Three ways to forecast the next fashion trend

Trend forecasting is a little like predicting the weather. Following the current patterns and comparing them to past can give you a good idea of what’s to come. When there’s little time to focus on it all, behold the fashion lover’s guide helping you find the best before the rest!

1. Check off what’s on the way out, but don’t forget it:

You’d be amazed at how one top trend can form the basis of the next. The ‘It’s been done and let’s move on’ mentality isn’t always correct, so bear in mind that past knowledge comes into play when trying to predict the future.

For example, the resurgence of 80’s electro chic has given rebirth to the casual bomber jacket as AW16’s must have statement piece. This also goes hand in hand with our new Metallic obsession, another 80’s throwback we’ve seen emerging in SS16/17 . Many of these future trends are in fact just an extension of one another. The lesson here: know your past, to know your future.

2. Look outside the box:

Times are changing... Being a sponge and consuming as much material as humanly possible doesn’t have to mean hours of magazine flipping. Believe it or not, social media offers itself as one of the most up to date forms of style inspiration. The real-time nature of it all means we can now see high-end designer collections as soon as the models step off the runway.

There is now a direct link between marketing and design goals due to social media. The New York Times has even recognised that designers such as Zac Posen and Rebecca Minkoff are crowdsourcing inspiration from their online customers.

Some other quick ways to identify trends are what you’d least expect. Think TV, movies, industry reports and even song lyrics. Taking note of these and looking for patterns in different mediums can help you find the correlations you need for an accurate forecast.

3. Cut down on time and look to industry relevant sites:

Let’s face it, sorting through brands separately can take hours. Using platforms like Flaunter means you can gauge future trends as they come. As a media user, you have free access to a huge spectrum of brand names and their most current, and in many cases, as-yet unreleased collections. The best part is having such a huge collection of images aggregated in one place can give you a literal snapshot of the themes, colours and styles running throughout a bunch of the latest collections. Now that’s a timesaver.

For real-time runway action, you can also look to Vogue Runway for the most current collections from global designers, and pinpoint predictions yourself.

As a brand, there are also some cool creative agencies such as Trend Stop who can point you in the right direction by using online consultancy and trend reports specifically tailored to you. With a forecast to work off, you can ensure any future commercial endeavours you may want wish to embark on.

This Image: Eclectic Trends


Spotlight on: Greg Banks from A Rock on a Lens

Whether it's showstopping sunglasses or ornately bottled fragrances, Greg Banks' designs are more like experiences than fashion accessories. We loved our chat with this passionate emerging WA creative.

What has been your favourite moment since founding A Rock on a Lens?
It's hard to pick one favourite moment! My personality is very excitable, so every magazine feature, every sale, every Instagram post gives me the biggest smile. So I want to say EVERYTHING because it is true...

But, one moment that really stands out to me is the creation of my fragrance. It was something I wanted to do for years. It is so much work, a lot of trial and error; almost to the point I didn't release it. One aspect of this fragrance that makes it my favorite is when I started wearing it to trial it, and people would stop me and compliment my scent. That would have to be my favorite moment.

One aspect of this fragrance that makes it my favorite is when I started wearing it to trial it, people would stop me and compliment my scent. That would have to be my favorite moment.

What’s on your desk right now?
Two parcels, shipping receipt, my phone and a lot of glue.

What did your last 24 hours look like?
Besides running my label, I have three jobs and work every day, so my last 24 hours consisted of me working...then coming home to be a desperate housewife, then a business man... To summarise: it was non-stop.

Do you have a go-to work wardrobe?
I do - I am wearing it right now. It is a over sized grey shirt with a black bomber jacket, blue skinny jeans and the most comfortable pair of brown leather op-shop boots. They are so nice, I cant believe anyone would want to part with them.

If someone could only buy one new accessory next season, what should it be and why?
For summer, the one item I would like to buy is a really really nice pair of shorts. I don't really wear shorts, but this summer I will have to invest.

Can you tell us about the first piece of fashion you ever loved?
The first piece...It would have to be a Lime-drop denim shirt...well, it's more a cape. It is 'normal' length at the front, then it drops almost to the floor at the back. I still love this piece but last time I moved it was in storage and silverfish got to it - now it hangs in my wardrobe for me to look at.

Image: A Rock on a Lens x Torvean Hill


How the media can find your images on Flaunter

Flaunter’s media network are an amazing bunch- with a combined reach of over 35 million (and growing), you know they represent some serious potential you’ll be wanting to tap into. But to do so with success, it’s helpful to understand the logistics of how they search Flaunter, and what we’ve noticed catches their eye, consistently.

