Category Archives: Education Events

The Impact of Socio-Cultural Changes on Fashion 2020-2021


Philip Fimmano, Partner and Director at TREND UNION, a leader in compiling trends from around the world since 1986, spoke to our crowd from the Underfashion Club at the Harvard Club of New York about “The Impact of Socio-Cultural Changes on Fashion 2020-2021.” Socio-cultural trends have had an impact on all aspects of fashion, from sustainability to color trends, fabrics/materials and accessories.

The overarching theme of this educational event was the idea of brown as a color and a metaphor for society getting closer to the earth and the diversity of people. Philip linked the color to the way we will be living in the future. Brown is more in-tune with the current period after 30 years of black, transforming any item into something luxurious, modern, and less aggressive. The consumer wants to be different, focused on ecology, and casual.  Browns and neutrals soften the edges on the body when worn.

A key factor to consider regarding the future of fashion is the increasingly conscious consumer. Their awareness of brands and consideration of ecology when choosing materials directly influences the way businesses should source and market their products. The modern consumer is more focused and specific about what they buy, steering clear of disposable fashion. Dying is being done in sustainable ways, with natural pigments from organic materials, moving away from synthetic processes.

There’s been a revival of basics in fashion that have become elevated by designers that are keen on sophisticated details. Basics are for casual people, particularly younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z. Normcore is based on the idea of blending in in an almost “boring” fashion. In contrast, there is also boldness, which gravitates towards larger volumes.

Philip Fimmano shared upcoming trends for fashion in 2020-2021. Winter 2020 fashion will include lots of frilly materials and transparency in new neutrals. It will be a comforting season with a combination of natural fibers and synthetics with brighter pastels expressing new neutrals, providing coziness and a new pleasure in dressing up. Summer 2021 fashion will be focused on green-mindedness and trends will include florals, pastels, and all kinds of greens and foliage. Pastels will have a more milky quality to them and shades of green express an uplifting energy.

Natural fibers and high-tech materials are a key trend. There will be a return to satin finishes, neoprene, and metallic shine as well as interesting new pastel tones. Knitwear and bigger volumes including softer finishes will be seen, especially in intimates. Sleeve details will help the consumer find the fun in dressing up.

Natural and organic, non-polluted places in the countryside are gaining popularity due to affordability and quality of life. There’s no need to be in big cities since the internet allows us to be everywhere at all times. The separation from politics and outside distractions is coined in softwear, which focuses on the cozy lifestyle. Cuddles are channeled through comforting, teddybear-like materials in sophisticated shades of brown. Faux furs in outrageous colors and modified animal prints show a connectedness to nature while emphasizing that the garments aren’t made of real animals. Blankets have become a key fashion accessory for the home and for picnics, and are even seen on runways. Fluidity and ruffle effects will be observed in clothing such as dresses, lingerie, and even expressed as a singular tuck in satin-like materials.

Vintage linen and lighter colors like whites and creams are part of the cozy look. Bohemian, baroque, vintage satin sheens and neutrals will be seen. The idea of vintage is more than a color story. It is melancholic. Rough and expressive ancient-looking textiles and archaic design language will trend. It’ll be wilder, with fringes and hairier textures. Colors are warmer with spice accents, such as cinnamon. Earthy motifs that look like petals and twigs will be seen in wovens.

Constructivism is more graphic, including color blocking and brighter colors. Neutrals can be brought to life with fuscia or red colors, a key color in the winter season. Khaki and olive will be trending in menswear, with more optimistic and graphic ways of combining things. 2020 implements motifs from the 1920s, inspired by escapism and a yearning for some glamour.

See photos from the event in the Facebook album!

Consumer Evolution with NPD’s Todd Mick

The Consumer Evolution seminar was given by Todd Mick, Executive Director of Apparel and Kristen Classi-Zummo, Apparel Market Analysis Director of The NPD Group; an authority on market size and trends in over 20 different industries. They shared information regarding consumer trends in the intimate apparel industry with The Underfashion Club  at The Harvard Club of New York.

