{Fall Capsule Sew Along} Trend Report

Welcome back folks!! After a brief (and well-deserved) hiatus from my 19-piece Summer Capsule, we are finally looking ahead to FALL sewing!

Now, highs around here have been in the 80's and 90's every day, so if I start talking boots and turtle necks, you might just punch me in the face. So instead, let me start where all wardrobes start... with trends. Which trends will you see this season? How can they influence your sewing projects?

Hater's gonna hate, and maybe you're saying to yourself "PSH, I don't follow trends! I do me!" - in which case, YOU GO GIRL! But I'm afraid they'll impact you anyway. 

At work? No worries. I won't rat you out ;) Here's the transcript:

Miranda Priestly: [Miranda and some assistants are deciding between two similar belts for an outfit. Andy sniggers because she thinks they look exactly the same] Something funny?

Andy Sachs: No. No, no. Nothing's... You know, it's just that both those belts look exactly the same to me. You know, I'm still learning about all this stuff and, uh...

Miranda Priestly: 'This... stuff'? Oh. Okay. I see. You think this has nothing to do with you. You go to your closet and you select... I don't know... that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you're trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don't know is that that sweater is not just blue, it's not turquoise. It's not lapis. It's actually cerulean. And you're also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent... wasn't it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it's sort of comical how you think that you've made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you're wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.

"What is your point, Becca? We aren't digging through clearance bins for our clothes, we're sewing them ourselves!" 

But with what fabrics? And in what prints? You can find patterns that represent generations worth of silhouette trends - but if you plan on buying any non-vintage fabric for this project, this post IMPACTS YOU.

You see.. a year or more ago, Fabric designers looked to all the same trends I'm reporting below. They sat around their board room table and picked the colors, prints, and substrates that would best reflect the trends they were so closely watching. They put their own spin on each (as you will do, too) and sent them off for manufacturing. So, even if your local fabric store hasn't stocked them just yet - they soon will. 

"Ok, I'm convinced. Trends impact sewists, too. So, where do I start?"

Let's start the same place trends do. And sorry to burst Miranda's ego bubble - but she kind of glossed over the ORIGINS of the box of "stuff" her staff was sifting through. Those samples came from somewhere! 

As a matter of fact... trends start with YOU - and society as a whole. They reflect OUR moods, OUR feelings, and OUR interests. They are a mirror of our current social, political, and artistic climate. What is inspiring the stories in your news paper? What events and icons are getting the most press? What museum exhibits are making waves? Maybe it's an up-and-coming artist, like famous street artist Banksy. His documentary was a huge hit, and awarded him "Person of the Year" in 2014 - the same year we saw "Graffiti" styles all over the runway. Maybe the masses are inspired by a new small-screen phenomenon, like Downton Abbey. After it's rapid increase in viewership heading into it's second season (2011),  Edwardiana styles spilled over to runways and store racks in 2012. More recently - A popular literary character inspired looks we saw on the Spring 2015 runway, and scientific feats have reinvigorated the world's interest in space, and are projected to breathe new life to an otherwise dying "galaxy" trend this Fall. (Guess that's your cue to stock up on prints like these for the little ones!)

Now - there's one VERY important thing to keep in mind, as we consider how heavily we let these trends influence our home-sewn apparel. They move REALLY fast. No longer are we in a fashion world where a seasonal magazine spreads word of the newest trends. These days, inspiration and creativity are shared at "insta" speed- and seasoned fashion executives share their social influence with pinterest-savvy newcomers around the blogosphere. There are more styles, and more "trendsetters" than ever.

"So, if these trends are destined to be old-news, why read this post at all?"

For starters - not all fashion is "fast fashion". A lot of trends have been around for seasons, and will likely be around for seasons to come. They're not LBD worthy staples (yet), but they're certainly worth the investment to incorporate into your wardrobes. For instance:

  • Menswear trend
  • Athleisure
  • Black and White
  • Monochromatic (A MUST follow for petites!)
  • Mod (Including color-blocking)
  • Boho/70's (This is a particularly heavy influence in 2015)
  • Mixing Prints
  • Metallics (though emphasis has shifted from gold and silver to onyx and copper)
  • Florals

"Hey! I have some of those trends already! How can I roll them into a new season??"

Hurrah! You're ahead of the game! Let's use florals as an example here. Mostly, you think florals as a Spring/Summer sort of print. But in recent seasons the fashion world has been unable (or unwilling) to shake them for colder weather. Instead, they shift the color scheme and textures. You're more likely to find them on heavy, sweat-shirt-destined knits now, instead of the sheers you found them on for Spring. You're also more likely to find the colors subdued to match the somber mood most of us share when dreading snow in our forecast. 

But... that doesn't exactly answer the question. You can't wave a magic wand and shift your floral garments to different color schemes and substrates. So instead, you can look to the colors of the season (see below) and find the darker neutrals that compliment your Spring/Summer floral pieces. You can introduce weather-appropriate textures, too - like flannel, suede, fur, and leather. Fabrics you break into a sweat just thinking about in the summer. So - a "stormy weather", "reflecting pond", or "marsala" leather jacket (like mine!) would be the perfect way to transition a lighter color, lighter fabric floral into Fall and Winter.

"That's awesome! But how do I spot Fast-Fashion? That sounds like something you'd tell me to avoid."

The less "mainstream" and versatile a trend, the shorter you can expect it's lifespan to be. For instance, bondage flooded runways after the nation/world was painted in 50 shades of gray. You'll see it on red carpets, and you'll see small traces of it in read-to-wear. But given it's social stigma, it's much less likely to be seen in conservative environments like the office, or family activities - at least, not in any recognizable form. So when we look at this season's trends (below) and their over-the-top representations on the runway, we can easily spot which trends are too "far fetched" to last for long, vs those that could easily be incorporated to any wardrobe (like the beautiful lilac color, a conservative fur collar, or super versatile gray layering pieces).

Also, the more weather-specific a trend, the sooner you can expect it to be out the door. Fur vests are all the rage right now, and velvet will be too. (I speculate that perhaps Russia's political headlines over the last year are, in part, responsible for their projected fashion influence this year, though the influence may have a different or even many origins.) I'd sooner eat coconut (a weird thing about me, but I can't stand it's raw waxy texture!) than suffer through warm weather adorned in either of those materials, and so they don't make sense as a lasting trend, because it's just not practical for very long periods of time. 

BUT - as for avoiding those trends?? I don't think I'd go that far. I'd just be careful planning those projects. Why make a velvet tank top, that will be uncomfortable to wear come spring, when you can make a chiffon tank top... and layer it under a velvet blazer. You may not rock a bondage belt/vest/harness thing (what is that anyway?? No, no, don't tell me. I don't want to know.) - but there's no harm picking up a studded leather cuff. 

Remember - this Capsule project is a minimalist's undertaking. Just because we are rotating in few  (Unfancy suggests only 9!) "new" items - including shoes - per season, doesn't mean we can't let fashion influence them. And when it comes to investing in our fabric, we can safely say that fast fashion is not where the bulk of our budget should go. No matter how much I want these boots.

So - from a versatility and minimalist perspective, I suggest you borrow loosely from these trends, and work them into a wardrobe of "classic" wardrobe staples. Blazers, pencil skirts, a-line dresses. You know the drill. The more "neutral" and versatile you make these pieces, the more fun you can have with shoes, jewelry, and pops of "trendy" clothes here and there. 

Do you follow trends? Where do you get your inspiration? How will they inspire your Fall wardrobe planning? Share your research and inspiration in the comments below, and I'll add them to the group's Fall planning board: