New ‘Neutral’ Stays: Some trends only last a season but the animal print trend proves that it is here to stay by dominating the runways, and earning the title as the new ‘neutrals’.
Although animal prints accounted for a small percentage of the fast fashion assortment, the abrupt jump of newly launched items in Fall/Winter 2018 coming from a steady build in Spring/Summer 2018, and continuing on into Spring 2019 with higher newness than in last year’s Spring 2018, indicated that it is the strongest and most prevalent trend transcending across different seasonality.
Bold in Fast Fashion: In addition to leopard prints and coveted snake printed items, the fast fashion segment has decided to go bold, entering Spring 2019 by offering progressive interpretations of the runway looks with increased newness across zebra, giraffe and tiger prints including bright and neon coloured iterations.
Womenswear Focused: Though animal prints have drawn increased hype over menswear on the runways, the same sentiment is not shared on the fast fashion retail front. The number of newly added animal printed items for menswear depreciated over the past two seasons and the fluctuations in performance suggested that the trend could only be sustainable for womenswear.
Next Steps for Brands
Know Your Audience: While animal prints might be everywhere from the runways to the streets, simply adopting the trend without having a clear understanding of existing consumer demand or which consumer group to target, can be a costly affair if sales failed to materialize.
Retailers like ASOS, whose customers are mostly in their 20s and highly influenced by social media hype, managed to fully monetize and benefit from the animal print trend, resulting in a 28% increase in profit from the sale of 1.3 million animal print garments in 2018. The retailer was savvy in extending the trend lifecycle by expanding its animal print offerings to include a diverse assortment with snake, zebra, giraffe, cow, and dalmatian.
Start Small: Claimed as the new ‘neutrals’ coupled with strong media hype surrounding animal prints, it is tempting for brands to jump on the bandwagon to leverage on increasing acceptance on the prints.
Take calculated risks and rely on data to avoid costly mistakes. For a start:
- invest in womenswear only, beginning with tops and dresses which had shown successes;
- offer classic leopard prints in bestselling styles/silhouettes;
- launch to trial in peak performing months as proven by data, i.e. summer season from April – July.