Todd Mick discussed the evolving consumer using 3 key themes:

  1. Category Performance
  2. Channel Performance
  3. Price Segment Performance

Bras are the #1 category of growth in intimates. More people are shopping in channels that offer value and convenience, like off-price retailers and e-commerce. Body positivity, ethnic inclusivity, and campaigns that uplift and empower women are gaining support. Big retailers are on a spending binge. The high-end and specialty lingerie market is growing more than we’ve ever seen before, now comprising a third of sales.

Even with all this disruption, sales in intimate apparel are flat at a $12-13 billion market. It’s only grown 1% in the past 3 years with sports bras and shapewear. Right now, the market’s all about slicing the pie and taking a share.

A modern business’s survival involves adaptation and focus in:

  • Retail & Product Innovation
  • Values & Community
  • Merchandising & In-store Excellence
  • E-Commerce, Excellence, & DTC

Millennials today have great spending power, high self-esteem, and a value for responsible shopping. Making personal connections and sharing concern over current social and environmental challenges will inspire consumers to support a business. About a quarter of intimate apparel sales are made online, where modern consumers do most browsing. Understanding the preferences of the modern market is vital to business growth.

Todd ended the seminar by giving the first-ever Underfashion Club exclusive NPD Bra Awards, showing the top-growing bras of 2018! Thanks NPD for the fascinating show.

Kristen Classi-Zummo‘s panel can be read here.

View photos from The Consumer Evolution on Facebook.

View The Consumer Evolution on YouTube:

Consumer Evolution with NPD’s Kristen Classi-Zummo

The Underfashion Club met on March 12th at the Harvard Club of New York to learn about Consumer Evolution with The NPD Group; an authority on market size and trends in over 20 different industries. Presenters Todd Mick, Executive Director of Apparel and Kristen Classi-Zummo, Apparel Market Analysis Director shared their knowledge and data regarding consumer trends in the intimate apparel industry.

Kristen Classi-Zummo described today’s changing consumer using key themes:

  • New Committed Consumption
  • Casualization Nation
  • Digital Divas
  • The Responsible Consumer

There have been significant changes in consumer culture recently due to the Internet’s accessibility. Over 25% of currency spent on apparel was made through online transactions. Apparel sales have been flat over the past 3 years and are expected to decline in 2019.

Where are consumers spending their money today? People are buying experiences—as observed in increased sales in park attendance, travel, and RVs. Subscriptions cost the average consumer about $300, which results in less for discretionary spending. Consumers of apparel subscription services often cancel within the first 3 months due to loss of interest.

Personalization is key to keeping the consumer invested. The sign-up process is a great opportunity to collect preferential data on individual consumers for personalized recommendations. Shipments that are varied, interesting, and considerate will more likely keep subscribers committed.

Activewear’s popularity helped influence a casualized nation. Despite being made for athletic performance, 60% of those who frequently wear activewear almost never exercise. More people are choosing to stay in, investing in the home’s comfort and streaming media. Meal kits and food delivery services replace grocery shopping. Home automation services and social media encourage the trend to stay at home even further.

The preference for casual comfort is seen in intimate apparel trends such as high-waisted underwear and wire-free bras.

Social media connects us to influencers and the latest styles, impacting how consumers view fashion. However, 46% of people don’t follow their favorite brands on social media. This is a big opportunity for businesses to use social media to connect to potential customers. Over half of consumers purchase clothing after seeing it advertised on social media, and over half of those made repeat purchases.

Social media is the perfect platform to showcase your brand’s message and values, connecting to the consumer’s will to shop responsibly. Social responsibility and sustainability is a movement that is growing, influencing consumers to consciously support companies whose mission reflects their personal values.

We’ll cover presenter Todd Mick‘s segment of this seminar in our next blog!

View photos from The Consumer Evolution on Facebook.

View The Consumer Evolution on YouTube:

Success Means Understanding a Mobile First World” with Bora Chow

Industry Lead on Fashion and Luxury retail on Facebook and Instagram, Bora Chow shared her expert insight with the Underfashion Club at the Harvard Club of New York in her presentation “Consumer Behavior & Expectations in a Mobile First World”!

