There’s always a hunger for the next thing, a need to start a new movement. That’s true of media and “brand” created fashion trends, where trends are dictated for commercial reasons. Dressing normal is the Fall 2014 Gap campaign and many of you have heard of the “normcore” trend. Personally I think this “normal” trend talks down to the fashion consumer and really avoids the lack of true innovation in fashion.
The Gap Dress Normal campaign “boldly instructs individuals to shape their own authentic, personal style – and intentionally challenges every one of us to dress for ourselves” as stated in their 08/28/2014 Press Release. I think most people think they already do this, or at least look like they do. The Gap and many high profile brands leverage or “spin” their brand strategy by making a connection through all media channels. The Gap has beautifully executed a TV campaign created by Academy Award-nominated director David Fincher (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Social Network, Fight Club and the much anticipated Gone Girl). This is called branding. There’s nothing wrong with branding until it starts to mask the product and the message is about the image of the brand versus the actual product and product innovation.
What about the product? Will I want to buy the product because the product fits my needs and wants as a consumer or will I be moved by the media, “brand spin” to buy the product?
Decades ago, trends were authentic, of meaning and purpose, and influenced by the cultural, political, and social times. Fashion had a longer life, it was savored as in a good meal. Today these so-called trends are just old pieces, repackaged and reinterpreted in order to have more commercial appeal. This “what’s new” trend is repeated season after season, just a new spin. Many savvy consumers now follow their own fashion rules.
Robert Burke, a consultant for luxury brands and previous fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman, amplifies this point by Luciana Zegheanu, Fashion Trends’ Impact on Society – notjustalabel.com, “as little as a decade ago, we would gather at the Ritz in Paris to come up with trend stories, which would then be translated into shop windows and advertising. Forty or fifty of us held the keys to that secret information”. Now, anyone with a curiosity for fashion and access to the internet and television can draw his/her own conclusions. “The trend story is passé,” Mr. Burke told The New York Times.
In this very chaotic fashion industry, there is an obvious need to slow down “what’s trending got to have it” mode to where the focus should be on innovation, quality and individuality. This should be product innovation driven, not brand or media driven. Can we start with the product first? And where better to find this creative push for innovation than in the fresh and bold visions of young emerging designers? GO E D G E!