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UNCOVERED

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UNCOVERED A VISUAL TREND BOOK BY CHANTE JOHNSON

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CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION

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8 - 9

THE GENDERFLUID CONSUMER

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G E N E R AT I O N M

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THE DO GOODER MILLENNIAL

46 - 65

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INTRODUCTION This is a visual trend book containing reports that inform on three different t r e n d s s o o n t o e f f e c t p a r t s o f t h e f a s h i o n i n d u s t r y. T h e y a d v i s e a n d e d u c a t e brands on subjects such as the changing attitudes of consumers, spending power and brand relationships.

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THE G E N D E R F L U I D CONSUMER 11


The Genderfluid Consumer This report informs on the increasing number of genderfluid consumers and as the acceptance of those who identify as genderfluid grows. It is imperetive for the retail industry to be considering innovative ways to become more inclusive.

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Research from GLAAD, which is

Designer Thorn Browne showed male

an independent media monitoring

models in pleated skirts down the

organisation founded by a group

runway; other designers such as

p a r t o f t h e L G B T c o m m u n i t y, s t a t e s

Vivienne Westwood, Charles Jeffery

that millennials are the most sexually

Loverboy and Edward Crutchley were

and gender fluid generation than any

also displaying pieces which had shapes

before them. With 20% of millennials

and silhouettes on the male models

identifying as not straight this would

that would predominantly belong to the

intuitively have us, if we are not familiar

f e m a l e o n e s s u c h a s b l o u s e s . H o w e v e r,

with the LGBT pronouns etc, assuming

i t ’s n o t t h e f i r s t t i m e t h a t t h i s h a s b e e n

t h a t w o u l d m e a n t h e y a r e g a y. T h i s

done, it is similar to when women took

is however not the case, 12% of that

ownership of the suit. The development

overall percentage identify as gender

and transformation of this trend are

fluid whether that be transgender

that we are challenging gender in terms

or gender non-conforming. As this

o f m a s c u l i n i t y a s w e l l a s f e m i n i n i t y.

social change has grown so has the

What this new social change seeks is

appearance of genderfluidity within the

to bring what separates the sexes and

fashion and retail industry; the first

b r i n g t h e m b o t h i n t o a n d r o g y n y. A s t h e

major example we saw of this in the

genders become more free fluid, what

fashion industry is the Menswear Spring

can brands do to stay within the loop

Summer 2018 collections. Designers

of this growing movement and become

alike used their runway platform to

allies within this new community of fast-

take a thought-provoking stance, using

growing millennial consumers.

a design-driven approach in crossing gender barriers.

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As this social change has grown so has the appearance of gender fluidity within the fashion and retail industry

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The way politics is playing such a huge role in the lives of the millennial, smart brands will stay out of the firing line of the “do-gooder” millennial. With the LGBT having their rights threatened, and in some cases taken away in the US, they are particularly looking for support from the fashion and retail industry. As 50% of millennials believe that gender is on the spectrum a poll by Fusion declares, this number that is only predicted to grow. Millennials are going to be seeking almost a safe and welcoming space where they can express themselves freely; an example of brands that have tried to get into this movement are Zara and their “Ungendered” collection. Released in July 2016, it is an example of the overall steps brands should be taking to be putting in to place more diverse and innovative collections. However, in this particular case, it was not executed in the most effective way. The collection was criticised for being too plain and a regurgitation of what was already considered to be genderless such as jogging bottoms and hoodies. What brands can learn from this is that those who do not conform to gender want to explore through fashion and not stay within the lines of what is already deemed as genderless.

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Retail brands should not only be looking to expand their

However now instead of the more obvious ways society

collections to suit a more gender fluid consumer but their

is moving into androgyny, sportswear also has a seat at

cosmetic ranges as well. For the most part, we are seeing

the table, the way it has now begun to acknowledge more

cosmetic brands collaborating with MUA bloggers on social

women and cosmetics acknowledges more men. It’s time

media. However, there are many cases in which brands

for brands to become more meticulous moving forward.

are including men in their cosmetic campaigns and, also as

It’s more than having both genders represented in a brand

their ambassadors. One of the biggest stories that brought

campaign. It’s creating a space in which those who fall into

this to the forefront of the conversation was in 2016 when

neither category can flourish, crossing gender boundaries

Cover girl blew stereotypes and normal convention out of

is new ways. Innovative brands will be looking for ways in

the water and received immense praise on social media.

