A year and a half later and I’m back. Trends have come and gone, been manifested, forecasted and actualized. I’ve been hard at work in the heart of the market – more specifically, working as the Head Stylist of Anthropologie & Co. in Palo Alto, CA. By market, I mean the marketplace where customers come and go, try and buy, and share their ideas, bodies and experiences with me as they search for clothes that bring them joy, flatter their figures, prepare them for interviews, weddings, funerals, parties, date-nights, couch nights and many more in-between nights. It’s a fascinating way to study the retail experience and the art of trends – moving from one’s perch on the mountain to running with the pack in the valley. The game is different, or rather the perspective is different. Many times I have applauded myself for knowing exactly what product would sell upon its arrival. Some times I’ve had to scratch my head and really ask myself and clients why they didn’t like a particular silhouette when I was sure it would outperform something simpler. All in all, it’s been an incredible journey and shaped my understanding of trends and trend forecasting remarkably. When you’re knee-deep in clothing (sometimes quite literally when cleaning up after a holiday sale), and face to face with the people whose shopping patterns you try to predict, you learn a great deal more than looking at a number on a spreadsheet in an office by yourself.
The Retail Experience
What I’ve seen Anthropologie & Co do remarkably well, and has been always been one of the reasons I’ve shopped and worked with this company, is the value placed on the retail experience. From the incredible artwork displayed around the store and the smell of the candles burning (if our branding was scratch and sniff it would absolutely smell of Capri Blue’s Volcano) to the whimsical, often French, music being played in the background and the beautifully, always thoughtfully and uniquely designed clothing, Anthropologie and Co. gets how important it is to impact and enhance a sensorial shopping experience. Back in 2015, I developed the fashion and lifestyle trend forecast, RAW, which spoke to the importance of experience and a growing need for consumer’s to feel, smell, listen, and see new dimensions in the marketplace.
The Power of the Present
Zooming out for the first time in a while, there are definitely a few new trends on my radar that I’m eager to see take shape. The importance of experience isn’t going away anytime soon and Anthropologie & Co is just getting started. What’s interesting to see coming down the pike is the heightened focus on slowing down and disconnecting. We’ve been fighting sensory overload for some time now, and with new books hitting the market like, Chasing Slow, and new unplugging initiatives like “Shutoff Sunday” from Arianna Huffington it will be interesting to see how fashion responds. Gucci’s resident muse, Alessandro Michele has certainly turned the design world upside down for the time being with his devil may care print and color mixing, not to mention his unique ability to juxtapose centuries of design in a single collection. When it comes to fashion and the retail experience, I think we need fashion to become larger than life. We crave hyperbole from the objects around us – reminders that we are alive, that we are here, that we are now. With social messaging delivered at every turn, retailers and designers must respond with extraordinary experiences and products that help us re-discover the importance and power of the present.