So without further ado, here’s the ultimate insider guide to what the media see on Flaunter (and what you can do to make sure they see you!)

Step 1: Be seen, Be sought.

One of the great features of Flaunter is that your content does the pitching for you, but did you know there are three ways you can be discovered on Flaunter? This multi level strategy means your content is displayed in endless configurations, keeping it fresher for longer and giving it more chances of being found.

Content Feed: Displaying recently uploaded content, this is where the media goes when they’re looking for inspiration in the newest, freshest styles. In this configuration, the media see large cover photo displayed per album, so always select a stand out album cover to really generate attention. Remember when trying to harness awareness, quality in image is a must (we recommend 300 dpi).

Find Photos: This highly customisable search function means the media can pinpoint exactly what they’re looking for, right down to colour and image type. To make the most of your changes to catch the media’s eye when they need something specific, we’d recommend uploading multiple images types for each product- campaign/lifestyle, look book and flat lay/deep etch. We have multiple media users who download one particular image style or another exclusively, so don’t miss out on that flat-lay downloader by only uploading your campaign shots!

Brand Directory: The ultimate brand index! Here it’s essential that you don’t underestimate the power of one image! This is the place where the media navigate through brands in search of brands that are new, eye popping and different. There isn’t always a clear cut on plan on what exactly they are looking for. Sometimes briefs are vague and finding quality material may fall down to random searches. In drawing attention to yourself, it’s important you select something both striking, whilst embodying your current brand image. Regularly updating this photo every so often is also recommended to maintain a fresh appearance.

Step 2: Be a Strong Contender

So, when one of Flaunter’s 1600-strong media network are scoping out fresh images, how do you maximise your chances of being the brand they choose to publish? Predict their needs and fulfil them - without them needing to ask you. Don’t worry- you don’t need a crystal ball to work out what they’ll need, simply read on.

Speed, accuracy and key product info. In a world full of shorter-than-ever deadlines, the last thing the media have time to do is conduct an intensive Google for a price on a pair of boots, especially if your competitors are offering an image of a similar pair of boots with all the details right there. Make the most of Flaunter by offering the media the details you know they’ll regualrly need right alongside your images. Generally as a minimum, an RRP, stockist details and an idea of when the product is available in store will be required for any image the media want to publish.

Step 3: Keep Them Interested!

Keeping your content fresh and up to date is the best way to encourage the media to show you more love in future. .

The brands we know the media are hanging out to hear from are those who share their fresh content when it’s freshest- this means, as soon as the images are back from the photographer and your RRPs are set - not a month and a half after it’s been released in store**

**NB: Of course if your timing doesn’t permit you to upload your content hyper-early, it’s better to upload late than never - just remember, the earlier you upload, the larger the proportion of our media network who will have the ability to work your content in with their varying publish dates and lead times.

Don’t let all the little things pile up and stay on top of everything, meaning any latest collections, products or information should be updated on the regular! Hide any old outdated or irrelevant information you don’t want them to see - the media can’t publish it anyway.

The media landscape is an increasingly visual space, so judging a book by cover often applies. Be creative when making content as it can be applied over many areas and draw the attention of new media users. For example: think of ways that assist presentation in publication form and what looks good to the eye.

Good relationships also foster lifelong connections between brands and media which can offer you stability within your PR strategy. Checking the Dashboard and replying to your received Flaunter messages swiftly will help out in this regard.


3 ways to visually curate your brand to stand out

Bored with that same old image? Visual curation can breathe new life into your brand and set you apart from the crowd.

If you’re looking for somewhere to begin, have a read of our ultimate guide to creating your own unique brand personality through visual communication.

 

Insta-Success: Be socially savvy.

We’ve all had that moment of joy during a casual magazine-flick, when we’ve discovered a particularly dreamy spread . It’s something about how the images come together, how all those pieces in their individual simplicity meld into a cohesive picture.

The same concept has become part of brand marketing today. Elegantly curating your social channels will not only increase your fan base, but it also increases the creative opportunity. For example- specific collaborations are made possible with creatives such as artists or photographers who may design content for you. This may open up new doors into other industry areas and enhance your overall look.

Think: a milieu of beachy blue undertones in a colour scheme for a swimwear Instagram account.

Stressed about keeping it in sync? There are so many apps to help you out; Plan My Gram and Planoly being amongst them. These clever tools allow you to upload your content as a mock-up Instagram layout for you to plan to aesthetic perfection before you post.

