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Why a Professional Fashion Trend Analyst is a Necessity for Every Retailer


Do you recall the Christian Dior Fall 2010 Couture runway show, held on July, 4th, 2010 in sun drenched Paris? I do. I wrote a trend report around it. A fabulous, riotous explosion of flowers; an overflowing bouquet of bold and brilliant colors, textures, layers, ruffles, gathers and delicate fringe.  Breathtaking gowns meticulously crafted, exploiting ostrich feathers and tiers of organza and tulle. Voluminous ball gowns with huge, extravagant A-line skirts and off-the-shoulder fitted bodices that seemed to float down the runway on a gentle summer breeze.








Three years later, we can ask…what did that single show mean for retailers in the U.S.? Is it important to interpret major designer looks for the big box retailer, the specialty retailer and the American market? How many of the fashion trends from that one Dior show were important and which could be overlooked?

In March of 2010, in Paris, Karl Lagerfeld outdid himself presenting The Chanel Fall 2010-2011  RTW spectacular runway show where models sauntered down the runway with a gigantic iceberg as their backdrop. The ground breaking fashions presented an extraordinary blending of fluffy faux fur, (Karl likes to use the expression, “costume fur”), updated classic Chanel tweeds, glitter and lace. Open toe knee high boots and clear Lucite purses were the perfect accessories. 

Flash forward three years: how important were those trends presented by just two of the top designers; heavy hitters of the fashion industry in 2010?  Of course the answer is, look at your selling floor.  All of those trends mentioned are in stores now.

How long did it take for those important trends to hit your floor? No one wants to have the hot new looks second, after the other retailers in town. You need to be first. Your customer must be confident that you will always have the very latest, the up-to-the-minute designer fashion trends before the competition. No one wants to jump on the bandwagon when it comes to fashion. Fresh, innovative and current is where we all want to be. But there is so much information, what’s a busy buyer to do?  With vendors to navigate, mark-downs, mark-ups, inventory to control, trunk shows and store events to coordinate, orders to write, how can a buyer find the time to study every fashion collection?

Enter the professional fashion trend analyst. The FTA is an experienced person who has a fashion computer for a brain. Each season, hundreds if not thousands of designers, worldwide, present their collections. The role of the FTA is to soak up and analyze all of this information, immerse oneself so to speak in all of the global fashion trend news, distill this data and translate it into useable, profitable information for the retailer.

What trends are important to focus on and bring in right away? Which trends are not so strong and possibly not right for your customers? The FTA trend reports allows the buyer to make quality buying decisions, based on important market information.

I remember rushing into the office of the men’s furnishings buyer of the corporate offices of BATUS, many years ago. (The corporate office that owned Saks Fifth Avenue, Marshall Fields, Frederick & Nelson and Gimbels.) Our offices were located on the upper floor of the Herald Square Gimbels, (may it rest in peace.) “Drop all the paisleys and stripes,” I said. “Everything is fish. Fish on ties, fish on wallets, belts and socks.” She looked at me like I had two heads. Six months later, she stopped by my office with a handful of fish accessories. “You were right,” she apologized, “next time I’ll listen to you.”

Instead of making huge buying decisions without the absolutely necessary fashion trend information, staffing services such as SaSR can assist you by finding the perfect, experienced fashion trend analyst for your organization.

As we speak, the Pre-Fall 2014 collections are being presented in New York. This merchandise will hit the stores in May. Considered by many retailers as a fashion prelude to Fall, which hits in September, we already see many new, exciting trends emerging.

What are the hot trends? I am at your service.


Fashion Trend Analyst contributor: Diane Weisbeck.

TAGS: retail, retail trends, retailers, staffing, fashionista, fashion, fashion trends, merchandising, fashion stylist,
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