By Hannah Yakobi
Photography courtesy of WGSN
In this News Special, FAJO catches up with Sally Lohan, who has been helping forecast trends for close to a decade.
A highly accomplished journalist and designer, and a published photographer, she has spoken at many trend conferences and international trade shows worldwide, including the LA Textile Show and Fabric Start. She is currently a content director for WGSN, the leading fashion forecaster for D&G, Paul Smith, Tommy Hilfiger, Gap, Nike, Puma and the Official Trend Sponsor of the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week 2012 in New York.
Lohan shares the details of the changes in the fashion industry and the upcoming fall trends with FAJO’s readers.
What are some of the changes you have seen in the fashion industry recently?
Well, I think that one of the biggest changes is that everything is getting faster and faster. WGSN pioneered trend forecasting online – we were the first to really enter that space.
Now, we see a world where everybody is using the Internet all the time, and people are reporting about things, ideas, trends and fashion from all over the world. So in terms of the way things are produced and the way people gather information, everything has sped up, the consumer knows more about the trends and is more aware of what’s going on.
Obviously, that means that the business has to speed up as well, and the designers or brands have to be able to respond to that, providing something for the consumer straight away. For example, Burberry recently made clothing from their show available for sale online immediately after the show.
So it’s phenomenal: it’s unusual, it’s different and we don’t necessarily have to wait six months for things to be available in the stores. We are in a period of change.
What would you say are the biggest trends for fall 2012?
We’ve seen a lot of colour blocking, but we are now also starting to see fabric blocking. For example, at BCBG we saw fur sleeves and leather pockets paired with wool. That was one of the first shows at the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York and then this trend really started to pop up. I think that texture and fabrication are important to consumers right now. There’s quite a lot of quilting detail too.
I thought it was interesting to see “winter white” starting to pop up as well. And we’ve also seen some quite traditional, heritage colours: navys, camel, deep reds.
I think the schoolgirl look has been a little bit in evidence. We were talking about this, about 10 months ago, with my team. The idea of tapping into a preppy European college look is big, especially for the juniors’ market. Trend-wise, there is also still a bit of a 60s feel, and there are very lady-like trends as well: we are seeing the return of the waist and the peplum.
At the same time, we are seeing a masculine resurgence. At WGSN, we start off with the big picture trends that we call our “macro trends” every season. One of our trends for fall is called “Radical Neutrality” and it is all about androgyny and playing with texture.