From flip flops in the Caribbean to studded combat boots in New York City, footwear is one of the most diverse markets within the global fashion industry. Just take women’s heels for starters, the options within that one style bracket range from stilettos to mid heels or kittens, wedges, pumps, platforms, peep toe, sandals, espadrilles, slingbacks to the traditional round toe.
Add to that the insatiable nature of fashion with its constant desire for the fresh, and you have brand new styles, shapes and sizes regularly being injected into this line-up each season. Then combine the expanse of men’s and children’s styles out there, and you start to grapple the size and collosal potential of the footwear industry.
According to ehow.com, the footwear industry accounts for the production and sales of more than 2 billion pairs of shoes around the world each year. Such a universal demand for footgear can only be a plus for the fashion-savvy consumer looking for variety.
With such an excessive need on an international scale however, it can be tricky for retailers and designers to keep in step with the latest trends. Many smaller businesses can find the task time-consuming and confusing. Unfortunately trends are our fickle friend, while we’re obsessing over the hot neon sandal this week, it’s being turfed out on its heels the next.
So how do we keep on top of the ever-cyclical nature of fashion fads? Where do we start researching, and how?
Thankfully, ehow.com has compiled a handy set of instructions to get you started.
1. Learn the stages of the fashion cycle. Here’s a brief rundown – emergence introduces the trend, creating awareness; popularization or decline follows; declining trends become markdowns and disappear; escalating trends continue toward mass acceptance market saturation then signals the end of the trend.
2. Find trend direction by selecting a footwear feature to monitor, such as heels. Research the current shapes or height, looking into heel fabrication provides another option. Try researching the popularity of fabric, and whether cork, rope or wood heels uncover a rising or decline in style popularity.
3. Break down the trend further and pick a general trend, such as leather. Then narrow it to specifics, such as quilted toes or patent trim. Find out how these individual styles have been performing by familiarising yourself with street style sites and blogs to see what people are wearing now.
4. Check fashion journals for information on the trend. Ragtrader is a great option for researching Australian styles and discovering what is happening in the industry, while Women’s Wear Daily and the monthly publication W represent two industry-accepted examples from the United States. All provide design and manufacturing news from here to New York and other major fashion capitals.
5. Consult an Internet search engine by entering trends with year and season. Past, present and forecast information appears.
6. Read through the accumulation of articles and trend reports. Factor in observable ‘street fashion’. A single article on quilted ballet slippers with satin bows does not, on its own, constitute a trend. Trends are created by acceptance. They are fashion statements that “caught-on.” If it is a trend, you will find multiple sources reporting on them.
Read more on the footwear industry and trends at ehow.com here.
Images sourced via google images and fashionising.com