styles vs. seasons

theory — Danielle on July 29, 2006 at 10:25 am

Every once in a while a theory seizes me. A while ago one started to swirl around in my brain when I posted a question about enduring styles.

The suggestions from my readers had some things in common. It seems that persistent styles are often…

  1. based on menswear
  2. developed from sport-specific clothing
  3. adapted from military uniforms
  4. are not necessarily attractive
  5. are always comfortable
  6. are always functional

The other thing I realized is that even “basic” styles are not “trendless”. In fact, looking at these styles made me realize that “trends” don’t necessarily live and die in a single season. A trend can also last for decades. While some trends die quickly and are only worth a quick buck to the fast fashion types, long-term trends have the ability to build successful businesses on a single style number.

That’s really interesting to me. It seems like so many companies struggle to produce collections on a seasonal basis, spending huge amounts on design and development for a vast array of styles only to do it all over again in another six months. Yet when I analyze successful companies, they tend to carry over a couple successful styles season after season, and rather than introducing new styles seasonally, they develop new styles as their success affords.

Why not intentionally build a company based on the idea of creating a single style? Not just any style – a hit style. A style that embodies the essence of a long-term trend. This isn’t a new idea, I know. But this was never discussed in my fashion design education.

I’ve ranted before about how the seasonal model doesn’t serve new labels well. The great thing about the single-style-number model is that it is non-seasonal and financially attainable.

This idea dovetails nicely with my idea for branding Canadian Fashion. Stay tuned.

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    1. isnt that really what dianne von furstenburg did with her wrap dress? and i feel as if kara janx is trying to do that too with her own wrap dresses… or am i reading you wrong?

      Comment by Joi (stereoette) — July 29 2006 @ 2:00 pm
    2. That’s right Joi. The wrap dress embodies the “hit style” concept, totally.

      Comment by Danielle — July 29 2006 @ 2:48 pm
    3. This is completely true. I wonder if anyone else notices how huge the “gothic elegance” and military-style looks were last fall, and it’s happening all over again.

      Comment by Isabel — July 30 2006 @ 9:12 am
    4. nice post Danielle. I too think about this.

      Comment by jill danyelle — August 3 2006 @ 11:01 pm

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