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Is the only trend the fact there are no trends?

Ian Wright

Tommy Hilfiger once said “Never to follow a trend because trends move on”.

Tommy Hilfiger once said “Never to follow a trend because trends move on”.

Trends are our industry’s currency. Brands plan their ranges around them, buyers stock their shops around them and customers read up on them but, with so many mainline collections, short-order ranges, pre-collections, core offers, resort collections and diffusion lines from thousands of brands at hundreds of trade shows and fashion weeks to take stock of, are we at a point where the only trend is that there are no trends?

Well, not exactly. Countless trends crop up every season, particularly in the womenswear market, from continuations of well-trodden paths to left-field additions to the broad fashion landscape. But it does seem the trend mix has become a little muddled recently as the clamour to declare what’s hot first leads to knee-jerk assertions.

You can cut the fashion cake in an almost infinite amount of ways when faced with such volume of product: at some point across a few disparate collections you’ll be able to find a handful of examples to support any trend. This is the quick and dirty way to do it but all this achieves is a thinly veiled illusion of a trend, not a genuinely useful digest of the actual movements in the industry, and it dilutes the season’s biggest stories, making it harder for everyone to make sense of what’s going on.

However, vitally, those big stories do still exist. Whether it is the rather unexciting but very real and profitable menswear trend for chinos or something more unusual, such as spring 12’s fantastical ‘under the sea’ theme in womenswear, these more influential overall trends have an effect on not only what is bought for stores but also how a shopper consumes them. Trends, and reports thereof, are still essential to planning but brands are best served not chasing them, sticking instead to doing their own thing well. Now there’s a concept that should be trending.

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