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Jan 18, 2012

Peter's Fashion Forecast for 2012!



Readers, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon the book Fashion Trends: Analysis and Forecasting by Eundeok Kim, Ann Marie Fiore, and Hyejeong Kim at my local library yesterday.  Talk about synchronicity



I eagerly paged through it and discovered it to be about as dry as a fashion-related book can be, though, granted, it's a textbook.  If this doesn't turn students off fashion trend analysis nothing will. 





There's a dirty little secret buried at the end of this book (p. 153) and it's quite the eyebrow raiser: "...most U.S. retailers experience large errors in their sales forecasts, resulting in dramatic financial losses. According to the U.S. Census Bureau and National Retail Federation, U.S. retailers are losing more than $200 billion a year due to forecast errors (Kumar & Patel, 2008).

Yes, folks, $200 billion.  What does that tell you about the success of fashion forecasting?

My hunch is that if I told you to dig around the Internet and come up with ten likely fashion trends for Fall 2012, you could do it by tomorrow morning.  You don't need a Ph.D. and you can skip Fashion Trends: Analysis and Forecasting.  You need to be creative, observant, confident in your choices, and able to justify them.



Let's face it, nobody knows for sure what's going to happen tomorrow, whether it's in economics, politics, or fashion.  But decisions need to be made today and forecasting gives us the confidence and -- when necessary (like when sales suck) -- provides a justification, so we don't lose our jobs.

It's not our fault -- Pantone predicted Tangerine Tango!

The truth is that people who need clothes are largely going to be limited to what's in the stores.  They'll have to buy something, so if they're told that the big color is orange and that's what they see, they're going to buy orange.  They may prefer red, but if there's no red to be had, they won't be buying red.  Which helps to justify our choice of orange.  If orange doesn't meet expectations, though, we can always blame it on the economy, the weather, or bloggers.

It's like American presidential campaigns.  By the time elections happen, we're choosing between two people we can't stand, neither of whom will represent our interests.  But if we're going to vote, this is the choice we have, and invariably a vote in favor of candidate A or B will be interpreted as a mandate for his or her positions, though it's nothing of the kind.

Just as it's no surprise that relatively few people end up voting, it's shouldn't be a shock to discover that a growing number of people today are shopping in thrift stores, making their own clothes, and snubbing their noses at fashion forecasting.  They've dropped out of the "fashion system" and are doing their own thing or whatever their immediate peer group is doing.  Or the opposite of that.

Friends, here are my five fashion predictions for 2012.  I invite you to add some of your own, below.

1) Women and men will continue to wear tight jeans.  In fact, the big word for 2012 is denim.  Does this sound a lot like last year's prediction, and the year before that?  Surprise!

2) Men will increasingly adopt the late Nineteenth Century prospector look.  Plaid vests, tight pants, suspenders, long underwear, high laced boots, wire frame granny glasses, and shaggy beards.  Fashion forward types will blacken a few teeth.

3) Vintage-inspired fashion will continue to grow in popularity.   Mad Men-inspired dressing will wane, as young people rediscover Here's Lucy and The Mother's In-Law on DVD.  It's all about 1968!

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4.  BIG colors for Fall 2012:  Dusty Rose (think Cathy's Forties coat) and Teal (because Michael says so).  If not Fall 2012, maybe Fall 2013.  Anyway, it will happen eventually so don't be caught behind the trend.







5.  Black is the new black.  Yes, black is back, and will replace navy, tan, and gray as the neutral du jour.  Expect to see black in men's swimsuits, men's and women's shoes, women's pants, and men's formal wear.   Plus all-things funeral-related.  A return to the classics!

Readers, I think that's enough forecasting for now -- I don't want to overwhelm you, or myself.

Please tell us about the trends you're seeing in your neck of the woods and what you predict for the coming year.  Should anyone be investing in day-glo at this point?  And after Tangerine Tango...what?

Of course, please (briefly) share why you believe your predictions are likely to come true.  Be creative!

Have a great day, everybody!

63 comments:

  1. I'm predicting (wishing) waistlines will return to the real waist.

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  2. Peter, can you turn your powers of prediction to whether or not I will purchase the Singer 201 with motor & footpedal and/or the Pfaff 30 I saw in a store today?

    If you need some glass cleaner to polish your crystal ball, please by all means let me know! LOL

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    1. Suzi, I see a Singer 201 in your future.

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    2. Thanks for your guidance Peter...Will my current Singer 201 treadle seize up in jealousy? Or will all be content in my sewing room?

