Economic crisis to shape future fashion trends
Cork, 8 October, 2009 – The changed economic environment will strongly influence fashion trends of the next 5-10 years, according to a fashion forecasting expert speaking in Dublin today. Emma Fric, Global Development Director at Peclers Paris, was guest speaker at an event hosted by Ford Ireland in Dublin’s Radisson Hotel, celebrating the award of a prestigious design accolade for its stylish new Ford Fiesta.
Earlier this year, in one of the world's largest design recognition programmes, the new Fiesta received a coveted ‘red dot’ design award from 28 leading designers representing 19 countries.
Fric provided insights into how fashion design is likely to evolve over the coming seasons, presenting the latest edition of ‘Futurs’, a tool which draws on Peclers’ heritage in fashion trend forecasting to predict future consumer behaviour.
Whereas conventional forecasting looks 12 -18 months ahead, Futurs takes a 5- to 10-year timespan. Peclers see the current economic crisis as having a very strong influence on trends over that period, with a new sense of ’conscious living’ combining with a new pragmatism to shape future consumer behaviour.
Fric detected 3 separate trends for the future, each comprising multiple sub-elements:
There will be a greater desire among consumers to reconnect with culture, in an effort to make sense of this changed world. This draw to the past also brings a trend towards more collective living. This will find creative expression in, for example, a style of ‘contemporary baroque’.
Also, as the world and its cultures melt together more and more, fashion will increasingly reflect the increased emphasis on travel, especially in the sport and luxury markets. We will see a trend in sophisticated nomad clothing emerging from this.
On foot of the crisis, the customer is bolder and more challenging, questioning political correctness, asking ‘Do I need this?’ and less burdened by conventional norms. He or she will not necessarily consume less, but differently. Looking good for less is a mantra of this self-styled ‘recessionista’, who cherishes genuine quality rather than status in what he buys and seeks out the real value of things. ‘Cheap chic’ is a creative expression of this trend.
This consumer is ‘emancipated’, no longer feeling the need for vindication from an elite group or an academic class. Locally produced, in-season produce will appeal to him. ‘Mechanotec’ design, where transparent coverings and casings reveal the insides of products e.g. mobile phones, is one creative expression of this trend. Recycling and sustainability are further influences here.
Spirituality and humanity become stronger influences in the new consumer. This is as yet a niche segment, but it will grow over the period. This consumer balks at ostentation, preferring to celebrate the simple, the everyday, that which preserves culture and the environment. Quality prevails over quantity, excellence over abundance. The consumer seeks to reconcile technological development with the ‘human side’ of life.
The resulting fashions will celebrate the preciousness of raw materials, emphasising crystal and liquid metallic effects, and drawing on simple, graceful natural elements such as sand and rock. Profound themes such as love and death are rooted in this trend.
“Designing drop-dead gorgeous cars” was the goal set for the design team at Ford, as explained by Ruth Pauli, Chief Designer, Colour and Materials, at Ford of Europe. She spoke of Ford’s ‘kinetic design’ philosophy of ‘energy in motion’ as answering the need for Ford cars to ‘look as good as they drive’. The Fiesta was the first expression of this design language in a small car. From the sweeping headlamps, grille and shoulder line of the exterior to dramatic interior forms in the door handles, sculpted surfaces and jewel-like dashboard shapes, a uniquely ‘expressive, energetic and dynamic’ vehicle was created.
Various series of Fiesta were created to address the needs of its various target groups for technology, sportiness, roominess and fashion, with an ‘Individual’ line allowing the young consumer to personalise the car to an even higher degree.
Pauli emphasised the importance of colours in cars, especially small cars, highlighting the car’s trend-setting ‘magenta’ signature colour.
“Our research has shown that whether they are in Milan, London, New York or Dublin, consumers put style at the top of their list when considering a car purchase,” commented Joanne Sheehan, Marketing Director for Passenger Car at Ford. “That is why more and more, you will see stylish fashion design cues in the make up of cars.”
The red dot design awards are presented annually by Germany's Essen-based Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen. The independent jury assesses each entry against a series of criteria which includes innovation, design, functionality and quality. For the 2009 award, 3,231 submissions were received from 49 countries. The Fiesta was hailed as "one of the most stylish cars in the world".