It was the world-renowned fashion influencer and Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour that once said, “Fashion is a reflection of our times. Fashion can tell you everything that’s going on in the world with a strong fashion image.”
And while Anna has certainly said some things that I vehemently disagree with. When it comes to that particular statement—I totally concur.
Fashion is definitely a microcosm of society. There’s so much information pertaining to society that could be deciphered simply by observing what’s trending in fashion at the moment and analyzing why it’s happening.
With that being said—let’s get into some of the ways in which fashion trends have an impact on every industry.
Fashion tells us how people feel
“The way I dress depends on how I feel.” - Rihanna
From an emotional perspective—there’s plenty of things that could be unpacked simply from observing the way that people dress. For example, at the time of this publication—In the United States, baggy clothes have made a comeback and are currently a trend again after years of form-fitting clothing reigning supreme.
But if you delve a little deeper into why baggy clothes is actually a thing in the states again—you’ll discover that more Americans weighed in as obese during the first year of the pandemic than in the previous year. Which when deciphered—tells us that the return of baggy clothes is a clear correlation to people feeling less secure with their body than they did prior to the pandemic.
Therefore, a loose–fit or “baggy” shirt or pair of pants is more likely to make someone feel better about themselves after the pounds they’ve put on during the pandemic—than a tight shirt or pair of pants would.
Why those feelings should matter to you
I’m sure that you’re probably saying to yourself, “Yeah, that’s cool that I could tell how people feel about themselves by observing fashion trends…but how is that useful to me?”...Am I right?
First off, that would be an excellent question. Secondly, here’s an example of how those feelings could affect your business and thus—matter to you.
Let’s say you’re the owner of a company that has a uniform policy—like a manufacturing company. Three years ago, it would’ve been in your best interest to order form-fitting uniforms for your employees—regardless of the size of those uniforms. Today, it would be in your best interest to order uniforms with a loose-fit because your employees are feeling more self-conscious. And the way people feel—often reflects their performance à la—their productivity.
As pro football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders famously stated, “If you look good, you feel good, If you feel good, you play good, If you play good, they pay good.”
How your brand could benefit
There’s a myriad of ways that you can use the information that you obtain from observing fashion trends to help you make good business decisions—regardless of which industry it is that your business falls into.
For example, since the current trend of baggy clothes is a reflection of Americans feeling more self-conscious about their body due to their eating habits—you could deduce from that observation that Americans just might be eating more fried foods than they were prior to the pandemic. In fact, according to The Wallstreet Journal, there’s currently a surge in the demand for deep-fried foods.
So, if you were thinking about starting a fast-food restaurant and wanted to secure the most sales as soon as possible and couldn’t decide between serving greasy food and healthy food—you wouldn’t need to look at consumer data to see which kinds of foods were most-favored by the masses at the moment. You could simply look at the current fashion trends and tell that people are probably more likely to purchase a fried option over a grilled one.
You could also deduce from your observation that people are probably hitting the gym less than they were before when form-fitting clothes were in vogue (which is true—as stated in the WSJ article above). If you’re in the fitness industry or the QSR industry—you could easily conduct first-hand research that'll have an affect on your bottom-line just from observing fashion trends.
As a marketing professional, there’s plenty of gems that could be deduced from understanding fashion trends. The examples provided above are just a few scenarios that could be deciphered by simply understanding why baggy clothes are in style again.
There’s so many other trends and industries that are impacted by the way people dress (far too many to list in this article).
My goal here is for you—as a marketing professional, to stay present in the moment and be able to make sound decisions that could benefit your brand simply from observing what’s going on around you in the world of fashion and delve deeper into why people are doing what they do—as opposed to totally relying on consumer data.
These days, far too many marketers often seek to be the most interesting person in every room that they enter. Instead, as author Bernadette Jiwa says in her book, What Great Storytellers Know, “Be the most interested person in the room.”