Identifying fashion trends and predicting their relevance early enough to produce or buy at the right time and place is essential in the fashion world. What is the lifespan of a fashion trend?
According to the fashion diffusion theory, a fashion trend is a normally distributed curve which reaches the total population – as opposed to fad cycles, which are short-lived trends adopted and dismissed quickly. After the growth stage, a fashion trend will eventually reach a maturity phase, which means it is becoming tired and will finally be adopted by less directional fashion consumers, usually at a low or reduced price.
Through Omnilytics, millions of data points were analysed to identify the three largest fashion trends in Asia Pacific, which we will explore further. These trends have reached the growth stage, which means they have spread and hit the mass market in 2017. Now let’s take a look if they have matured in the early months of 2018.
Trend #1: Floral Embroidery
In 2017, floral embroideries were seen on 8.66% of all SKUs in assortment, especially dresses (36.05%), tops (22.89%) and shoes (8.40%).
Looking at which categories were the most successful, it appears that shoes with floral embroidery did not work as well as dresses, tops and outerwear that had the highest sellout rates. Outerwear outperformed the others with a sellout rate of 73.85%. Especially popular were the sewing of floral embroideries, which added a vintage touch to cardigans, leather or denim jackets for a glam rock style.
At least 40.01% of floral embroidered SKUs went out-of-stock at full price between August and December 2017 (all categories), which demonstrated that discounts were not a driver in purchasing behaviour. It is also worth noting that for most retailers, floral embroidered SKUs were priced higher than average: for instance in Zalora, MYR158.97 versus MYR135.02 as the retailer average. This meant that brands offering SKUs with this trendy detail could potentially fetch higher price points.
However, is this trend still relevant today? Well, the start of 2018 showed signs of slowing down, with floral embroidery present in 6.19% of all SKUs. But it doesn’t mean floral is extinct. It’s just evolved and reinvented into smaller prints (not embroidered) on soft, light fabrics for a more romantic silhouette, such as the dress shown below (middle).
Trend #2: Ruffles
In 2017, 3.34% of all SKUs in assortment had ruffle details (19,215 SKUs). Ruffles were, without surprise, the most present in the tops and dresses categories.
Interestingly, the sellout rate for ruffle tops and dresses were higher than average for all retailers in the benchmark. For instance, Lazada’s sellout rate for tops was 78.3% on average, but reached 85.7% for ruffle tops during the same period. Similarly for Zara, ruffle dresses even skyrocketed at 100%, over the period, versus 75% for the category average.
What’s more, not only tops and dresses with ruffles sold better than other SKUs, but retailers were also able to fetch higher prices for them, as 54% (10,361 SKUS) of items with ruffles sold out at full price! A definitive hit among Asia Pacific consumers.
The ruffle trend started decreasing towards the end of 2017. Indeed, the number of new arrivals with ruffles started slowing down in November (3,702 new SKUs in Nov/Dec 2017, as compared to 7,700 in Sept/Oct) and remains the same today.
Trend #3: Cold Shoulders
First introduced by Celine’s in 2015, the cold shoulder trend took up the spring/summer fashion weeks in 2016, and soon reached the same level of popularity as the off shoulder trend.
Soon enough, all high street retailers had adopted this deconstructed and feminine cut: in 2017, cold shoulder styles represented 8.5% of all SKUs. Zalora, for instance, pushed at least 9,933 cold shoulder dresses to consumers over the year.
Combined with trendy detail such as flower embroideries, this was almost a guaranteed bestseller. Topshop sold out their embroidered cold shoulder dress at full price and replenished on Zalora consistently every month since its launch in August 2017.
Another example would be retailer Berrybenka. Their cold shoulder tops and dresses had an average 83.9% sellout rate, which is 1.2x higher than the category average within the same period.
Overall, cold shoulder tops & dresses sold out 1.3 times better than other tops and dresses (57.3% and 44.65%), which clearly indicated that it was a consumer’s preference.
However, in terms of prices and discounts, it was aligned with the category average.
As a result, if retailers could not fetch higher price value for cold shoulder dresses and tops, at least they could sell them faster than other SKUs from the same categories.
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*Namely the largest retailers across Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore, Zalora, 11Street, Asos, Lazada, Aland, Berrybenka, Next, SheIn, Forever21, H&M, FashionValet, Topshop, Zara, and Mango, were analysed for the purpose of this article.
The data above was obtained from Omnilytics, real-time retail data platform. The numbers and statistics may vary, as the platform is updated every day. The time period of the information taken was between 1st August, 2017 to 30th March, 2018.