As a woman who has just got engaged, planning to marry next summer and a trained fashion designer, dress pressure is high! But being a laid back kind of girl, as is my partner, we wanted to get married outside, in the great outdoors. We’re great lovers of Tolkien and wanted to replicate an event similar to that of the hobbit’s ”Party Tree” feel. Why am I telling you this in a trend situation? Well it dawned on me that actually, this is really important.
As we had very little time to plan, I was working google to its maximum. We found a great venue, a marquee we liked, and all of the other bits and pieces. I did notice that when I was looking for the outside venue, a huge amount of places popped up and it took hours to sort through them. There were a huge amount of blogs, adverts, general field sites and even National Trust venues. Our dream was not a unique one and was never intended to outdo anyone else. No, no, the venue and idea just simply needed to be us. I was surprised however at how many there were. Being new to the whole ‘bride’ thing, I’d never checked out the information and generally assumed most people would be more traditional. Nope completely wrong. Loads of people are choosing to go outdoors these days. A new outdoor wedding trend has emerged, and by the looks of things, will be here to stay.
So what has this to do with products and trends? Well you’ll understand when I talk about the dress and accessories. Firstly, yes I am a designer and secondly yes I can make my own dress, but I wanted to get some idea, so again off on google I went. Now considering that this huge outdoor trend seems to have exploded everywhere,or at least in the western world, it seems that bridal shops have not caught up. I don’t need to buy one as I know what I want, but as I was looking for some ideas and reading tons of blogs, where most brides were saying how they had the dress adapted, made by friends or had gone for something so unconventional that they didn’t need a traditional wedding dress. The problem is people, that if you are choosing to get married outside, you probably don’t want a train of 6 metres long or a really heavy hem that picks up every leaf and you certainly don’t want high healed shoes. Into the mud you’ll go! Field equals mud, grass, flowers, and trees. Generally stuff that you will get a little dirty rounds the edges. So why has no one adapted the function of the garments?
How is it, that people in the fashion industry are not keeping up with these things? Every website that caters for decorations or trimmings seem to have not only noticed the trend but are actively encouraging it through new and exciting products but the fashion industry seems to not have catered for this upsurge. Just because I get married outside, doesn’t mean I want some 1960’s psychedelic print or that I want to dress up like a fairy. I still want a beautiful dress, but the FUNCTION has to be more considered.
In the same way, the accessories market also haven’t developed either. I’m quite short and I want to wear heals, but in a field there is mud, so wedges make sense. Still flat soled so I don’t sink, but height that I need is still there. A simple choice but one that has been neglected by wedding shoe designers. The choice is not there for weddings that are outside.
How are we not looking at the changing landscape in our own areas of fashion and changing with the trends? Trends for any type of fashion product has to look great yes, but the FUNCTION has to be there too, otherwise, what is the point?
If you have a line, take a step back for a minute and explore the wider trends that are going on around you. How are people using your product? Where? Is there better functionality I can design? How can I improve my product to fit the needs of my consumer?
The trends around us change constantly as does the way people use products. Don’t forget to take time and consider the changes that are happening around your products because otherwise your competitors may leave you behind. Keep up to date with your consumers and their needs by talking to them and hearing their thoughts. If this seems like too much hard work, then work through this simple system.
Consider and develop your customer profile first [You can find out more about them here]. This will give you insights into your customer, where to find them and very useful information about the way they shop.
Find the best places to communicate with your core customer.
Start talking to them and listening to their comments. If this is a social network, then that is even better because you can find information naturally just by listening to what they are saying.
Don’t worry about every single comment, but focus on the ones that come up over and over, or comments that are supported by many people.
Develop your products to suit their needs and how they use your products. Either develop a special item just for them, or see if you can develop an existing best seller.
Remember that your ideas create a brand, but without customers, there is no brand. Respect your ideas and protect your creativity, but always respect your customers and listen to what they want and need.
Thanks so much for reading and I hope you are finding helpful information to build your fashion brand. If you find this post useful, please use the sharing buttons below to spread the word!