As part 2 of my Fashion 101 on trends, I’d like to discuss how media presents trends. We covered where trends come from in the last Fashion 101, so today we will be looking at how magazines present trends to their readers.

The magazines have a job to do, they have to sell issues and they have to encourage their readers to buy more fashion, so that their advertisers are happy (more on that here.) Magazines can’t just say “here’s a pair of pants” and “here’s a top”, they need to sell their readers a story, and that is where trends come in. Rather than simply present the looks shown on the catwalks, magazines put together trend themes.

Now here is the scary part of the magazine business. After the fashion shows, each magazine team sits down together and talks through the catwalk shows. They decide what their trends are for the next season’s issues. The magazines then send out “their” trends to the PR offices, so that the PRs need to make sure they have pieces in the collections that fit into the magazine’s trend stories.

All of this means that the magazines are actually deciding what the trends are, rather than going by what the designers have actually designed. And the PR’s have to scramble to find ways to make their designer’s collections fit in with the magazine’s trends. In all fairness, the editors are inspired by what they see on the catwalks, but they could quite easily decide that a lot of black and lace on the catwalk means a gothic trend, even if none of the designers were inspired by gothic art while designing. And that is why magazine trends often have nothing to do with the designer’s inspiration, and usually look a bit…boring. Or they jsut don’t make any sense at all. I also think they sometimes treat their readers like idiots when they present trends like “long coats for winter!”  or “floral prints for spring!”, because I have never known a winter season that hasn’t included a few long coats, and there are ALWAYS floral prints in the spring.

Here are some examples of slightly disjointed trend pages from (sorry, you are the best site for catwalk coverage but your trend pages suck.)  This is the words of Searching for Style, not Racing Fashion Australia.  I do believe this is a story which is food for thought from our good friends at Searching for Style.

This trend is called Pattern Play, and yes, there are obviously patterns on all of the garments, but that is about the only thing that they have in common.  I son't understand how Anna Sui's fun little floral printed suit can be considered a similar trend to Ann Demeleumeester's wicked trashy, deshevelled suit with printed wings.  Clockwise from top left: Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Anna Sui, and Ann Demeleumeester.

Game Theory: Although there are some sporty references in some of these looks, they are definitely not from the same sport and not the same style. The Olympics, American football, surfing, and snowboarding inspirations are far too different to be considered one trend. I think the editors were running out of ideas here. And I can barely even see a sport reference in A. F. Vanderforst's dress. Clockwise from top left: Derek Lam, Alexandre Herchcovitch, Alexander Wang, and A. F. Vanderforst.

This trend is Superhero Worship. Maybe I am not very imaginative, but I can't see any superhero references here, only really nice clothes. Clockwise from top left: Alessandro Dell'Acqua, Balenciaga, Calvin Klein, and Antonio Berardi.

So, next time Vogue or Elle are telling you that “Winter Garden” or “Gothic Princess” are THE trend for the season, keep in mind that they aren’t telling you what the designers are thinking, they are telling you what their editors are thinking.

Words from I think this is a compelling read that we must think to innovate our own wardrobe instead of being told what to purchase.  Think classics, not trendy.

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