Bora has been at Facebook for about three years. Prior to joining Facebook, Bora spent a majority of her career in the publishing industry and most recently, she was at Vogue for five years, helping them grow from the one magazine platform to 10 different platforms. At Facebook, Bora consults with leading fashion and luxury retailers on their mobile and social strategy and how to execute a customer centric approach across Facebook’s family of apps.

The in-store retail experience hasn’t really caught up with the rapidly changing consumer behavior. Smartphones and the Internet are causing disruption across all industries. New startups are completely changing the brick and mortar landscape. Today, mobile is not a choice for marketers. It’s an imperative.

  1. Consumer Behavior on Mobile

By next year, mobile will surpass television on time spent. Millennials lock their phones 150 times a day. They’ve coined a new phobia: FOBO (Fear Of Being Offline), highlighting just how essential it’s become to be online. 64% of people are accessing mobile devices while shopping to learn more information about a product. 90% of all time spent on digital is spent on apps, and 90% of that time is split between top 5 apps. These apps are Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Spotify, and YouTube.

As a result, the consumer is in the driver’s seat with a newfound sense of control, expecting all things to be brought to them with the click of a button. We are now always shopping, creating an opportunity for companies to be always present in the consumer’s life by being where she spends so much time.

  1. Mobile Storytelling on Facebook

Fashion and luxury brands of the past dictated trends as consumers wanted to mirror those values seen in magazines. Today, to be exclusive is to be inclusive. Consumers will choose brands that create bespoke and personalized experiences and those that fit into their personal values. As a result, businesses are releasing so much more variety to address the personalized needs of their diverse consumer pool.

Creating content for mobile has become a new discipline for creative directors today. When producing video content for your brand, ask yourself if your content is passing the “three-second audition.” As people’s attention span is getting shorter due to mobile, today’s challenge for marketers is to earn peoples’ attention. To learn more about how to optimize your content for Facebook, please check out the Blueprint courses here.

To be a relevant and a competitive business today, mobile and the customer should be at the center of our business decisions. Your competitive advantage is driven more by your creativity than your budget. The more you create, the more you learn. Be open to testing, learning, and iterating for today’s fast-paced, mobile first world.

See more photos from the evening on Facebook!

The Retail Apocalypse?
Shifting Consumer Demands

On Wednesday, March 14, 2018, The Underfashion Club hosted an open discussion at the Harvard Club in New York City with Sidney Morgan-Petro, Senior Retail Editor at the London-based trend forecasting company, WGSN. Morgan-Petro led an exploration of the turmoil in retail stores. Explaining how retailers in the U.S. are dealing with all the dynamic changes in the purchasing patterns of consumers.

To begin, Morgan-Petro shared some interesting statistics affecting retail stores for 2017, including the fact that about 3,000 retail stores had closed that year. Yet during the same year retailers opened over 1,300 more stores than the number closed. There was actual growth in retail. She also stated that in 2017, 42% of retailers have actually added stores, while only 15% have gotten smaller.

Morgan-Petro says that we are experiencing – not an Apocalypse – but rather a Transformation within the retail industry as consumers are shifting their spending from goods to experiences.

How is Retail Transforming?

Morgan-Petro said that retailers are generally transforming in 3 ways:

  1. Shifting their Business Models from selling products alone, to selling services
  2. Right-Sizing their Operations in order to better balance their businesses
  3. Creating Experiences within their stores that mirror the desires of the newer generations and at the same time, creating new channels

Shifting Business Models

When discussing shifting business models, it’s very worthwhile to review some of the innovations brands are taking. For example, some shoe stores are now offering shoe storage, shoe rental services, and shoe repair services, thus expanding their revenue stream.

Some clothing stores are offering monthly subscription clothing rental services that allow consumers to mix and match outfits by strategically selecting rented pieces of clothing to accent their own.

Luxury handbag stores have always offered repair and cleaning services, but now they are bringing the service “workshops” right onto the retail floor, where consumers can see their products being repaired and serviced.