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    3. Peter, i think your days as 'Peteradamus' are numbered haha ;P i went back to test run both machines. The foot pedal on the 201 blew up when connected to power & the stitch regular didn't work. I really wanted the Pfaff 30 but sadly it was missing a bobbin case and the feed dog regulator was broken. I didn't bother plugging it in to see if the motor worked because the original Pfaff 1.3 amp motor was long gone and in its place was a Helvetia of unknown amp-age. I was so disappointed that i took a mood altering trip to my local quilting store LOL

      Do you see a 222K in my near future Peter? 3rd time lucky with your predictions?

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  3. I'm a man who got a sewing machine for Christmas. My intention was to use it for bookbinding, but having this machine suddenly opened my eyes to all the things I could make or alter... if only I had an idea how.

    A search using the phrase "sewing for men" brought me here. As a beginning sewer, I'm in awe of your abilities. As a writer, I'm wowed by your seam-ripper-sharp observations, which so pithily leap from designer fabric to the fabric of our society.

    Thanks for all your work here!

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    1. c'mon Hamish, don't hold out on us; what sewing machine did you get? Vintage or modern?

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    2. Welcome, Hamish. My fashion forecast tells me you will quit sewing bookbindings and start making your own boxer shorts very soon.

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    3. Yes Hamish, what did you get? And are you planning on sharing your creations, book and sartorial with your new online friends?

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    4. Hello, all, and thanks for the warm welcome!

      My beloved bought me a new Brother X-5. I'm very happy with it so far. It's far more capable than I am, and I'm still trying to get to grips with the foot pedal — which brings me back to the "speeding tickets" I used to get in grade-school Home Ec sewing classes.

      I've got a website and a blog, and I've shared some of my fumbling first creations on there:
      http://www.hamishmacdonald.com/blog/hameblog.php

      Boxer shorts! Yes, I think those will be the project I tackle next. If anyone has any advice, I'm all ears.

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    5. Welcome to this ever-so-fun site Hamish! Just keep on sewing. Looks like you have the knack! That laptop case was impressive for a beginner!!

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  4. Trends in my town remain steady. Older women wear polyester elastic waist pants with the seam down the middle of the front legs and a large tee shirt, accessorizing with sneakers and a scowl. Younger women wear extremely tight low-waisted jeans, blingy flip flops with thick sole, tight tank tops and a sneer. No change expected this decade.

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  5. For the last ten years i have searched , with little result for decent clothes in navy blue. All i could find was basic clothing in black or gray, both of which look terrible on me. That is one reason for a return to sewing, as i could find fabric in a good selection of navy blues. IMHO A MUCH KINDER NEUTRAL TO MATURE COMPLEXIONS

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    1. I always believed in the basic neutrals of black, ivory (white), navy and red. I use them constantly when I make my clothes, it's the best way to build a working, versatile wardrobe. I don't understand why more manufacturers don't use the basics....they would have more sales if they did!

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    2. I don't like black or white. I too like to wear navy (and tons of other colours with it) but you're right, it is really hard to find. Black is just the default colour for everything now.

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    3. For what it's worth, other than shoes, I don't wear black -- too harsh.

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    4. My thoughts and rationale for choosing Navy blue--if i could find it.

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  6. HAHA! My husband just started growing a beard, and he's lately taken to wearing vests with jeans. Are we on trend, or ahead of it? I grew up across the street from a pre-1848 gold mine, in NC, so "Prospector Modern" would not be an inappropriate style to affect. Except no Levis. We live in the birthplace of Wrangler jeans.

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  7. I think I'm going to trend with the Laverne & Shirley vintage theme: 'Separates are the new Dress' and '70's does whatever decade it wants', but will definitely keep my eye open for The Mothers-In-Law!

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  8. Above the knee dresses - but modest.
    Simple ruffles - just a bit
    Natural waist line makes a return
    Block colours - fail
    More 1940's than 50's - reflect austerity.

    the young will continue to wear cheap knitted fabric, skin tight jeans and dye their hair black

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  9. I like your forecast, and I hope its right, because that's where my wardrobe is heading. This world needs more class in it. The End.

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  10. I have two teenaged daughters, and I see more retro styles in their future. You are on target, once again. I would hate to work in fashion forecasting right now. People really are largely doing what they want and have many available options, especially since thrifting and re-working is so big.

