The news reports are stating that the Spring 09 selling season has yielded dismal results for retailers, caused largely by the economic recessions and the lower than expected sales planned for Easter holiday.
This may be true, but it could also be that oftentimes when it comes to design inspiration and innovations, mass and moderate retailers tend to place less emphasis, i.e. less dollars, on ready-to-wear during the spring/summer season.
Traditionally the big selling months for spring have largely relied on holidays and events such as Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, proms and weddings. In turn, the assortment emphasis tends toward either special occasion, formal wear, or giftable accessory items.
Sale dollars are not heavily forecasted toward ready-to-wear apparel and hence, designers and merchandisers are not encouraged to spend too much time or company money planning and designing innovative spring lines, but rather to follow last year’s selling patterns, update the colors, add a new pattern here and there, but don’t spend too much time creating a line for spring.
So after a while, spring season pretty much starts to look like the previous spring seasons leaving little room or reasons for an already cash-strapped consumer to decide to shop the stores and spend their dollars.
Maybe Spring 09 is dead, maybe it’s too early to say, although honestly…I, like many of you, have decided to move on and look ahead towards Spring 10.
As you begin the 2010 spring season design process, then yes, of course, please look back to the previous seasons and look at what resonated for your customers in terms of colors, silhouettes, design details, fabrications, etc…I encourage this in my post, Pantone Spring 2009 Revisited|What Is Black?.
But also remember that a lot has happened in the past 18 months which has caused us to question the disposability of our incomes and your customer has changed. The wonderful thing about fashion…and humans is our potential for change and renewal.
I awoke this morning and breathed a sigh of relief that spring weather had held for a second day in New York and the discovery caused me to stop and consider what really inspires me about each spring season—and so, I mused on this thought for a while and realized that for me the spring season is RENEWAL.
I understand that renewal is not a new concept in fashion, but I wanted to try to approach the idea a little differently….
An onsen is a term for hot springs in the Japanese language.
Onsens are naturally-occuring small bodies of water heated from the Earth’s interior….a part of nature and the wonders that exist on our planet.
In Japan, onsens were traditionally used as public baths where men and women bathed together.
Onsen water is believed to have healing powers derived from its mineral content.
A particular onsen may feature several different baths, each with water with a different mineral composition.
The outdoor bath tubs are most often made from Japanese cypress, marble, or granite with emphasis placed on maintaining the integrity of the spring’s natural environment.
The onsen or hot spring, is not only inspirational in the color palette each spring uniquely yields due to their specific mineral composition, but also it begins a thematic process that reflects fabrics and design details that advocates turning away from the hectic activity we create in our everyday lives.
This inspiration has the potential to produce silhouettes that beckon one to slow down and enjoy the natural benefits and simple pleasures of life.
The onsen can also be considered as another way to envision luxury…to create clothing which celebrates the communion of body and spirit, breaks down barriers of gender and beauty, as well as invites transparency and openness.
So, this week’s musing is directed to you. As you begin the Spring 2010 design process, what inspires you?