Some clothing retailers are shifting to selling services rather than goods in specialty sponsored stores. A large international clothing chain is opening in-store, convenience laundromats for college students along with providing charging stations, beverages and music by a disc jockey on staff.

And in the lingerie business sector, some lingerie stores have embraced selling fitting services, consultations, educational services and half-sizes to lure consumers to their stores along with their traditional branded lingerie.

 

Creating Experiences

We’ve learned that both Millennials and the Z-Generation are more inclined to buy experiences rather than products. These younger people are more concerned with the over-all experience of buying the product rather than the actual product itself.

An example is that of a clothing store that sponsors, creates and administers music festivals and experience expositions for which they are charging a premium.

Increasingly, the differentiation between one product and another is not the product, but how and why it is made.

Here are a few statistics:

  • 65% of consumers globally try to support brands that are purposeful
  • 57% of consumers will support or boycott brands because of its stance on a political issue
  • There is a 30% greater tendency for consumers to purchase a brand, based on its beliefs, than there was just 3 years ago

Retailers must convey their message of relevance to these new consumers by making their stance know on ethical behavior, using factories that have policies of fair pay, humane treatment, and offer employees opportunities for personal growth.

These new consumers purchase with purpose. They care who the brand’s preferred charities are and they make purchase decisions that align with their own. They want the brands that they purchase to facilitate action by providing additional services.

 

The Retail Apocalypse?
No. It’s a Retail Transformation

This retail transformation is happening now and will continue to build and evolve as the needs and demands of the new generations of consumers grow louder. This is a call for retail innovation!

Recap of “Trends in the US Retail Landscape”

On October 10th, 2017, The Underfashion Club had the pleasure of hosting Don Unser, Group President of Retail with NPD, at the Harvard Club of New York for a discussion on “Trends in the US Retail Landscape.” The NPD Group is among the top 25 market research companies, providing marketing information and advisory services to companies. After an hour of cocktails and networking, attendees took their seats  to learn about the modern retail climate in the United States.

Don began his presentation by highlighting macro trends across industries and categories before digging deeper into apparel and intimate apparel. Based on tracking $1.8 trillion dollars spent by consumers in the US, Don Unser commented that “There has never been a more tumultous time in retail in the 30 years I have been in the industry.” The overall growth rate is -0.2%, the only time we’ve seen a negative growth rate in US retail since the recession. Apparel sales are now flat, which is a first given that a growth rate of 1-3% is typical in this industry.

Where is consumer spending being shifted? Though there is a downward trend overall, there are several industries that are experiencing a marked increase in sales. Prestige beauty, home improvement, cruises, national park attendance, and RVs are seeing positive growth rates. Don theorizes that this shift toward spending on memories and experiences may be influenced by millennials’ mobile use, online presence, and search for uniqueness. With platforms like Instagram being enormously popular, millennials are always on a search for the “money shot” to share on their profiles. A life that’s personalized and picture-perfect is high on the modern consumer’s priorities.

Even e-commerce growth rates have been slowing for the past few quarters as various categories reach their online maturation points. Don reminded the audience that brick-and-mortar stores are still key for growth, feeding the relevancy of a retailer’s online sales.

Despite its lack of overall growth, there are clear distinctions between the top and bottom performers in apparel. Woven shirts and dresses are the biggest drivers in apparel, while T-shirts and sweater sales are significantly declining.

The large number of store closings over the past year is a big factor contributing to the difficulty in retail. Don predicts that apparel space will continue to decrease for another two years. To adapt and to stay relevant as Amazon grows, manufacturers are ramping up their direct-to-consumer services. The majority of retailers are using data to figure out how to appropriately distribute their brand outside of stores.

The intimate apparel industry has remained relatively flat for the past few years. Sports bras and swimwear are seeing improved sales while shapewear is facing a slight decline. Bras have more online penetration than women’s apparel, though panties fall short.

Amazon has grown to become the top online retailer in intimate apparel, with nearly 22% of bra sales and 42% share of the underwear market – almost 8x the runner-up. Intimate apparel brands should take note, especially if they plan to partner with Amazon.

