Backing the wrong horse
Autumn must be almost here: The mornings mists have begun. And fat little Autumn clothing catalogues are beginning to plop through my letterbox. I love these little mini-magazines. I could spend hours poring over how each clothing company have chosen to style their models, their choice of location. I find I will analyse whether the catalogue tells a story, the quality of the print and paper, the actual descriptions of each garment. I ponder what works, and what doesn’t. And sometimes I even pay attention to the clothes :)
Today on the doormat: a catalogue (from a company who will remain nameless) which claims cheerfully that fringing is fabulous. I beg to differ. I don’t mind fringing on the very ends of scarves, and I’ll tolerate it on the bottom of sofas. But almost every piece of knitwear in this catalogue has woolly fringing. Fringing around collars, fringing in the seams, and up the sides. The general effect is that of the illustration at the top of this post. It’s from a Vogue Knitting Book from 1961, and even Vogue suggests that it may be judicious to knit a version without the fringe: “Pullover in delicious mango, with madcap fringes for the latest Italian look; or, more orthodox, without”.
It seems to me a risky business, designing a mass market/high street clothing collection. After all, the whole process must start so far in advance of that catalogue landing on my doormat. A year? Two years? Armed with “market intelligence” and “trend forecasting” each clothing label must make that fundamental decision: what trends do they think will sell? (It must be a tiny bit like, say, putting your entire year’s salary on Prancing Snowdrift to win the 2.30 at Epsom because a friend of a friend says they’re a stone cold cert.)
It’s certainly intriguing to see what trends each retailer is backing to win profits this season. My catalogue confidently asserts that fringing is “right on trend”. I think they may have backed the wrong horse. But that’s just me. I will endeavour to remember that no amount of being told something is “on trend” means I have to suspend my personal disbelief and buy it….