Every season,a new trend struts down the ramp and makes its way into fashion and high street stores across the country. The shade card records changes,silhouettes are modified,fabrics change according to season,so do the shapes and sizes of the accessories. Some trends go viral,others just fade away. How do Indian designers hit upon the right trends for the market? Its intellectual intuition, says designer Anita Dongre.
Merely looking up to the West for whats trending is never enough,also because the Indian market is very different from the international one. Fashionable people are like a flock of birds. They fly together in the same direction. But one must innovate and bring ones own identity into a collection, adds Dongre. For her Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) Spring Summer 2012 collection,she started work three months ago. I worked on the drawing boards,prints and silhouettes,and when I looked at the World Global Style Network website,which designers subscribe to for forecasting,it was uncanny how my work matched the trends, she says. For her,the process is about observation and travel.
Getting the forecast right comes with experience. Designer Wendell Rodricks doesnt subscribe to any forecasting format. You have to observe the Indian market. Keep your ears to the ground to be able to feel the pulse of fashion, he says. Ive been doing it for more than 22 years now. One has to see when a current trend starts to become boring. If colours like blue and pink are in now,I will look at how to bring a certain freshness into them for the next season, he adds. Rodricks also looks at the clients reactions at fashion shows. For instance,people seem to be fed up of skinny jeans and want a loose fit, says the designer known for his eco-friendly clothes.
Both Dongre and Rodricks point to the 70s as a current theme. Rodricks WIFW collection is inspired by the moonlight parties of the 70s in Goa. Ive worked with Malkha fabric,which is pure,unprocessed cotton from the fields, he says. Its organic and eco-friendly and goes well with eco-consciousness as a larger trend. Colours are lime green,aqua blue,deep cranberry chocolate,deep magenta wine and of course white, he reveals. He also points to oversizing as a trend.
Dongres forecast for the next season is shift dresses with looser sleeves. To get a trend right,you should look at your last seasons collection,take influences from it,adapt them and change something in the new collection. So you continue to have your signature look but offer something new, she explains. The boho-maxi look of the 70s will also be a part of her work.
Fashion institutes do focus on fashion forecasting as part of the curriculum. Also,the timing of a trend can make or break it. You can’t be too early or too late because fashion reflects a herd-like mentality, Rodricks advises.
However,designer JJ Valaya has a different take. He explains why he doesnt believe in forecasting. Im essentially a couturier and forecasting doesnt work with couture. Its occasion and fantasy combined. No norm needs to be followed, he says. Inspiration for a couturier comes from the designers own frame of mind. It depends on the creative director of the brand. If hes very excited,he may do something avant garde. If he feels safer,then he will adapt to market norms, he adds. Though Valaya agrees that for a designer,to know whats happening in the rest of the world is very important. Often,it is couture that inspires forecasters to pick up a trend for the next season, he says.