With the nature of the modern retail climate and its inevitable changes in mind, Don Unser concluded his presentation with a call to action for both brands and retailers with advice on how best to compete and adapt to this volatile retail environment. We thank Don and NPD once again for an interesting and insightful evening.

See photos from “Trends in the US Retail Landscape” in our Facebook album!

Watch a clip of the seminar on YouTube:

Recap of “Retail Tsunami” with Robin Lewis

Robin Lewis, retail expert and founder/publisher of The Robin Report, shared his insights into the modern retail environment with his presentation, “Retail Tsunami.” Thank you to all Underfashion Club members and friends who joined us on March 28th at the Harvard Club of New York for an evening of cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, networking, and education! Your attendance supports our mission to promote “Education today for a better industry tomorrow.”

Once settled in, all attendees gathered in the next room for the start of “Retail Tsunami.” Robin Lewis began by expressing that he was glad to be giving back to an industry he’s been a part of for so many years. He explained that the most profound transformation in the history of retail is taking place today. In order to stay in business, old world retailers must adapt by implementing new strategies to serve the new young consumer’s values.

It is a complex change, largely influenced by modern society’s most powerful enabler of consumers: the smart phone. The API (application programming interface) software of mobile devices is the means of connecting all users, creating a one-world consumer with shared interests and desires around the globe.

From 1950-1980, the United States had the most explosive growth of retail in all of history. Though demand declined during the early ’80s due to globalization, supply remained the same and became even more efficient with technological advances. Saturation has forced retailers and brands to offer extreme discounts in order to compete. This unsustainable system is devaluing brands and driving many companies out of business. To survive, the basis of competition must shift toward new values that serve millennial interests.

We are redefining what value is. It’s a wholistic, personalized, and frictionless experience that’s powered by the internet and mobile devices that allow unlimited and instantaneous access to whatever we may dream of. This new ability to demand anything as an individual has given the consumer all of the power, encouraging stores to move physically closer to them. The consumer becomes the new point of sale as time becomes the new luxury for young people. Fast delivery and instant access is expected for every product and service.

The millennial lifestyle is drastically different from that of the baby boomers, bringing a whole new set of consumer values. Due to an increase in college debt and  a decrease in the worth of salaries among the youth, consumers have been inclined to share, swap, rent, and resell rather than own, doubling the trading business since 2013. The new consumer prefers small, intimate, and personal businesses such as local restaurants, boutiques, and craft breweries over big mega brands. Today, companies are urged to be ethical in behavior, representative of their target market’s lifestyle, and to contribute to the world through sustainable practices. Values are becoming more important than price.

All of today’s marketing should be personalized. This is accomplished through the aggregation of big data, analyzing it, and implementing it to localize and personalize commerce. It’s going to be a high-tech, high-touch world. Customers will be equipped with tablets that can download information, interactive dressing rooms, and more. However, as a retailer, there is no reason to have a store if you don’t have an intelligent human touch. Humans are necessary for the personal aspect of a business. 

Technology is going to reverse last century’s paradigm of sexualization, consolidation, and massification into a 21st-century style that advocates desexualization, de-massification, and personalization. Retailers who are waiting for the future to come before they start transforming are “dead men walking,” because the future is here. Robin Lewis urges retailers to embrace the future now or be history. Remember, personalization is key!

Watch the entire “Retail Tsunami” presentation on YouTube:

See our photos from cocktail hour on Facebook:

Retail Expert Robin Lewis

Retail Tsunami: What’s Next is the keynote presentation by Robin Lewis at The Underfashion Club’s upcoming event at the Harvard Club in NYC on March 28th.

Almost everyone in fashion retail religiously reads the Robin Report, distributed directly to Top Management in Retail and also by The Huffington Post.

The Robin Report is the go-to resource for retail trend analysis in America. It’s analysis are thorough, complete and deep into the why, where, how, as well as influences behind successful retail marketing.

Robin Lewis, the founder and publisher of the Robin Report, is one of the foremost authorities on fashion trends and retail management, making retail fashion a business success. His years with Goldman Sachs, Women’s Wear Daily, DuPont, VF Corporation and Grey Advertising have given him a razor perspective on retail.