 

Out of the Ordinary: Don’t be a copycat...

Curating a brand means making something unique out of who you are. Stand tall against your competition rather than blending into that background of similarity. In this game, the winners are doing something bold and different. Think of creative ways to market your product that will get people talking (and by talking we mean liking, commenting, sharing and posting of course!).

Creativity in your packaging and tagging is a great place to start. Give customers something from you both psychologically and tangibly. Cute labels that double as the product tag and a totally wearable item can turn your identification into a trend. Jewellery designer Samantha Willis’s uses this very concept by offering beautiful handcrafted wooden boxes with every piece.

Going that little extra is not only great DIY PR but it can be excellent value for money in terms of keeping your brand front of mind with your customer base.

 

Don’t Go OTT: Simplicity is key.
Consumers have been bombarded for decades with masses of ‘buy, buy, buy’ marketing (and they’re sick of it!). The mantra of ‘excess’ is used so loudly in retailing today and is far more likely to send your clients running...in the opposite direction...

Consider long-term planning much like how you would with your content, making sure your whole team is unified around who you are. This means painting your own philosophy and sticking to it no matter what creative direction you take. This way you can still have that individual voice whilst presenting in the right fashion. Don’t over do it and don’t be a pushy salesman. It’s great to give your identity a refresh every now and again, just be sure to steer clear from all the chopping and changing - which could warrant a messy image!
Feedback is a good strategy here, helping keep on track of customer response and pinpointing the exact areas that may or may not be working. Remember: brand individuality should be encouraged, just be sure all decisions are also business favourable!

Image: Sarah Illenberger


3 ways to make your brand more ethical & sustainable

100% biodynamic, sustainably sourced, chemical free cotton? It seems like our carrots are not the only thing we are told to buy in organic form now.

Let’s be honest, our planet really isn’t what it used to be - we should probably all do our bit to keep mother nature feelin’ fine.

From fashion to interiors, many brands are looking to jump on board the sustainability train, but where to begin? There’s so many  directions (and misdirections) in this tricky field, so we've come to the rescue sharing some innovative ways to make your brand more green.

Prepare to meet your maker.

Sustainability isn’t just about saving the planet - it’s also about sustaining those who make the products we sell.  Ethical manufacture has become a heated topic in recent years as customers are wanting more transparency around the where, the how and the who of the products they’re buying (Check out the Who made my clothes? movement)

This means brands need to consider their social model in the same way they consider their pricing model. What many brands don’t realise is that choosing more ethical manufacturing methods is a great way to harnessing a larger, more conscious audience. With all the bad press associated with cheap manufacturing & poor working conditions, consumers are demanding their products without the guilt, and quite rightly so!

Need help seeking ethical manufacturers? Ethical Clothing Australia has a database of ethically accredited makers both here and overseas just waiting for your call.

Don't forget, shipping goods leaves considerable carbon footprint too, so it’s always worth considering making locally where possible. Small brands are some of the front-runners in this movement, so be sure to have a look at what they’re getting up to - The Australian Made website is a great index.

Leave little trace

Polyester move aside. Your brand’s environmental footprint is probably a bigger issue than you think.

Simply mixing up your choice of materials and considering more earth friendly options is a great way to start. So many brands are finding new and innovative ways to source and recycle materials, without the big price tag.

The surge of sustainable materials in the fashion industry is by far the best example. Recycled plastics and glass bottles have graced catwalks all over the world for years now, making sustainable trés chic.

Being sustainable means that your brand could even weave eco warrior materials into it’s sole philosophy. For instance, hemp, recycled nylons and wools and even organic cotton have become the standard for some big global brands such as Patagonia (see their full materials list here for some inspiration).

It’s no doubt that striking balance between image and model may ultimately change the way in which your consumers view you.. for the better!

Good Karma

There’s plenty of imaginative ways your brand can pay it forward.  Consider ways of offering a helping hand to groups that co-align with your core values. For example: creating a special product range dedicate to something you care about means you can donate a percentage whilst generating an awareness.
Remember to keep it all relative... selling bracelets to raise funds for save the trees has no clear corresponding message.
Get everyone to join in! Customers, suppliers, staff, media and all! Come up with creative ways such as running design competitions for products and give contributions from the sales.

Remember that being philanthropic is not just about giving away money for nothing. Remember: Doing good for humankind should not feel insincere or a strategy to just gain some media coverage. Plan what you want to do and discover how it can be used to better the planet.

Image: Vanessa McKeown