Monday, September 20, 2010

Retro? Vintage? Fashion Watch!

There's a lot of chat about retro and vintage these days.  Etsy has an entire category dedicated to it and if you search for "vintage" you'll come up with over 800,000 items.  A search for "vintage" on Ebay comes up just short of 3 million listings.  When people started talking about "retro" and "vintage", I have to be honest -- I didn't get it.  I didn't understand why it was such a trend.  And in these past couple weeks, as I've been reading up on fashion trends for the future, I'm seeing a lot of "vintage" and "vintage inspired" looks heading our way.  So why is it so popular?  I'm not sure what everybody is thinking, but I can see a few reasons.

First, it's part of the "green" movement.  Instead of throwing things into landfills, we are looking for ways to re-claim an item's usefulness.  "Upcycled" and "repurposed" items are a hot commodity -- finding new ways to use old things.  Old blankets and quilts are made over into pillows, vests, stuffed toys and ornaments.   Blue jeans become purses.  Steampunk jewelry uses parts from old watches and well worn children's books are used to make stationery.  Old plates become clocks.  This etsy seller used an old chair to make an awesome tree swing:

Second, it's not unusual in difficult economic times to "tighten your belt" and "get along with what you've got".  Our grandparents and great-grandparents did it during the Great Depression of the 1930's and again during the World Wars.  If their clothes still "had wear in them", they wore them ... for 2, 3, 5 years or even longer, regardless of what the fashion trends were.  And when their clothes started wearing out, they cut them up and used them for quilts.  They "repurposed" ... not because they were concerned for the environment, but out of economic necessity.  For those of us feeling the economic crunch of our current day, we look around at what we have and envision new life for our old stuff.  Finding new ways to utilize old things not only feeds our need for financial consciousness, it brings a sense of satisfaction.  We are productive and have accomplished something beneficial.

And finally, it's the simple nostalgia of it.  It reminds us of times we remember as simpler and less complicated, easier, and less worrisome ... times when we felt safe.  It's grandma's house or an old photo album.  It's the connection to our roots and our families.  It's the smell of cookies baking or making snow angels.  It's drive in movies and the refreshment of going swimming on a hot summer's evening.  It's a family picnic with fresh-squeezed lemonade.  It's snuggling under a quilt with a big bowl of popcorn.

"Vintage" represents happiness and contentment, love and family, stability and perseverance, character and creativity.  Fashions have often been more a reflection of the culture than the leaders that shaped the culture and judging by the fashion trends I've been seeing lately, our clothes are going to reflect our desire for happier times.  While we're not going back to pillbox hats, some of the fashions are going to be cut simply and elegantly, much like Jackie Kennedy's wardrobe while other styles are going to be sweetly flowing romantics.

The book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible says that "there is nothing new under the sun" and there is an expression that "everything old is new again"  -- I think "vintage" is going to be with us for a while!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Colors of Spring

Fashion week is behind us.  The Spring 2011 colors and fashions have been introduced.   I'm absolutely no expert about forecasting colors but I've been trying to do as much reading as I can -- if you google "fashion color forecast spring 2011, you'll get way more info than you could ever possibly need!   But in my reading, a few major color trends have popped out at me -- so I'll share them.  

In general, over the past few years, colors for fashions as well as home decor have been fairly saturated and there has been much use of contrast to make colors really pop.  We're still going to see some of that with some rich tones being used, but there is also going to be a new trend toward soft washed pales -- looking very vintage.

It looks like blues are going to be really big in fashion colors next year!  I saw a lot of references to New Navy, a slightly lighter version of the traditional navy we all know.  I'm also seeing a LOT of Caribbean, water and sky blues in a range of aqua to turquoise.

I'm not seeing a lot of mid-range or clear, pure pinks for next spring -- pinks are soft and pale with hints of silver or nude OR they're fairly intense and bold.  The soft pinks will be very vintage light roses and the intense pinks are really going to pop!  Look for colors like shell pink, blush, salmon pink and aged light pink or watermelon, raspberry, fuchsia and honeysuckle.