He is frequently requested by C-level management for advice, consultation and strategic presentations: among them are Kohl’s, Bloomingdale’s, JC Penney, Macy’s, Liz Claiborne, VF Corp., Charming Shoppes, Estee Lauder, Ralph Lauren, and Sara Lee, as well as financial firms such as Bear Stearns, The Carlyle Group, Goldman Sachs and others.

He is the co-author of The New Rules of Retail, published by Palgrave-McMillan, and is often quoted in various trade and consumer publications such as Women’s Wear Daily, Time Magazine, Chicago Sun Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Brand Week, and Advertising Age, as well as on CNBC, ABC and Fox News.

He’s also predicted a Revolution in Retail Marketing, especially in the area of Intimate Apparel.

Hear what Robin Lewis has to say about your business and your future, and how it will be affected by the coming Retail Revolution. He will provide a personal roadmap to your success by giving you the inside story of what’s coming, when it’s coming, how it’s coming, who is going to be affected, and what it will take to make it happen.

Click here to reserve your place at this game-changing event.

The Sexy Side of 3D Imaging

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The UNDERFASHION CLUB held its most recent program event, “The Sexy Side of 3D Imaging” with Lectra on September 13, 2016 at the Cutting Room. Lectra’s fashion industry expert and director of business development, Luis Velazquez, discussed how 3D technology will impact the future of the fashion industry. This world renowned company is an industry-leader that’s been training today’s fashion students with cutting edge technology.  Lectra has also collaborated with lingerie brands and schools in Paris to award student designers with internships for the technical and aesthetic excellence of their work. As a company, they aim to move the industry forward and help push the next generation of fashion leaders.

Designing lingerie is an intricate art, involving up to 50 components that require such careful precision that many prototypes must be created in order to achieve the right fit. This delicate and demanding process can take a lot of time, and the cost can be difficult to balance, especially in the intimate apparel industry. 3D technology can cut time from the development cycle, helping designers create better products faster.

3D technology allows us to print garments, put them together in a virtual space, and even present them a virtual fitting room. On average, it takes 3-4 weeks to make a sample with 1 fit session. 3D makes completing this process possible in half the time, giving designers more time to get creative and test out new ideas that can be visualized immediately.

This new technology will change the nature of market exchanges. Brands can now prepare 3D showrooms and virtual displays of stores to give clients a feel of the entire experience of owning a product. With product catalogs loaded as 3D data, several colorways can be displayed in a virtual showroom without the need to have a photo shoot or even make the garment itself. With such a detailed display, it would be easy to see where things might fit tightly, opening the doors for customized fit without the cost of manual fit cycles.

It is important to incorporate 3D technology into your business strategy within the next few years, otherwise you’ll fall behind! Help build the future and push our industry to be better! Students today are excited and ready to push the envelope. Work with them and you’ll be surprised what they come up with.

See our photos of the evening on our Facebook album.
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Watch the event on our YouTube channel.

 

Sketch Night Recap

Thanks to everyone who joined the Underfashion Club for “Sketch Night” on April 13th, 2016 with Bil Donovan, the artist-in-residence for Christian Dior Beauty! We hope you enjoyed experiencing figure drawing with a practiced professional in the industry.

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Bil gave a comprehensive breakdown of how to create stylistic figure drawings with simple, deliberate brush strokes. He urged artists to simplify each figure and pose into straight and curved lines with a series of exercises. Beginning with contour drawings and slowly introduced additional details, participants transformed these complex images into defined pieces of art. Lingerie models Pearl and Dhana were fantastic references, holding a variety of poses for practicing artistic techniques.

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Our guests created beautiful pieces of work and were an absolute pleasure to work with! Thank you for showing an interest in the arts and joining us for dinner and cocktails in the Society of Illustrators. We hope to see you all again at our next event, the “Modern Allure” Parsons School of Design Scholarship Contest on May 17th, 2016.

Check out our photo album of “Sketch Night” on Facebook: http://bit.ly/1Sno7Bf
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We also caught the illustration lesson on video for anyone who missed it!