which they can incorporate this new consumer in a way

Covergirl is a cosmetics brand that has been around for

that doesn’t alienate their original consumers. As we move

century’s and is known for having its range of diverse

more into the future brands need to be exploring what are

ambassadors. For the first time in 2016 Covergirl had their

the core structures that segregate their male and female

first Coverboy, James Charles. A social media MUA blogger

collections and how can they blur those lines and create

with an extremely large following; Covergirl’s president and

something in keeping with their brand image that doesn’t

chief revenue officer Samantha Skey, expressed how they

conform to gender.

believed “we are in a more gender fluid space” and that Charles was an important symbol for the brand’s growth moving forward.

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In retail right now gender is binary, split simply into the main categories of women and men. retailers will have to think of what modifications will need to be made in terms of how they are going to engage this new target audience on a permanent basis. Research by J Walter Thompson found that only 54% of millennials always bought clothes for their own gender, meaning that also nearly half did not. This new generation of retail consumers are taking a stance based on how they want to be characterized in society; it seems inevitable that they will not set those strong feelings aside when it comes to something as expressive as their fashion. As seen in the current market, brands are releasing ungendered campaigns River Island’s 2018 “Labels are for clothes” campaign is an example of a short-term solution to a long-term adjustment for the retail industry. It could be considered risky for brands to only be considering collections as a way to be inclusive of these gender fluid consumers. For the millennial brands that are seen to have a collection one year and not the next will come across for this generation to be “piggy-backing” off a very hot topic. Smart brands will use effective campaigns to draw attention to how their brand is evolving in a more structural way of how a brand is adapting to suit modern demands. The current system for retail as just described is split into men and women but as these lines become increasingly blurred there needs to be a complete push for innovation to improve the current structure. Brands need to think of solutions beyond creating androgynous lines, beyond a few simple ungendered pieces. How can retail become truly all-inclusive, a challenge put forward by Salmon, is that as much as the millennial and Generation Z could mostly without prejudice shop in a store that didn’t follow traditional binary gender, it could prove troublesome for the baby boomer. With this in mind, what is important for brands to recognise is that this shift is not about the complete abolition of binary gender but the acceptance of the scale of fluidity and giving those who fall somewhere in the scale a space to thrive.

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Moving forward, the main themes brands should take away and keep in mind if they want to start making adaptations to their current structures. Fashion is to the gender fluid what it is to everyone else. Brands should consider within keeping with their aesthetic and style that these consumers want innovation and creativity, new shapes and silhouettes. To not be afraid to cross the boundaries of what once separated your current collections. The way in which stores, and websites are mapped, brands that want to take it further and really excel in a gender fluid society will look to, rather than just in addition onto the structures already in place will need to think of ways new ways to categorise the clothing may that be by individual product or by collection retail websites need much anticipated re-vamp.

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G E N E R AT I O N T H E N E W G L O B A L D O M I N AT I N G D E M O G R A P H I C

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Generation M This report addresses the growing demographic that is “Generation M� a buzzword being used to describe Muslim millennial. It informs on what this demographic will seek from the industry and what the industry can do to accommodate them.

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Generation M is a term being used to describe the growing demographic that is the Muslim Millennial. According to Pew Research over a third of Muslims are under the age of 30 and by the year 2050 at least a quarter of the world’s population will be Muslim. Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO and Founder of the WPP expressed that Generation M should be noted as “the twenty-first century’s most important economic forces”; Paul Polman the CEO of Unilever also stated that they are “rapidly representing 25% of the global population”. Needless to say, it’s only a matter of time before they start to demand a sufficient amount of attention and recognition from the fashion and retail industry. For this reason, it’s important for brands to be educated and be ahead of the curve, for these upcoming consumers and for a demographic of this quickly growing size; brands need to be investing time in them. The purpose of this report is to help brands in gaining understanding and give guidance on how to become more inclusive of Generation M. Firstly investigating the fashion industry’s current engagement with modest fashion and interaction with Muslim Millennials and modest fashion.

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Through the political climate remains as hostile as ever, we are infected with the feeling that we are in troubling times; the fashion industry goes head to head with the political views of the uninformed, unwaveringly. The Muslim religion is under attack, as other persevere to segregate and demoralise minorities, inclusivity and representation still rain top priority amongst young consumers and the Muslim religion continues to be the fastest growing religion globally; this makes it even more crucial for the industry to a line itself with Generation M. Modest fashion week is a fairly new addition to the fashion calendar, only coming into its second year in 2018. It looks to shake the traditional stigma attached to modest fashion and bring it into a modern and stylish light. With the assistance of social media, the small fashion week addition has brought small attention to the new demographic that is the Muslim women and the cohort of fashion forwards who decide modest fashion as their dress of choice, whether that be for religious or cultural reasons.

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A whole line of Muslim women has come to the forefront of modest fashion, one, in particular, being Halima Aden a Muslim model who entered the 2016 Miss Minnesota USA obtained masses of attention for entering in a hijab. Landing her the first hijabi model to feature on the cover of Allure magazine. Aden has now become a huge symbol for high-end modest fashion as it is no small feat to be a modest fashion symbol in a very westernised industry. Aden has and continues to be featured in campaigns with some of the biggest brands and magazines making her

This elevating Aden to now one

runway debut in the Yeezy 5 show too

of the leading high fashion Muslim

gracing the cover Vogue. It could be

models, she says “I’m the first

said her most innovative campaign to

high-fashion hijab wearing model.

date has been with Nike, they started

Automatically, I know there are a

up a large scale crowdfund for the

lot of girls looking at me. I need to

production of sports hijabs. Releasing

be a good Role model, a good

them in December 2017, the hijab for

representative of my faith, a good

athletes knocked down an enormous

ambassador to my community.�

herald for Muslim athletes.

(Halima Aden,2018, The Evening Standard). Aden is a perfect example of how the industry is, in the beginning, to introduce modest fashion to the masses. Although, it still remains very top of the chain, what needs to happen now is that the high-end fashion needs too now filter down through to the mass market.

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As well as the high-profile models pushing boundaries within the industry, alongside them stand in the social media atmosphere groups of new beauty and Lifestyle bloggers surface. Those who equally wish to intergrade and celebrate their passions and individuality regardless of their religion. “Not only do these makeup artists deliver the coolest looks on a daily basis, they're also highlighting the importance of representation to their followers” (Maha Syeda, Teen Vogue). What is important to note about the Muslim faith is that not all women choose to cover in the same way, it is down to the individual to express their faith as they choose. “some of us are wearing hijab, some of us wear the turban. Ultimately it comes down to choice” (Halima Aden, Allure magazine); brands are wise to take this into consideration when choosing to show representation for this demographic. According to Who What Wear “Pinterest UK says that searches for modest fashion are up 500% since the beginning of this year” (Hannah Almassi, 2018, who what wear), and is expected to only increase in the next 5 years. What brands can learn from these social media accounts is the amount of variety there is within this demographic.

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The industry is making a huge effort in being more inclusive as a whole, however, Generation M still do not feel that they have a big enough seat at the table. They are a new breed of religious young people; they experience the same middle-class freedoms as their nonreligious peers. This means they have the same edge, the same desire for a voice and equal representation as well as the social implications there is a sufficient profit to be made from this demographic. In exchange for giving this consumer a sense of visibility, they will become your biggest supporters. Smart brands will cater to the variety of qualities of their new Muslim consumers, ones that wear hijabs and ones who don’t, those who chose to wear a more relaxed but modest style and those who chose to cover entirely. According to Who What Wear “Pinterest UK says that searches for modest fashion are up 500% since the beginning of this year� (Hannah Almassi, 2018, who what wear), and is expected to only increase in the next 5 years. What brands can learn from these social media accounts is the amount of variety there is within this demographic. The same as those who chose to dress within the western culture, Generation M is only now getting the attention that they need from the industry to be able to truly experiment with their fashion and the platform they have that is only going to grow. As the trend filters down to the masses they will be a huge demand for an original and new way for Generation M to shop. That not only caters to their various need in terms of style but that also allows them to be included throughout the retail sector. They need to feel truly represented in all forms of fashion, this will call for the need of new shapes and fabrics to be introduced.

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THE DO GOODER MILLENNIAL 47


The Do Gooder Millennial This

report

educates

brands

on

the

evolving

attitude

of

the

do

gooder

millennial and how they have changed the meaning of activism. It informs on how they are now interacting with brands and what brands can do

to attract

and engage millennial consumers.

