Senior fashion executives from Topshop, Anya Hindmarch, River Island, ASOS and Ted Baker gathered in London recently for the inaugural Stylus Fashion briefing, which is the latest venture from original WGSN founder Marc Worth.
Stylus Fashion is a new research and advisory service that will only be available to a limited membership of designers and retailers.
This premium model challenges the consolidation of trend services in the fashion sector, which currently sees over 6,000 brands routinely using just one service as a source for everything from store to product design. As part of Stylus Media Group, Stylus Fashion will support a return to creativity and innovation to the fashion industry.
Guest speaker Sir John Hegarty, founder of advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty and author of Hegarty on Creativity: There are No Rules, told an audience of over 200 industry insiders: “So much fashion now is just meaningless imitation. The danger for the fashion industry is that it follows, it doesn’t innovate.”
Marc Worth, founder of Stylus Media Group, added: “Shoppers complain that everything on the high street looks the same, but is it any wonder? Instead of looking for inspiration, brands are relying on templates, and because everyone uses the same templates, there’s no competitive edge. Ultimately, a lack of creativity damages the bottom line.”
Sir John Hegarty’s main message for the audience was to encourage a bolder approach to creativity: “We have a world where people are afraid to be different. You have to be different – you may not be right, but at least people will listen to you. ‘Different’ has value: it’s about having ideas that hopefully people haven’t seen before, and being fearless enough to believe that your idea is powerful, that it is able to embrace people and draw them in.”
The inaugural Stylus Fashion event also included discussions from Stylus’s researchers and analysts on some of the current issues facing the fashion industry. This included the move away from traditional fashion seasons and the impact technology is having on everything from new materials and production processes to retail and purchasing behaviour.
Ruth Chapple, head of trends at Stylus Fashion, told the audience: “Fashion consumers are behaving differently and fashion brands need to anticipate how these changes will affect their own business models. The biggest change we are seeing with our clients is that in a globalised marketplace, traditional seasons no longer make sense. Showing winter clothes when it’s summer in many countries alienates a big audience. Added to that is a ‘want-it-now’ mentality – people want to buy things when they see them, not in a few months’ time.
Bradley Quinn, head of Fashion Futures at Stylus, said: “The impact of technology for fashion brands is huge. As technology is rapidly changing everything from the retail experience to the way garments are designed and manufactured, we look at the latest disruptive technologies and assess their true impact on the world of fashion.”
Membership of Stylus Fashion will be capped at 100 companies to maintain a competitive advantage for its members. Membership is by invitation only to guarantee bespoke content and personalised member services.