Orange seems to be all over the place!  But in all the colors, there were really 2 basic trends -- rich, intense, saturated orange or pinkish coral shades.  It makes sense that orange will be big -- if you look at the color wheel, orange is opposite (or complementary) for blue.  I shared some color wheel info last spring regarding craft show displays but the color wheel is the same for any color application:
Look for melon, papaya, paprika, bird of paradise, peach, salmon, and coral, coral, coral!

I didn't pick up on any specific greens -- maybe I missed something?  It seemed to me that each designer was using whatever shade of green best suited the rest of their respective palettes.  Someone using intense colors also used intense greens -- someone using soft washed colors used soft washed greens.  It appears that greens will not be strong stand alone colors but will be used to add life to overall prints.

Plan on lots of red!  It works with nautical, florals or African inspired prints.  Reds are going to be rich and intense.  Look for poppy, lipstick and fiery reds.

The sunny lemon yellows that have been popular for the past few years are going to start to give way to yellows touched by honey or amber.  Look for sunflower, buttercup and beeswax.

Like the pinks (with little in the mid-range of colors), it appears that purples are either going to be color rich or the range of soft lavenders.  

LOTS of neutrals are coming down the pike!  There will be an abundance of blacks, whites, tans and grays, along with all their variations like ivory, bone, khaki, camel taupe and silver. 

A major style trend seems to be the use of neutrals or very soft colors with touches of intense colors to give them punch.  I see lots of gray or khaki or black & white prints touched with blues, corals or reds.

Some (but not all) of my information comes from this website:
You can download a pdf of the Spring 2011 fashion forecast.  I did read up several other sites which offered differing opinions.  While this post is not complete, it's a few of my broadest observations... and my observations may be somewhat influenced by my personal color preferences.  But this should give a general starting point for my design planning (and supply purchases) for next spring's inventory.  If you have other observations, I'd love to hear them!

Monday, September 13, 2010

This Country Girl

No doubt about it ... it's been a busy summer.  I expected to move but didn't (yet) so I packed (and now have to unpack stuff because I haven't moved).  And my business has kept me busy.  In anticipation of moving, I applied for a tax license in my new state and registered my business name.  And with a desire to offer more products, I have expanded my selection of colors and worked on some new designs.

I've also managed a few domestic moments.  I did a little gardening in buckets.  Got a little sewing done.  Experimented with a few new recipes.  We've picked blueberries about 4 times -- not sure how, but that became addictive.  And in some not-so-domestic moments, I've been able to go to a couple Nascar races (and have even fixed dinner for one of the Nationwide teams).

Before I knew it, our days have turned crisp.  A few leaves are starting to turn shades of gold and orange.  Farmers are harvesting crops.  And it's football season.

I'm just a simple country girl.  I like quiet pleasures and wide open spaces.  I love to play in the dirt (and call it gardening).  I like the smell of the breeze after the rain.  I love the sound of a shallow creek dancing over stones.  Even in my travels, I've loved the gentle drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway, sunrise on the Atlantic Ocean, the southwest deserts in bloom and sunset on Lake Michigan.  I love the colors, the views, the sounds and the smells (well, most of them -- there was this skunk....).

In a part of the world, very remote from my own, the big name fashion designers are launching their spring lines.  It's Fashion Week in New York City.  Now, I've always been a blue jeans and t-shirt kind of girl and I've never been interested in couture.  When I started making jewelry, it wasn't because I loved wearing it -- I loved the art, the craft, the sense of balance and the creativity of it.   But this year, for the first time in my life, I even bothered to pay attention to the fact that it's Fashion Week.  I'm watching the colors.  And when creativity inspires creativity, well, let's just say I have a few new ideas floating around my head.

It's not very likely that I'll be tempted to trade my jeans for runway style, but next spring, when the new clothes hit the racks at Macys, Penneys and Walmart, they will be coming out in the colors seen this week in NY.  And when you buy that cute new blouse or sassy dress, I'll have the perfect jewelry ready for you.  

Drop by anytime ... I'll leave the light on.