The term “opposites attract” is never more apt than when discussing fashion—from mixing couture with fast fashion to athletic-inspired evening wear, the industry is constantly shifting perspectives to create modern viewpoints that reflect contemporary culture. Of course, this reflection on society is played out in the press, and increasingly, with women and social media. In 2015, we saw brands stepping up their presence on Instagram and livestreaming fashion shows on Snapchat, and Periscope. Interestingly, the trends that we’re seeing for 2016 seem to validate our opposites attract theory—from 70’s inspired skinny, high-waisted denim flares to futuristic tech-infused neoprene, to social shopping and engaging retail experiences, we take a look at the trends we expect to disrupt in 2016.
From flared jeans to patchwork dresses, 70’s inspired denim is having resurgence. As we transition from winter to spring, trend forecasters predict that we will continue to see slimmer cut, cropped flares and luxury touches including hand-woven denim and embroidery. Alternately, neoprene and other high-tech fabrics and wearable tech will continue to offer consumers both functionality and style in athletic and ready to wear apparel.
After the spring shows, critics called designers on the (red) carpet for a lack of diversity in models at their runway shows—one industry journal reported that 79.4 per cent of the 3,875 models that walked the runway were white. As our culture becomes increasingly more diverse, we can expect to see more multi-cultural models both on the runway and in brand creative.
Gender will continue to be part of the conversation as well. As we discussed in a recent blog, designers have frequently experimented with the idea of gender when creating garments. Now, that the discussion about gender and acceptance of alternative lifestyles have become mainstream, we will continue to see the influence of gender fluidity in apparel and its marketing.
Fast Fashion/Sustainable Style
Fast fashion has been siphoning customers away from established brands. In 2016 we’ll see established brands moving to a fast fashion model. GAP intends to take a lesson from its little sister, Old Navy, testing a new product operating model that increases speed, predictability, and responsiveness in their product development to improve performance.
Over the past few years, consumers have been growing more aware of sustainability in manufacturing and transparency in the production of clothing. Although some apparel brands have taken steps to assure consumers that their products are both ethically and environmentally produced, consumers still want more. According to researchers, 48% of Millennials choose to buy from brands that are active in supporting social causes—we can look to brands such as Toms, Warby Parker, and Shinola as companies successfully pairing retail with responsibility.
Social Shopping/Retail Experiences
Thanks to “webrooming,” retailers realized that they must offer a seamless experience between digital and retail. To facilitate discovery, engagement, and loyalty, brands realized the potential of social media and its growing role in the consumer’s path to purchase. The introduction of shoppable content on Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat and expanded targeting on Facebook are great ways of advertising to women and will accelerate the adoption of mobile shopping (and mobile payments) in 2016.
At retail, value conscious customers want both value and experience. Simply “selling things” won’t work for today’s consumer, who expects both personalization and theatrics as a part of her shopping experience. Connecting women and social media opens the door to new forms of engagement, aids in the path to purchase, and enables retailers to gather valuable data on consumers’ shopping habits through online, in-app, and in-store connections In 2016, retailers will use data to personalize the shopping experience, engage her on social media, and give her a reason to spend time in-store through exciting experiences and exceptional service.
Finally, 3D and virtual reality are making their way into retail. Both Tommy Hilfiger and North Face are offering branded experiences in some of their retail outlets. Although in its infancy, the concept is innovative and likely to drive consumers into stores and get them talking about these brands.
This past year has brought a lot of change and in 2016 we will see those trends evolve. Focusing on the consumer, delivering value, and making data-backed decisions are the same methods that marketers have relied upon for years. Creativity and innovation in reaching your consumer and engaging them in your content will be key in learning how to market for women in 2016. Women’s Marketing understands how women engage with brands on their path-to-purchase. Learn how your brand can better reach consumers both online and at retail by contacting us today.