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  11. LOL! How 'bout this: I hear most of the parents I know complaining about the lack of modesty available in children's wear and asking where Evie and Penny get their modest clothing. When they find out that I make them, they make noises about learning to sew. Therefore, I predict that more mothers and fathers will be looking towards sewing in order to dress their daughters in clothing that doesn't make them look like junior prostitutes!

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    Replies
    1. Laura, you own this trend -- don't let anyone else take credit! ;)

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  12. I have always thought this fashion forecasting to be dumb. It is just the way the fashion industry make sure that the "trends" that they are pushing are successful. Although based on your find in the back of that book, it looks like they are less successful than I thought.. I find that making my own clothes has freed me from the mass market clothing that every store tries to push on me. And the fact that Tangerine Tango is the color that they picked makes me so much more thankful that I don't have to buy the clothing

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  13. Trends in Spain this year will continue with the ultra cheap clothes dubiously produced by Inditex (Zara's parent company) and the local Humana (thrift store) running out of stock as the entire nation goes broke. Very in this spring with be the protest slogan t-shirt, as the movement against the government grows.

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  14. What makes me laugh is the way fashion forecasting are wrong in predicting the *end* of a trend ! Especially trends that turn out to be surprisingly flattering, comfortable and/or wearable.
    Eg : leggings, jeans in boots, bootcut jeans ...

    Fashion gurus end up running around desperately, crying : "but, but, but, it was meant to be on trend only for a couple of years ! Stop wearing leggings already ! Stop it ! Stop it NOW !" ... in vain ... It's like Frankenstein all over again !

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  15. I too predict more denim...but that's probably because I found several yards of nice denim fabric at the thrift store last week. For $1.99!

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  16. My prediction? Peter will continue to make me laugh out loud with my morning tea :D

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  17. I see mustaches in the future. Out with the beard!

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  18. Once again I am glad I didn't read your blog while drinking a beverage. I would be still cleaning up my keyboard and screen and perhaps my denim and black clothing as well. I wouldn't mind dusty rose coming back as I have 3 yards of real Ultrasuede that I found at a thrift store for $3, can't use it cause it is dusty rose & ugly, can't get rid of it because it's Ultrasuede.

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    1. You could pretend it is denim and make a 'jean jacket' out of it to add a touch of colour to your black & denim look. Or maybe dye it? lol

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    2. What to do with Ultrasuede.....cut it up into patches....applique.....paint it....cover kitchen chair seats....make a doggie jacket....make covers for appliances? It's so ugly, maybe use it under the mattress to keep warm in the winter? Just some ideas.

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  19. I'm very happy with the dusty rose and teal. These are two of my favorite colors and I have far too little of them in my wardrobe.

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  20. Culottes are making their comeback. Trust me. I intend to lead the trend.

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    Replies
    1. Hmm, I bought some red wool culottes a while back, intending to upcycle them as they were such lovely cloth. Maybe I'll try them on instead and join the revolution.

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  21. I predict black pants and bright tops for office work and jeans for casual wear. In other words people will go on doing what they want and what is practical.
    BTW here the professionals are forecasting 20's flapper styles instead of Mad Men, loose instead of body-con, and softer colors instead of color blockng and lace in lingerie colors.
    Just to let you know here in sunny Australia and a certain red-orange is everywhere.
    p.s did you see Angelina Jolie's golden Globe dress? Nude with a slash of dramatic tangerine red.

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  22. Peter you put a sparkle in my day. Your blog always make me laugh. I have started haunting my local library because of all your great finds. And yes! They have some great sewing books. Often really, really out of day but the techniques (and some fashions!) don't change. I so totally agree with you on the voting issue. Here in Australia it is compulsory to vote (you get fined if you don't) so we HAVE to choose someone, even though I often get to the stage where I can't work out what the difference is between the 2 major parties. I just know I DON"T want to vote for the Shooting and Fishing Party!

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  23. Did someone mention culottes? Since I spend 90% of my time altering clothes for clients (mainly brides with bustles and older babes with flat butts) I wear gaucho pants or what I call pirate pants...wider cropped just below the knee with a 3 inch side seam slit...so comfy while crawling around on the floor and under dresses. Easy and fast to make in all fashionable colors or batiks...go, go gauchos!
    http://fitforaqueen.wordpress.com/

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  24. I hope Michael is right about the teal comeback!

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    1. Has Teal ever really left? Here in cold wet Denmark it certainly hasn't :-)

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  25. I hope the trend to wear whatever represents you continues! I love it when people are being individuals. I have even grown to accept that my sister wears socks with sandals because of that very reason. (yes, we are related, amazingly). Ok, that isn't all...I also hope that the trend for to-thin leggings being worn on their own DIES - where does one look?

