2019 Fashion Predictions

As we close in on the end of 2018, most of us reflect on what was good about the year, successes, failures, disappointments, what is left to work on and projections of what we want the coming new year to be. Fashion is one of the few industries where what was popular or worked well in a previous season, could absolutely have no place in upcoming seasons.

The quixotic nature of fashion facilitates freshness and innovation, but also gives rise to instability and lots of failure. If we could only accurately predict what is next in fashion, perhaps, we could afford the many fashion faux pas and pitfalls and rest assuredly in what we expect to happen. Of course, predictions, especially fashion predictions, are rarely on point, so we leave accuracy to the Gods and soothsayers. Still, its fun to project into the future, so Fashion Reverie, always taking a risk, makes a few fashion predictions for 2019.

Bye, bye fur

As one fashion brand after the next adopts sustainability, fur, as a luxury accessory and embellishment, will become anathema to luxury collections. Many of the top fashion houses, from Michael Kors to Versace to Martin Margiela in the past year have decided to axe animal fur as a reflection of luxury in their fashion collections. Since September, Burberry, Coach, and Diane von Furstenberg have followed suit with Jean Paul Gaultier stating in a recent television interview that he felt that the way animals were slaughtered for their furry pelts “absolutely deplorable.” We all know that when the fashion top dogs abandon something, everyone else follows. Well, most everyone does!!

Editorial nirvana

Now this next prediction is near and dear to Fashion Reverie’s heart. As print fashion magazines took a nosedive in 2018, so has the role of fashion editors. For those “tender ronies” who are not in the know and lack instruction in fashion history, fashion editors are the lifeblood of fashion publications. From the iconic Diana Vreeland to Grace Mirabella, Audrey Smaltz, Andre Leon Talley, and Hamish Bowles to Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington, Tonne Goodman, and Edward Enniful, fashion editors have contributed to setting standards for beauty and style for decades.

Fashion editors have recently been replaced by social media influencers, and with the demise of print publishing, it would seem that editors are disappearing the way the mastodon or the great bison vanished from the Great Plains. In 2019 that will all change!!

Social media decline

As the social media bubble grow closer to bursting and we head toward a financial crisis in 2019, consumers will return to things that have worked prior to the ascent of social media. As evidenced in a recent study in Europe, European consumers no longer trust most of what they read on social media. In a Guardian article from this past summer, Facebook’s 3 million under 25-year-olds will quit Facebook or stop using in entirely. A recent post of medium.com details that companies spend 15% of their total marketing budgets on social media but have yet to see a rate of return on their dollars.

While Zuckerberg is struggling to bring legitimacy to his embattled social media company, more consumers are abandoning Facebook, looking to alternative media for information and entertainment. While this might be bad news for social media influencers, Fashion Reverie believes this will be a return to seasoned fashion voices that have a deep understanding of the fashion industry. It will not be a return to the fashion editors of yore, but to the new breed of fashion editors that are deftly in touch with what is going on in the streets; aware of what drives consumers to shop in a shrinking economy and understands that younger consumers want to connect with brands that have a sustainable, eco-friendly narrative.

Influencers get a dose of reality

As social media goes through an adjustment period in 2019, social media influencers will have to deal with a little adjustment of their own. As reported in April 2018 post hypebeast.com, Launchmetrics has noted that 46% of brands are turning away from social media influencers with huge followers in favor of “micro-influencers.” These ”micro-influencers” have a following of 10k to 100k. And as millennials and advertisers become more of aware of the plethora of Instagram scams, smart brands are moving away from influencer and looking re-engage advertising models that worked for them in the past.

Germany-based influencer marketing platform InfluencerDB estimates that one in four sponsored posts are being done by influencers with questionable audience growth. And according to zdnet.com, “Almost two-thirds (61 percent) of consumers said they would be more likely to research a product or service that was recommended on social by a friend compared to one in three (36 percent) for influencers or celebrities.”

The return of brick and mortar

If you drive up and down Madison Avenue in New York City, you see a lot of empty retail space. And everyone is aware of mega retail stores —JC Penny’s, Sears, Lord & Taylor—that shuttering local shops over the US. Even fashion design star Marc Jacobs is closing stores in Paris and London. Hmm, things don’t look good for brick and mortars!!

Still, don’t believe everything you read in mainstream media. True, mainstream mega stores are closing brick and mortars, mostly due to over-expansion; however, there appears to be a resurgence of small brick and mortars, mostly from brands that have that discovered that an online presence without a brick and mortar backup hinders their growth. “95 percent of all retail sales are captured by retailers with a brick-and-mortar presence” and “two-thirds of consumers who purchase online use the store before or after the transaction”.  Their report also states that “the value of stores for customers and retailers is far greater than the sales captured in them” and that they “actually help the retailer drive online sales,” according to a report by A. T. Kearny. Indochino, Far Fetch, which is opening a chain of brick-and-mortar stores nationwide, and Bonobos, which opened its first brick and store in Manhattan in 2011 after being a top men’s online retailer, have all found that with returns of online sales being between 40% to 50%, a brick and mortar presence is necessary in an ever-evolving retail climate.

Swirling, 90s–style graphics

When it comes to style predictions for 2019, one of the biggest re-invented styles will be the swirling bold graphics that was a front and center design aesthetic of 90s fashion. We already witnessed swirling icon-inspired graphics during the spring 2019 collections. Well, expect more of this in the upcoming seasons. This look will be paired with acid-washed denim, oversized jackets and skirts and lots of layering; a rebirth of comfortable grunge-like fashion, but much prettier the second time around.

Designer buyback

Fashion Reverie predicts that in 2019 more designers will buy back their eponymous brands, owning a larger share in their companies. In 2018 we saw Proenza Schouler acquire a controlling interest in their brand and Stella McCartney in March bought back 50% share in her company from holding company Kering. “It is the right moment to acquire the full control of the company bearing my name,” McCartney said in a statement. “This opportunity represents a crucial patrimonial decision for me. I am extremely grateful to François-Henri Pinault and his family and everyone at the Kering group for everything we have built together in the last 17 years. I look forward to the next chapter of my life and what this brand and our team can achieve in the future.”

For the past two decades in order to cope with rising manufacturing costs and the ever-growing expense of maintaining a fashion brand, designers looked to larger fashion holding companies to inject money into their brands. With this infusion of cash, many designers lost controlling interest in their fashion brands, with international holding companies like LVMH, Kering, G-III Apparel Group, and Gucci Group calling the shots and taking creative control away from designers. Expect to see more fashion designer buybacks in 2019!!

A revived New York Fashion Week

As we reported on Fashion Reverie, NYFW is in the doldrums. That said; we expect a subtle turnaround for NYFW in 2019. With the downward spiral of social media influencers, brands getting little return on the social media dollars, and the return of brick and mortar stores, the powers that be that control NYFW will begin in 2019 to re-evaluate the priority they have given to social media influencers over real fashion industry professionals.

2019 will see the return of fashion editors to NYFW. Their hard work, diligence, and expertise should be valued, and the CFDA will wake up and realize in 2019 that they had a good thing, and its time overdue to celebrate and support folks who know what they are talking about!!

—William S. Gooch

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