronze may be more compelling.

CONTACTS

Acupuncture 01290 427520

Bamboo 020 8773 7810

Cushe 01727 790600

Gola 01706 211111

Onitsuka Tiger 01925 241041

OXS 00 39 07 31 98 71

GRAPHICS

Gothic graphics were presented at Dr Martens, Boxfresh and JB Classics, while a more modernist approach was evident at Onitsuka Tiger, which used monochrome with a yellow sole.

CONTACTS

Boxfresh 020 7749 1900

British Knights 00 31 41 65 66 666

Dr Martens 0845 769 7178

El Naturalista 01455 209875

JB Classics 00 49 23 45 88 08 50

Onitsuka Tiger 01925 241041

NEONS

Fluorescents in green, yellow, orange and pink featured heavily across a spectrum of brands. It was often used as a highlight, although there were many all-over looks.

CONTACTS

Dunlop 01889 272020

K-Swiss 01458 449300

Lacoste 020 7439 2213

Onitsuka Tiger 01925 241041

Pointer 020 7033 4193.

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