Trend Beacons- Elizabeth Beasley

As expected, there were many connections to our class in the documentary Trend Beacons. The most obvious connection is that to the zeitgeist and how designers use it in the early stages of their process.The next connection I took note of was one to the 100 Years Fashion. David Shah said that nostalgia is not better. The 100 Years Fashion thrived on looking to the past, and Mr. Shah is saying maybe this isn’t the best approach when looking at forecasting/futuring. Another connection I made was to the “Society of the Spectacle.” Shah also made the comment about how brands are starting to monitor their customers’ every move in return for cheaper prices, etc; he said that he would give up privacy for something cheaper. With the “Society of the Spectacle,” Debord talks about a society where everything is for “show;” there is no privacy.

This entire documentary was extremely interesting to me. One of the first things that stuck out to me was “don’t believe in terms of trends.” Rather look at the direction you want to go in instead of the trend. This idea was quite a light-bulb moment for me. This made a lot of sense to me. I think some fashion labels get too caught up in staying “on trend” to appeal to masses instead of looking at what direction is best for the company or for their customer base. Another interesting point was that for something to be relevant it needs to have perspective. To be relevant, a fashion label or brand needs to have perspective. I personally believe that brands like Chanel have stood the test of time because of their distinctive point of view–it’s not that their designs are innovative or new, but they have found their perspective and followed its direction. I also thought that the statement about trends will come out of something regardless of if it was “created” or not. For example, flare jeans may become a trend because that’s the only type of jean clothing companies are making available to the market.

One point that I didn’t fully agree with/had some issue with was long term trends are classics. I feel like the phrase “long term trend” is contradictory. I think it makes more sense to use classics and fads as ways to categorize apparel phases. I did find it odd that the men behind Ravage did not welcome clients into their studio. I find this odd because David Shah mentioned that all information is public, and everyone has access to the same information. I understand wanting to have the upper-hand by keeping their (Ravage)  futuring process secret, but I also think that to build a stronger network for their company they need to let their clients be a part of the process. It might open them up to other ideas or perspectives they may not have considered (Merton would say that was an error of analysis!). Another difficult point for me was the one saying nostalgia does not mean better. While I understand that looking towards the future is the whole point of the forecasting/futuring business, I also feel like to understand the future the past is needed. I believe in some cases that nostalgia is a good way to show why looking to the future is better.

The three main points, in my opinion, of this documentary were looking at things in terms of direction, relevance needs perspective, and everyone has access to the same information in the futuring world. I would use these points as well as observing and listening to things around you for fashion direction to explain to a TMD student about this course. Forecasting is much more than putting together a aesthetically pleasing inspiration board. You have to build a network of people that work together as a collective and pay attention to everything around you.


2 thoughts on “Trend Beacons- Elizabeth Beasley

  1. I didn’t think about Debord and the Spectacle when I was watching the film, but it makes a ton of sense after you point it out. The forecasters are literally watching society, waiting for our next move to figure out what is trending. In that sense, everything anyone does is for show. We are all on stage, everyone and everything looks to and at each other for context and understanding,

  2. I feel like with most of the fashion industry that Debord can be applied. Everything seems to be for show in this industry, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just the reality of this industry.

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