The fashion industry is big. It is big because consumers have been persuaded that what they recently bought must be replaced because it is no longer fashionable. On a large scale this business model becomes a big industry.
Trends are the big reason people feel they need new things. Trends can seem arbitrary, obviously cyclical and contradictory to personal expression but as long as they are followed on a large scale they are important.
But trends are not all bad. Some trends you will like and some dislike and some trends are born of authentic creativity. This is a proposal on how to thrive in a world of fleeting trends.
Firstly, a distinction can be made between creative trendsetters and industrial followers. Some fashion companies have design teams with time, resources and artisans to develop new designs. Some fashion companies have quick and cheap production and have taken the old saying “great artists steal” to heart.
It seems quite clear that the latter group of companies, will not be those who drive the change towards a better fashion industry.
Designers are people well trained in the process of designing clothes, which is a skill set that takes years of study and experience to acquire. Additionally they are people who have developed an extraordinary capacity for creativity. Part of their job is to be inspired. They look to new ways of using vintage or ancient designs, they look to the art world and they look to other cultures for their inspiration.
This is where the best trends are born, out of creativity. The strategy for thriving with fashion trends starts to emerge: Take in inspiration from creatives and then pick the aspects you like.
Finding inspiration should be an enjoyable experience. You should “breathe in” the beauty and creativity around you.
Start by looking at trends from people you like and brands you admire. Be inspired by the aesthetic and what it says about them as people or the philosophy of a brand. The more you think about why you like or dislike a trend, the more interesting your findings will be.
Image credits @samanamel
Take a look at a brand like Atelier Saman Amel, a small Swedish tailoring brand. This is a brand that has their own style and who obviously thinks about what they are communicating. They have a philosophy and an aesthetic that makes them unique. If their light colour palette of warm naturals and muted greys mixed with minimal traditional tailoring appeals to you, then you have found your first new source on inspiration.
On Atelier Saman Amel’s instagram, the most popular platform for design and creativity, they do not only share photos of their products but also visuals about the art that inspires them and the interior design that materialises their brand universe.
This brand is not unique, fortunately. There are lots of lovely brands that have their own voice and can provide you with inspiration. If you begin to follow such brands, Instagram can become like a personal museum where you can always go for inspiration.
Now you are exposed to interesting creative trends and original aesthetics you have to select the trends that fit your style and evolves in the direction you want. Don’t follow a trend because others do. Appropriate a trend because you like it.
Photo by Timothy Archibald/The Forbes Collection
This is reminiscent of Warren Buffett’s investment strategy. When young Buffett was starting his career he would go through huge books with lists of companies and their accounts. He would look through pages and pages of companies before he found one he liked. When he finally found a company that was priced low compared to its real value, he would invest. His motto was “You don’t have to swing at everything”.
Now at the end of his career, he was born in 1930, he states that if he can make a good decision or two every year he is happy. He ignores the opportunities that don’t feel right and buys into what he likes and understands. Using this philosophy he has accumulated a fortune of 100 billion dollars (What a strange feeling to round down by $2.5B from $102.5B) and stayed a content man.
Let's not deny ourselves the pleasure of adding new elements to our wardrobe. If we are inspired by creative people we admire, buy quality garments and only follow trends that compliment our personal style, not only will your wardrobe become well curated but the fashion industry will become healthier.