"Be a trendsetter instead of a trend follower".
I've been saying this for an extremely long time, more as a call to cultivating your own personal look rather than an anarchistic statement. Now, echoes of a similar statement are rippling forward like a wave from the very influencers of "trends": fashion directors and editors. It made me wonder, "Isn't this shooting your own foot and looking your gift horse in the mouth and taking candy from a baby all at the same time?". All funny aside, as a personal stylist, its my job to create and cultivate a personal image for a client that shows who they are based on how they see themselves and in what way they want to express this individuality in their professional (and personal) world. Hearing publicly that other fashion professionals are saying the same thing (this is not an insider secret, rather a secret understanding not spoken in all my fifteen plus years in the industry), it really is a welcome to me (and maybe to you) that the top brass are letting the truth (or reality) come out.
What does this mean for the now ubiquitous trends-based fashion editorials that come out without fail (and with much fanfare) each season? I don't think that editors and directors and fashion designers themselves are negating these trend editorials in the slightest, or that they are saying anything conversely regarding trends in their collective thinking, nor do I think that these editorials are going to disappear anytime soon. I think they are just paying more direct attention to the solid fact that the consumer has the freedom of choosing any option that fits to their vestiary needs; in effect, we buy whatever we want regardless of trends. I strongly believe that there will forever be an intrinsic and highly elevated importance for editorials because that is the very place where we, the consumer, get to see the trends "in action" (and as an art form). The featured trends get planted into our sartorial subconscious and we take these images with us when we go to market (or sit at our computers and go to our favorite online boutiques) but here's the thing that happens: we see the visual merchandising or brand marketing and get another viewpoint of said trends. In that instant, our idea of said trends gets altered. This happens numerous times until, I feel, the latest trends become a uniform staple.
The marketplace needs trends, bottom line. It is the driver of the (fashion) retail business (through the mechanism of marketing campaigns, editorial coverage, and the like). It is what gets you into the store, and what gets your currency into the tills. Yet when you are making choices about your personal presentation, you really can't follow and adhere to trends entirely because (how my thinking goes) doing so becomes a crutch, becomes blandly utilitarian. A sprinkle here and there of one or two trends is all it takes; by utilizing the inspiration that any particular trend resonates with you and mixing that with your own uniqueness, that trend will bring your personal style to different expressions. We need to view trends in creative terms like texture or shading and contour on your sartorial canvas, allowing you to paint interesting style strokes into your wardrobe.
What about the notion of saturation--how many trends are too many trends, and, how many times can we stand to witness a trend returning (again and again) into our style consciousness? Once, thrice, ten times before we say "enough!"? For me, in this case, trends lose much appeal and they lose it fast. Here is where I ignore the notion of saturation and allow myself to be motivated in my purchasing choices each season by making additions to my overall fashion collection that will stand the test of time and keep my individual aesthetic fresh, vibrant, and holistically rooted in my personal image. And at today's quick rate of "trend overturn", over exposure to trend reports and editorials perhaps are where the notion of "trends are growing passe" is coming from. This may be, in fact, the case but more along the line that trends are no longer dictating personal style inasmuch as they are dictating the marketplace to get you in the door and let you adapt a trend to your liking. I am a firm believer in the idea of if a trend appears at least two more times as the "current trend" it is no longer a trend, it is a new mode of dressing. When you've adopted and adapted a new mode of dressing to your personal style encyclopedia, you evolve your style consciousness in a whole new way. Through adaptation, you've done away with trends, without ever having followed them in their entirety and have allowed them to be points of reference and of consumer options.
At their very core, trends are compendiums of choice. They're neat little packages to help guide you through the seas of fashion. In today's advancing information age we have innumerable fashion choices. Its not always easy to navigate through all the plethora of cuts and color and shape and fabric, yet somehow we do it, perhaps motivated by the positive notion of a trend, or perhaps by the notion of proving the trend contrarily. And where there is choice, there is the liberty of invention. How you choose to express your style is amazingly complex, deeply expressive, and infinitely individual. We can't ever forget this nor lose sight of it. We have our own personal trend reports flowing in our minds. We cultivate them by seeing the art in fashion editorials and runway shows, in store designs and merchandising layouts, in advertising campaigns, and on the red carpet on our favorite celebrities. We compile these choices all into our ideal style choices and create our looks from them, season after season. We formulate our own aesthetic and realize our fashion self. We cannot forget, when we are presented with all of these fashion options that we stay, tried and true, to that internal trend report and use it as a compass and follow your fashion heart, to the fashionable you.
"Freedom of Choice: In Fashion, Are Trends Passe?" by Ruth La Ferla, New York Times