WGSN’s Trend Forecast For AW14 And Discussion On The Evolution Of Ethical Fashion

Lorna Hall, Head of Retail at WGSN is presenting AW14’s trend forecast at Pure London

To kickstart London Fashion Week with style, PURE London showcased its own Fashion Shows and gave us a taste of which trends will be hot in Autumn/Winter 2014. Lorna Hall, head of retail at WGSN, highlighted three macro trends named Hack-Tivate, Living Design and 21st Century Romance.

HACK-TIVATE is a feminine and modern trend which focuses on personal customization but with an emphasis on 3D technology. All time favorites are re-adapted using a mixture of textures and colors, creating an ecclectic range of casual-chic outfits.

Key materials/textures : leather, Melton wools, nylon, technical mesh, metal, sequins and studs.

Key colours : kaki, bronze, copper, red, grey and blue.

Key details : military jackets, pencil skirts and tailored separate, varsity appliqués, asymetric zips, smart high top trainers, side stripes and slimline blocking.

Hack-Tivate mood board based on WGSN’s trend forecast AW14

LIVING DESIGNS mixes elements from the human and animal worlds which are then set within a more technological context. This trend is about creating hybrids combining organic and technological details while conveying a feeling of comfort and protection.

Key materials/textures : quilts and padding, bouclé, lofty and chunky roving yarns, faux-fur and metallic leather, sheer printed fabrics.

Key colours : iridescent green, red, bronze, copper and silver.

Key details : big volumes and layering, long sportswear-chic cardigans, beanie hats, tippets and tabards, strutural wedges and biomorphic jewels.

Living Designs mood board based on WGSN’s trend forecast AW14

21st CENTURY ROMANCE is the combination of two contradictory elements : traditional and historical designs with technological elements. This results in highly sophisticated and emotionally-charged pieces inscribed in a modern context.

Key materials/textures : lace, polished leather, tapestry fabrics, velvet, golden hammered metals and semi-precious stones.

Key colours : dark green, bronze, gold, red and white.

Key details : ovoid sleeves, accentuated waist, high-necked tops, hoods, high fronted mocassins and ankle boots for drama and mystery.

21st Century Romance mood board based on WGSN’s trend forecast AW14

Drapers’s Fashion Director Ian Wright giving directions on what to buy for the AW14 season at Pure London

Drapers’ Fashion Director Ian Wright, also gave directions on what to buy for the next winter season. The three essential styles which he has selected summarize well the macro trends presented by Lorna Hall:

– Sequins with a long-time-cherished-item feel;

– Folk -but not hippy- conveying an idea of heritage, crafty and rich tapestry fabrics;

– Oversized but tailored woolen items to play with proportions and texture in neutral colors.

From left to right: Jocelyn Whipple, Merryn Leslie, Safia Minney and Jane Molloy at the seminar The Feel Good Factor: Ethical and Sustainable Fashion at Pure London

From left to right: Jocelyn Whipple, Merryn Leslie, Safia Minney and Jane Molloy at the seminar The Feel Good Factor: Ethical and Sustainable Fashion at Pure London

As you can see, the technological theme has a strong presence in all of the trends though always linked to those of cultural heritage, nature and recycling. There is a definite shift from the UK consumer who seems to be more aware of the social and environmental issues related to the fashion industry. This has been made especially possible thanks to the media who have been communicating widely on the subject. Even though being fashionable remains the predominant factor in the purchasing decision, people are drawn to the success stories behind ethical fashion. During the seminar The Feel Good Factor: Sustainable and Ethical Fashion held by the Ethical Fashion Forum at Pure London, Merryn Leslie, owner of the ethical store 69b said that sustainable fashion encourages loyalty and by choosing an ethical product, consumers are defining and identifying themselves. According to Jane Molloy, owner of Get Clobbered, the new consumers are also more inquisitive and want to know where their money is going. By using fabrics destined for landfill and by turning them into valuable new creations, Jane is promoting a vision of pre-industrial era when women were masters of their own styles. Creating value and giving an emotional reason to buy is especially relevant in the current economical climate in which people are less likely to spend. As David Thomas, owner of Danaqa stated in his Economic Outlook For The Next 5 Years And Its Effect On Fashion Retail seminar, it is necessary for brands to communicate positive stories and images to encourage people to spend money.

Safia Minney talking about People Tree’s handwoven clothes

Ethical Fashion is still a tricky subject though. If it can be complicated for experts to run an ethical business, it is understandable that consumers sometimes feel confused. Safia Minney, Chief Executive Officer of pioneer fair trade label People Tree, pointed out the issue of availability. While consumers expect products to be available right away, Safia explained that sustaining a healthy ethical business requires some sort of flexibility. For instance, climate change can be a problem for delivering organically-grown products on time if, as the company experienced before, the rainy season arrives 7 weeks late. Also, considering a jersey dress and an embroidered one, the latter would create more social value in the making process but will also take longer to be made. This raises an important point : if consumers want to make informed choices, in some cases they might have to choose ethic over convenience. This does not necessarily mean waiting for three months to get a dress but just allowing more flexibility in their decisions. Jocelyn Whipple, Sustainable Fashion Specialist, also stated that most people were still confused about all the issues surrounding the ethical fashion industry. According to her, conventional fashion and sustainable fashion are often seen as two separate industries, although they aren’t. It is more about finding the hidden layer of fashion and finding one’s ethic. People are afraid to be different and prefer to stand on familiar grounds. Which is probably why more ethical brands are now communicating first about their products within a fashion context like the store 69b. What needs to be done is raising the profile of sustainable fashion by going back to buying less with more added value. What was true a few years ago might not be anymore. Contrary to what consumers think, ethical fashion is not synonymous with cheap and low quality pieces of clothing. Even the face of fast fashion is changing with new ways of making textiles thanks to technological progress. Ethical Fashion is a revolution and it has to be embraced now ; whether it is to stop the soil fertility diminishing or to refuse human exploitation, or both. Tamsin Lejeune, Managing Director and Founder of the Ethical Fashion Forum found 60 brands at Pure London trying to be more sustainable. Conscious consumers, visionary entrepreneurs, or thoughtful employees, let’s be actors of change.

Please visit The Green Eye Of Fashion’s Facebook Page for pictures of the AW14 ethical collections.

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