How an Unopened Museum in Abu Dhabi is Influencing Fashion This Year

As we discussed a few weeks ago, the reporters at the fantastic Planet Money podcast have been walking their listeners through the myriad ins and outs of the fashion and apparel logistics industries in an innovative way — by designing and manufacturing their own t-shirt from scratch. The process quickly proved to be vastly more complicated and full of valuable insights than they had expected.

Recently, the show released the design they had finally settled on — a squirrel holding a martini glass — and the colors — a sort of charcoal color for men and, for women, a very specific shade of pink called "sheer rose."


The choice of the swilling squirrel has to do with a sort of inside joke for economists, as explained in the FAQ here. But the reasoning behind the colors is what really tells us how complicated, fickle, and fast-changing the fashion industry can be. And the choice of this particular shade of pink was rooted both in the past and in the future.

The color itself was included in a 1969 painting by an artist named Frank Stella called Tahkt-I-Sulayman Variation II. In fact, Planet Money spoke with some trend forecasting experts who said that designers have actually been incorporating shapes and colors from Stella's works for a few years now. But why are the works of a painter from the 1960s suddenly en vogue once again?

It all has to do with the way the fashion industry tries to anticipate what the next big source of inspiration will be, long into the distant future, and how colors and designs burrow their way into our collective subconscious. Trends can start just about anywhere, but in the case of sheer rose, it's an art museum in Abu Dhabi — one that won't even open until 2015. Still, the museum has been gaining widespread notice for its groundbreaking architecture and the art it expects to show in its collections — including works by Frank Stella.

In other words, even two years away, anticipation about the museum's opening has generated renewed interest in Stella's works. And designers and apparel companies intent on trying to capitalize on trends even before they truly become trends are getting ahead of the curve by taking inspiration from Stella now.

According to the creative director at Jockey: "We can project that this shade of pink will be wanted. [...] Everything is pretty much pre-written, right? So people have already seen [this color] on TV worn by some movie stars and in TV shows. They've seen it on catwalk shows. They've seen it in home decor. They've seen that color filtering through. [...] Subconsciously, you'll see it and say: 'Oh, I like that color.' But you won't be able to explain why."

Still, while forecasters and creative directors may be able to predict trends, it's much more difficult to predict consumers. We're fickle. We're hard to figure out. We want both what's popular and what no one else is wearing. And apparel companies need to be able to adjust to our whims on the fly. This, of course, places a premium on nimble fashion logistics and expert apparel supply chain management. Our complete fashion third party services can help.

Posted: 6/14/2013 4:43:25 PM by Global Administrator | with 0 comments

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