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From the feminist slogan Tee too the pussy grabbing hat needless to say millennials are the generation that has the desire to make social waves. More socially engaged than any generation before them and by 2019 millennials will be the largest living adult generation, which means they will have the main purchasing power. Therefore, brands need to be ready and willing to serve the needs of what is known as the “do-gooder generation”. What this generation looks for in the brands they invest in, is brands that are honest and open to discussing and working on social and environmental issues. Achieve Agency found that 70 percent of millennials did not “trust the government to right the wrongs” (Rai Masuade, 2017, Achieve Agency) they instead believe that they are more likely to take matters into their own hands to be able to create the change that they want to see.

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Which in the digital age of social media has made that a lot more possible for them to do, it has also become increasingly easy for millennials to become more organised. Social media has given them away for, what in the world could be a few people with the same opinion wanting to make a difference to become an entire movement with thousands and sometimes millions of supporters and willing participant’s. Over half of Millennials consider themselves an activist, although they do not follow traditional connotations of what it means, millennials are evolving what it means to be an activist. An investigation by Achieve Agency showed that millennials believe that an activist is someone who partakes in protests and takes public action and they are only expected to increase in size.

Social media has given birth to a new kind of activism one that has almost no risk, anyone can make an account on any social media platform with a completely different identity or not put one at all. Therefore, being able to give an opinion, join a debate and post their agenda with no consequence. Some are even calling this “slacktivism” as some regard it as doing the bare minimum to support a cause. Jumping on the next social activist bandwagon with no intention of reading further and gaining real awareness or merely just spreading awareness instead of being an activist. However, although the jury on the real world effects is still out, social media for the millennials is one of the fundamental parts of their activism. Using it to build their “digital village”, a way for them to feel that members of their same beliefs are close to them.

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Smart brands that want to attract millennial consumers are going to ensure that their marketing strategies are sending out good messages in a genuine and authentic way. It is simply not an option for brands to avoid politics as they have mostly always done, it’s not to say that brands need to dedicate all their resources in correcting the world's wrongs. Millennials simply do not believe that platforms as big as for example the fashion industry should be an escape from reality as it once was. They want to see these big platforms used to promote good messages, for brands to do now is a case of understanding the millennial perspective in order to gain their consumer loyalty. It can be as simple as deciding to become more sustainable or striving for diversity and representation for all consumers. Millennials want transparency, campaigns that promote awareness as well as the brand. Although it isn’t a new concept for fashion, one of the biggest examples of brands incorporating activism into their collections. Is also one of the most controversial is the famous slogan tee more recently the “we should all be feminist” t-shirt. The slogan came from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and a ted talk she gave on feminism that quickly went viral. Printed on multiple T-shirts in the debut collection of Maria Garzia Chiuri, resonated with many but also provoked the conversation of the thin line there is between brands supporting a cause and using the surge of feminism to make a profit which had legitimacy to it until they announced that a portion of the sales will be going to singer Rihanna’s non-profit this seemed to easy consumers back into their favour. Brands are wise to consider this carefully there are a variety of ways brands can show support for any particular cause.

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What is next for the “do-gooder� generation, how does this trend seek to develop. Brands need to start thinking long-term, the steps that brands should be taking is to first they need to pinpoint a cause that they care about and think about. One that not only resonates with millennials but is also a plausible cause for the brand to support. One that will come across genuine which is a key factor for brands that wish to incorporate this into their marketing strategy. Brands need to start making way for new ideas and investigating what changes they can make to their current structure in order to make a long-standing commitment to a cause. Also build a platform in which they can keep consumers involved of the progress being made, avoiding speaking with a big campaign and end with the cause fading into the background will come across as an unauthentic brand strategy. What is best to keep in mind is to deter from making campaigns feel like a social media stunt and more of a structural shift in a company principal. Millennials are quick to a line themselves with innovative and forward-thinking brands, staying complicate on social media will not achieve this. Brands that want to be at the forefront of the soon to be generation with the majority spending power, need to be immersing themselves in this new customer’s behaviours and getting to terms with this new way of marketing. Moving away from a lot of traditional notions that brands are accompanied to are soon to be a thing of the past, adjustments are inevitable for brands wanting to entice the fleeting millennial shopper.

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Chante Johnson

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