Ambitious professionals from all generations and styles were united for two inspirational days at the winter edition of Mo- defabriek. Which megatrends and new tools are shaping the future rules of play? What can we learn from the success of others? And what do the pioneers have to say? The MF TALKS and EXPERT Workshops were packed. These are the essential Takeaway Trends for the kick-off of the new decade:
1. KEEP IT SIMPLE, STRONG & POSITIVE
If they could give fashion retailers one piece of advice? Louise Byg Kongsholm, Director of Pej Grup- pen – Scandinavia’s largest trend institute – doesn’t hesitate for a second: KEEP IT SIMPLE! Instead of cramming your shop full of items, offer a personal edit with no more than three variations per product. And show how to combine your selection in different outfits. The core message of her Talk on the 8 megatrends dominating retail is that we need to save ourselves from the ‘too much and too fast’ of modern life. Today’s consumers are highly impatient and demanding, but they have also lost their way. Decision fatigue. Money-rich, time-poor. Stuffocation. Sleep deprivation. Infobesity. The keywords alone speak volumes. We crave focus. Clarity. And concepts and products that impro- ve our lives. Customers want lucid, intelligent, optimistic solutions, not more choice overload and infoxification. And don’t forget: Feeling good is the new looking good.
And the same applies for start-ups: it’s better to deliver a single, brilliant, topical product or strong compact line than coming up with an entire – all singing, all dancing – collection. And this applies to everyone: understand your strengths, what you are good at, why the consumer chooses your brand, and keep working to improve. This was exemplified by the Talk with POM Amsterdam and their major fan and ambassador par excellence, Katja Schuurman. Despite their success, they stay true
to themselves – both creatively, and with regard to their sustainable ambitions. A stand-out brand with a good, positive story and solid foundations. The Success Stories Talk with Fabienne Chapot and Only For Men also zeroed in on focus, on the individuality that led to success, on catering to the needs of your target audience, and on the ideal interplay between physical shops and webstores. You needn’t rush to conquer the world. On the contrary.
The terms in the Trend Talks at times pulled no punches: tsunamis of things and information, apo- calyptic plights around the world, mental health issues on all sides, and that’s before we even get to the devastating consequences of the fashion industry (see next trend topic).
Consumers yearn for good news, honest solutions, the positive vibe of creativity and innovation. Colour, lightness, transparency, playfulness, being genuinely moved, feeling something (not the cold screen of your smartphone), daydreaming, being amazed, getting goosebumps. This can be achieved through the simplest or most innovative means, so long as it’s truly unexpected and fits with your brand.
Which magical ingredient in your business deserves special focus? How can you help overwhelmed consumers to make the best choices? How do you create a positive experience?
2. SERIOUS & HONEST ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY
On the subject of sustainability, the tone of the Trend Talks was unanimous: NOW MEANS NOW! After all, we have known for ages what our beloved fashion industry is doing to our world. And still, we only started talking openly about the issue a couple of seasons ago. Consumers are now also frequently being made to face the facts. We can no longer skirt around the matter, and we don’t want to, so we are taking small – and sometimes larger – steps towards becoming more sustainable. Looking around Modefabriek made it immediately clear: what was still niche a few seasons ago is rapidly becoming the norm. Sustainable brands, initiatives and communications were everywhere. Start-ups ideally begin life as a B Corp (but that’s no mean feat).
Futuristic innovations are cautiously encouraging. Circularity, without overproduction, fair, safe, clean and without wasting valuable drinking water is possible. The knowledge is out there, but widespread implementation and scaling up these innovations costs time, and HEAPS OF CASH. And that’s where the problem lies. In the ‘Future of Denim’ Panel Talk, Maarten Wentholt from De- nim City and Jeanschool voiced what we all know: it’s at least as important that consumers join the change. The experts in the Sustainable Panel Talk ‘The Year Of No Return’, Annouk Post from Fashion for Good, Janneke Honings from J-Lab3l and Stefanie Vereecken from Harvest Club in Leuven, also point to consumers, as did all of the Trend Talks.
Admit it, we’re all consumers, and we all love shopping and paying as little as possible. But we’re all going to need to make better choices, and pay an honest price. ‘Please stop joining in Black Friday’, argued Retail trendwatcher Ronny de Vylder, ‘that’s cutting your own throat!’ We know. We also know about the Intention-Action Gap. We are not yet doing (enough of ) what, deep down, we know we should be doing. Time for reflection. Time for real change. Time for transparency about source and price, and for honest information about our sustainable successes, but also about where there’s still work to be done. Greenwashing is asking for trouble. Honesty wins hearts.
What are your ambitions when it comes to sustainability? What choices are you making to get there? How do you involve your customers in the collective revolution that’s desperately needed?
3. HOPEPUNK, RADICAL RETHINKING & DIGITAL RL
Trendmaster David Shah opened his hyper-energetic Talk with the statement that he, after 40 years at the top, no longer understands anything: it’s chaos! He closed his presentation of 10 razor-sharp key strategies (he knows the ins and outs of the international fashion industry like no other) with a generous gesture to the next generation (think: Billie & Finneas Eilish). The generation that says: You fucked up, now we’re going to shape the future! And this generation has no time for cynicism, they are all about well-informed optimism, activism, creativity and the collective good. It’s full-on ‘dres- sing up fun’, in real life (RL) and online (even their avatars wear designer fashion!), and they make their own rules, free from gender norms, body shaming and tasteless cultural appropriation. The message: DON’T COPY MY STYLE (but shop everything I drop). So, hopepunk: everything you can expect from ‘the youth’, 2020 style.
Ronny de Vylder also made the case for radical change: Rethink retail! Good change is good! Fixed furnishings be gone, welcome digital fashion Valhalla (samples will soon all be virtual and shopping will be one huge augmented reality). Vintage is booming and the young Dutch LVMH Prize-nomi- nated fashion talent Duran Lantink frequently shone with his flamboyant remixes of dead stock in collaboration with major names such as Prada, Browns London, de Bijenkorf, Batavia Stad and Billie Eilish. The message: be a disrupter, Think Different, use your creativity and reuse!
With each new generation, online life appears to become more closely intertwined with ‘real life’. The brutal reality is that we can hardly manage without Wi-Fi. We’re totally lost if there’s no service, even though we more often seek a time out. Silence. Nothing. Noise-cancelling headphones. Nowa- days, concentrating is an art form in itself. Retailers need to primarily focus on their online relevance in order to maintain ties with the modern consumer. So it was hardly surprising that the Talks by Instagram expert Kirsten Jassies were also packed out. In short: the more personal and genuine the content, the better, but a professional approach is now also expected: a dedicated Insta Style Guide, editorial pillars, stories, HGTV, live streaming, own GIFs and filters, and everything timed to perfecti- on with a decent tool. Instagram is your new storefront! Check out more of what Kirsten had to say at Slideshare.net/KirstenJassies.
What can you learn from a 16-year-old creative wonder? What could you reuse or do completely differently? And is your Instagram getting the attention it deserves?