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  26. Hmmm..."Prospector Chic" sounds like a go. Must buy more plaid vests for the boyfriend. He'll fight me on it but I'll just tell him that Peter predicted it was the newest fashion trend.

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  27. Oh! Thanks for the laugh! I like this especially "You need to be creative, observant, confident in your choices, and able to justify them."

    I mean, that applies to sewing your own clothes and choosing your own fashion route, too. Not just forecasting for everyone else. ;)

    I like the "prospector" look... My husband is kind of into rocking the "19th century gentleman botanist on an exploration of the far ends of the globe" look... Tough leather saddlebags, waistcoats... We're researching high performance outdoors wear so I can make him stuff to fit that aesthetic... Should just put him in some tough hem levis and plaid prospector vests...

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  28. YAY for Teal! Thank you Michael :)

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  29. The Mothers-in-law! I used to love that show when I was a kid - had totally forgotten about it.

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  30. Did you see all the teal dresses at the Golden Globes? Michael's right! I love teal.

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  31. Oh, I do hope teal is right on trend!

    Where I live, mullets have yet to go out of style, especially paired with a hole filled Nascar t-shirt, which of course must be paired under some bibs. To each his own I suppose.

    I see more 80s inspired things, as well as fabric so thing one can poke their finger though it. More sequins. More skinny denim. More plaid.More mustaches.

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  32. Your presidential analogy is wonderful. If I had had some wine with dinner, I'd be emailing to the candidate's websites.

    I adore teal and dusty rose. I *wish* that was what was in the stores.

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  33. The Domestic Goddess will reappear up as the feminine ideal. Aprons for all occasions, office, formal etc, will appear by November 2012, and become compulsory by mid 2014.

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  34. Forecasting of all kinds is a notoriously tricky business, Peter, as you've most wittily illustrated. With your interest in Hollywood, maybe your next read should be the seminal economic textbook on predicting movie hits: http://www.amazon.com/Hollywood-Economics-Uncertainty-Routledge-Contemporary/dp/0415312612 Or perhaps not, as it isn't cheap, but I'll summarise: again, nobody knows!

    But back to fashion prediction, here is a real treat for you: a pioneering BBC colour film (though I'd swear most of it looks dusty rose...) narrated by the inimitable Doris Langley Moore, founder of the Fashion Museum (which started off at Eridge Castle but moved to Bath in the late '60s, I think, and is still here, re-dubbed the Fashion Museum). She explains, in her clipped 1950s tones, how and why fashions change (or, at least, how and why they used to). I'm sure you'll adore it/her so prepare to be wowed right from the first jiggling credits:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qmk_4RneSV4
    Isn't it a gem? Beyond parody.

    My prediction: Peter will embed this movie in a blog post before January is out and found the Doris Langley Moore Appreciation Club. ;)

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    1. Thanks -- that was fun! Was it only the two parts?

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  35. Oops, my mistake. Doris's collection was initially called the Museum of Costume, and was re-titled the Fashion Museum a couple of years ago. I need coffee...

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  36. People will continue to wear clothes. Shoes will be popular for feet. Hats won't be as popular as the forties.

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  37. With leggings being used as pants, the codpiece will be revived along with bum rolls for a retro-Shakespeare vibe. Outlandish neck ruffles, scabbards and snuff bottles to accessorize. Who's buying?

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    1. Bahaha! I love cod-pieces :D They seem to be de riguer in the S&M community, but I think jeans with cod-pieces could look very nice for daily wear.

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  38. High lace up boots...how butch!

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  39. My sweet husband will continue the rumpled professor trend, living up to student expectations and reputedly very comfortable, involving no ironing or mending of the mandatory holes. I plan to continue my personal style of gritty urban meets demanding rural life including commuting by car, on a tight budget. College students need humor in their lives, and who better to provide it than their teachers? We would have no credibility otherwise! We are happy examples of un-fashion, un-Hollywood, and enjoy the dazed unrecognition when we clean up! The fashion industry/establishment has lived without us for some time, and it will have to keep on, since we are aging out of its universe. Thank you, Peter, for enabling our cheerful path.

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  40. I like the idea of Modern Prospector/Prospector Chic :D Throw in denim cod-pieces and that's a winning menswear look!

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  41. Waaaaait a sec... I think I just described UrbanDon's Fall 2012 collection...

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